Brooding positivity or negativity on social media?

Brooding positivity or negativity on social media?

Try to recollect the time when keeping your phones away after scrolling down through your social media feed and you felt sad or anxious in anyway? It might have happened as atrocities keep on happening and everything is just one or two swipes away. It is very normal to have news of all kinds of information that is available. Each and every one of us might have felt anxious at some point in time after one of few of your social media experiences. It is surely a place to connect, to access information or just for entertainment, but it is beyond that as most of the things are establishing their foundation on the grounds of social media. It has impacted the overall ways of perceiving and understanding any phenomenon as any piece of information is manipulated by a number of people before being presented to the audience. It is a battle between various platforms to bring the best material so that they can top the charts. More than that it has also become a place that is driven by competition and need for success. The ways and the motives behind anything that is put up on social media can differ from person to person. It is known that one thing can be accessed from various platforms with different interpretations and opinions.

We all have different opinions, thoughts, views on a variety of things and it is not necessary that our mind set will move parallel with the mind set of other people. It tends to exist in our life and also holds the potential to guide our behaviour towards various things and people. On social media platforms we encounter people with different mind sets. It is often seen that there are some extreme views about certain topics that can be triggering in nature. Even if at that point you choose not to respond to it you might experience a certain kind of disturbance after reading the statement made by the other person. You might think about it and try to evaluate your understanding on the basis of what that person said and as a result you conclude that the person is not good and then in some cases it extends to a group from which the person is a part of. Then it is a possibility that you might start to generalize that statement on people belonging to their group or their friends etc. This is how a cycle begins which is just based on a single comment or a statement made on the social media platform.

Language has been playing an important part in our lives as that is how we communicate and express our thoughts. Sometimes what we say does not matter the most but how we say, it can really affect us as well as the individual listening to it. Social media is a place that has some extreme tones. Even if the matter is not that big issue but just to fulfil a hidden agenda people would put it in such a manner that causes people to react to it in a bad manner. Saying or commenting anything for anyone does not seem a difficult task as it can be just typed and you are not even going to see that person or the visa versa. Any type of hesitation is decreased by considering this fact and people say things that are just not for an individual but it hampers the identity of the ideologies associated with that person. Talking bad about someone in real life is not considered something to be good because it can leave scars on a person’s identity and experience as well. Then why people do not think before saying something of extreme level. When it is in public others might also start reacting to it and the targeted person is left alone to face all the consequences. Some situations, statements, posts or a piece of information can be genuinely disturbing and some people might react to it in a harsh manner. Also, it does not give an individual a right to react by getting influenced by existing prejudices and stereotypes. That is something that adds on the perceptions of people and they start identifying with hate and insensitivity. It is important to understand our motive and intention with which we perceive and try to comprehend anything available on these platforms. It can be possible to feel influenced after scrolling through information or you might form some new perceptions and opinions but to stay away from negativity and hate it is important to stay away from cognitive errors or cognitive biases. As human beings we all have our biases which can lead us to think in a different manner than others. We see things from our point of view. It is a tedious process for us as well as makes our brain to think and as a result of which we take short cuts. The mind set creates a generalized thought towards people sometimes. The very common type of bias that we face is the ‘Anchoring bias’ that is, we simply believe in the first information presented no matter how reliable it is. Another most common type would be the ‘Bandwagon Effect’, which is that, people believe in something not because they are actually presented to them  but because most of the people or majority of people believes in it. Then comes the ‘Confirmation bias’, which is we tend to listen or see about those things that we already know or try to interpret any information in such a manner that it confirms with our opinion or thought. These are the biases in which the information we receive might influence on what and how we think.

All the things mentioned above might have happened with us and we might have even felt anxious or triggered by something or the other on social media. It is a massive platform to interact with people from all around the globe. Not all of us always can express sensitivity towards the thought and opinions of others. Why is it that we start feeling attacked with something said on social media or start having this feeling of saying something negative to others? We as an audience and as a primary consumer of these platforms should know the importance that we hold. Our actions, thoughts and opinions can make a huge difference of the overall perception of anything that is making the highlights. Also one should not just simply react to the processed information rather he or she should think about it critically and analytically. We should think before reacting or feeling triggered about any content. We should try to think empathetically about people who are there because any negative reactions might harm the individual’s sentiments and trigger in a bad way. Also when it is done without any solid critical backing or is just an outcome of your prejudices and false attitude. Social media is a place to support each other and not just a place for spreading negativity. Try to keep positive interactions over social media. Also it can be exhausting to take up so much and think so much. Self-introspection can be the key in rethinking the opinions and perceptions.

About the Author

Fariyal Asad

Hi! I am a graduate psychology student. I've completed my graduation from Ambedkar University Delhi. I am a psychology en

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