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My strongest relationships—the ones that truly matter—haven't been impacted by the social media epidemic facing society. These people that mean the most to me are the ones I can count on ten fingers. These people are my support system, my encouragers, the people that will correct me when I'm wrong, are always truthful with me, and only want to see the very best happen for me.
Outside of these special "ten," there are relationships in my life that have been or are currently negatively affected by social media. For example, oftentimes in a social setting, friends will sit scrolling through photos on Instagram until they've reached the bottom of their feed. Sometimes I think, "They should be done by now…," only to see them switch to Snapchat or back to Instagram to stalk a stranger. My thought process follows:
"Who cares what that guy from a party you met once is doing? Why are you stalking his girlfriend?"
"I'm sitting right here…"
"Oh, ok. I can wait."
*20 minutes pass*
As a graduating senior that has spent eight years in high school and college dealing with this kind of social media addiction (that I have been captivated by myself at some points) I'm becoming extremely tired of it. I've felt an increasing void in many of my relationships that can only be explained by the addiction to social media facing society today. In times that I've been completely disconnected from social media, I have felt a significant increase in satisfaction with my relationships and life in general.
I also see social media affect the way I view men and dating. Social media creates a false sense of unlimited choice and opportunity that contributes to the hookup culture and relationships without trust. Many people cannot seem to commit to a real, authentic relationship because of the wide array of people that can be viewed on social media. "Following" people on Instagram seems to give people the feeling that they know someone when in reality they don't. Unfortunately many authentic, meaningful relationships are damaged or let go because of social media. It makes me question if in the future someone I meet will ever be able to fully commit to a real relationship if addicted to social media. I have seen my female friends' relationships deteriorate because their boyfriends consistently "liked" provocative photos of other women on Instagram or "followed" women that they don't know, which led the girlfriend to question if he was faithful to the relationship.
Social media may be extremely powerful and addicting, but I believe that the people that matter the most will not let your relationships fail because of an intangible app on a screen that doesn't have the capability to provide the benefits of true human connection.
Madison Tandy, a student in Jon Pfeiffer's Spring 2019 Media Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the above essay in response to the following question:How does social media impact your relationships?
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