The Impact Of Social Media On Self Awareness

2033 words - 9 pages

Several decades ago, communications philosopher Marshall McLuhan spoke about the development of the Global Village and how the evolution of new technologies would help connect people on opposite sides of the world, creating online communities that would break boundaries and borders. While this change has been recognized, so too has the idea explored by his successors in which while individuals were expected to look at others in the world through a telescope, they have alternatively developed the tendency to look at themselves through a microscope. As the era of worldwide connectivity began, so did the era of ‘me, me, me’. Both the hardware and the software of the new millennium, inclusive of the iPhone’s forward-facing camera, and apps that allow one to fix blemishes and whiten teeth, have adapted to allow this change to an inward focus. While this has certainly caught on, it has also begun to cause a lot of problems. The act of posting about the self began to be seen as a negatively self-centered one when Facebook NewsFeeds were filled with egotistic stories and ‘Selfies,’ photos of the self. Shortly after, the application Instagram was created, where the occurrence of the Selfie was magnified to a greater degree. This intensive focus inward, and the way these pieces of media are shared, have made some individuals reliant on the positive expressions of others for self-confidence and social approval. When self-esteem is intertwined with how many ‘likes’ a photo gets on a mobile application, we start to see a shift in how self-awareness is formed, what people will do for this approval, and how some will react to a lack of attention.
It should first and foremost be noted that these behaviors are not entirely universal or experienced by all users of these social media platforms, there are plenty of individuals who engage in the act of taking and posting a self-portrait, but remain unaffected by their outcome; unfortunately these people have become the minority. Before exploring what seems to cause the fallout of social and personal attitudes, it is important to understand the significance of self-awareness, self-concept, and self-esteem. “Self-esteem can be defined as the sense of contentment and acceptance that results from a person’s appraisal of one’s own worth, attractiveness, competence, and ability to satisfy one’s aspirations.” This esteem, evident through levels of confidence, is what often drives an individual to become successful. Success, though, should be measured in ways that are decided by the self, but more and more so it seems to be chosen by the cultural identity each person withholds. Philosopher Ayn Rand has stated that “man is born with an emotional mechanism [that is] ‘tabula rasa.’ His values… are the product either of his thinking or of his evasions: man chooses his values by a conscious process of thought – or accepts them by default” which thus is unfolded by the idea that our culture “determines not only what values,...

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