OPINION: Social media — ruining relationships one post at a time

Illustration by Iris LoCoco

Social media has evolved into a sanction of love, lust, envy and deceit.

The use of social media continues to rise, but instead of creating a zone of unity, it has become another source of manipulation.

Social media has gradually transformed into a source of inner validity for individuals, whether it involves social approval, relationship status or the perceived level of excitement within one’s life.

Social media has demonstrated a radar of competition for both men and women. This primarily revolves around the idea of getting the most numbers: the number of likes on a photo or post, the number of followers one has, the number of friends and in some cases, the number of people who “slide into the DMs.”

Whether people realize it or not, users have developed a lifestyle within their own world of social media — the way they communicate, how they present themselves, how they react to other posts and the types of messages they broadcast. People may fail to realize these habits may not consistently reflect their behaviors in the rest of reality. In most cases, people use social media to maintain and hide behind a façade.

For numerous individuals, the rise of social media has sparked myriad issues in multiple areas of their life, such as relationships.

I stumbled across the website Relationship Rules, and I read an article listing downfalls of social media and its impact on relationships. These aspects included the spying element and paranoia, finding salvation elsewhere, a doorway to lying and cheating, return of the ex and jealousy. I could not agree more.

According to a 2016 Psych Central article by Shelley Galasso Bonanno, “while our social media friends offer us a great deal, it is not a true substitute or even supplement for real-life interactions with others.”

Yet people will choose temporary amusement or empowerment over genuine conversation and interaction.

On social media, people arbitrarily “connect” with other users. These habits can spark controversy and generate questions such as, “Did they like the picture I posted because they actually liked the photo? What are their intentions? Are they trying to get my attention?” Unfortunately, questions like these have become a norm within the social media world.

Social media gradually diminishes communication skills, such as the ability to be direct with one another. Now, people prefer chatting via text or direct messaging, rather than conversing in person.

A major bonus social media offers is variety of other users to interact with, which is another enticing factor affecting relationships. However, the need for variety will always leave social media users wanting more, which leaves individuals feeling dissatisfied and always searching.

According to a 2017 Forbes article by Jimmy Rohampton, “the need to garner likes can also cause people to betray the relationships they often claim to value.”

Some individuals think they have to compete against their partner’s social media accounts — compete for attention, trust, interest and devotion. This can be hurtful for the individual and detrimental to the relationship itself.

Nowadays, it is easy for people to admire something or someone on a screen but struggle to appreciate what is right in front of them.

The main problem is the fact that people want it all. This can vary, but sentiments of curiosity and greed could influence the choices people make when using social media. This could lead to individuals investing their time in online friendships and relationships.

In certain cases, social media was utilized as a form of retaliation. For example, some users will intentionally create posts to provoke emotions from their partners or friends.

According to the Relationship Rules article, “Some people intentionally use their public profiles to show their partners that they’re perfectly happy and normal, even though they’ve had a fight. They show them that they have a lot of friends and people to be with and aren’t sad at all just to make them feel less about themselves.”

Social media has built a false foundation of credibility. Now, people resort to “lurking” to find out information about a person. In other instances, people define the seriousness of a relationship or situation based on its online status.

“If the relationship is not Facebook official, it must not be that serious.” Wrong. Facebook should not define the credibility of a relationship, and it should not define its boundaries either.

One of my pet peeves about social media includes its tendency to encourage and glorify cheating, recklessness or forms of illegal activities. This affects the habits of people in relationships and can lead to dishonesty toward a friend or loved one.

Take away the filter, erase the caption, remove the comment box — all that are left are the consequences.

Ultimately, social media sites are not the real problem. Its users are the real problem. Social media sites are not the only scapegoat for struggling relationships, but they should be acknowledged.

Do not pick your ego over a current or potential relationship. Instead of worrying about what is on a screen, focus more on what is in front of you in real life, where there is no deleting, editing or replay button. Unlike on social media, what you see is what you get.

Alexcia Rodriguez is a senior in advertising. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.