How Has Social Media Changed Your Social Life?

Social media platforms have grown in popularity and reach. Billions of people around the world use them. How does that use impact an actual social life?

The promise of social media is that it would help you to be, well, more social. Ideally, a social media app like Instagram, Facebook, or Tik Tok (as well as many others) would allow you to stay in touch with friends and family in a new and more immersive way.

That hope is in the very name “social media”. If you want to keep in touch with someone, you can do so in a way you couldn’t before. You might even be able to meet people who share your interests that you might not otherwise have the chance to meet. It is a new dimension that you can add to your social life.

The reality, though, is a mixed bag. While you can see just what your loved ones are up to (not to mention getting a peek at the lives of celebrities!), it is more complicated than that.

Studies show more people than ever experience feelings of loneliness and isolation. Children who grow up with social media may have more difficulty interacting with peers in a real life environment. Who hasn’t seen a couple at a restaurant not talking to each other, but instead staring at their phones?

Do you have any anecdotes about how social media has directly impacted, positively or negatively, your real life? What are the pros and cons? Does it depend on which app you use, or how or when you use it?

Related questions: What do you get out of social media? Why does social media often bring out the worst in us? What makes us comment on social media? Can an internet friend be a true companion?

What Are Your Social Rituals?

We humans are social creatures. As such, we find ourselves in social situations often. Are there any rituals you follow, either in preparation or in those situations?

Think about all the social situations you participate in over the course of a few weeks or months. That might include everything from a birthday party, to a sporting event to a nightclub raver. And many, many more possibilities as well, of course.

Now think about each one of those events, from planning, to preparation, to event, to afterward. Can you think of what commonalities they have? Of course, it doesn’t need to be included every single time, but you may have some activities that you do regularly, perhaps even ritualistically.

Besides being social creatures, we are also a species that values rituals. Building a routine comes naturally to us. This has a number of different advantages, including helping us not to forget important steps, as well as in maximizing our enjoyment.

Let’s say, for example, you attend a live music concert, and while you enjoy it, the music was so loud that your ears were ringing afterward. Maybe next time you bring earplugs, and you enjoy that show even more. Then you choose to make it a ritual — each time you go to a concert, you bring along ear plugs. And perhaps even additional pairs for friends that go with you.

These rituals can take any number of forms. Maybe you always wear the same pair of lucky socks. Or make a checklist of things to bring. Perhaps you take a moment in the middle of the event to appreciate what you like about it. Or write about it in a journal afterward so you remember the highlights.

Each person may have slightly — or even wholly — different things they like to do in social situations. Can you think of ones that you do, or that you have seen in a partner, a parent, or a close friend? What are your social rituals?

Related questions: What is the most fun thing you’ve done this week? How important is ceremony? Introvert or extrovert? What is your favorite shared experience?