How has social media changed human relationships

Like me: How social media affects friendships

Between friendship and self-expression: Facebook, Instagram and Co have a great influence on our relationships. Not all good ones.

Let's assume that the young colleague had a good seat at the recent company party and was flirting unrestrainedly with the head of another department. Of course, you definitely don't tell that on Facebook, right? It's a mistake, 14 percent of men and 8 percent of women would do that.

Social media change our behavior

Anyone who uses social media has a motive for it. Now many users will say that they just want to keep in touch with friends. However, this is not really believable, because most people have many more contacts in these networks than they have real friends. In addition, especially for younger users, especially teenagers, offers like Instagram are now becoming more important than Facebook - and Instagram has no friendships that have to be confirmed by both sides, they simply follow - the more followers, the better. So one important reason for using social media is another: self-expression. We want to put ourselves in a good light, and we do a lot to achieve this. Kaspersky Lab, actually a manufacturer of security software, examined what exactly. The company surveyed many thousands of users in 19 countries, including Germany. The result can be regarded as reliable worldwide and is interesting to astonishing. Almost a quarter of users publish gossip about friends and acquaintances - with women on the whole being more sensible than men. The friends they talk about there are not always happy with this: almost half of the respondents said they had been in a bad mood because something unfavorable was posted about them on social media.

The problem: Likeaholism

The reason for the dubious behavior of some of the users is the desire for confirmation: If you get a lot of likes on Facebook or have a lot of followers on Instagram, you feel valued. In the search for approval, the bar on the unacceptable is sometimes quite high. Twelve to 14 percent of men are willing to divulge confidential or embarrassing information about friends, colleagues or even the employer, compared with only about half as many women. The friendships and relationships with these people seem to be of secondary importance when as many likes as possible are waved. At the same time, many users react frustrated if they do not get the expected number of likes for a post - or if a certain, particularly important person does not "like" a post. More than half of all respondents said that something like this had already happened to them. Friendships can potentially suffer from this as well. Another factor is envy. Most of the time, good news is spread on social media, and those who constantly see an extravagant news feed full of parties, vacations and other events can easily get frustrated with their not-so-exciting life. 59 percent said that they had ever been annoyed because friends published pictures of a party to which they were not invited, 45 percent had felt frustrated by the great vacation pictures of a friend. However, frustration caused by the behavior of friends is not exactly conducive to these friendships.

Social media can also cement friendships

On the other hand, Facebook, Instagram and Co are also quite useful because they still bring people together rather than drive them apart. A large majority of respondents use them to communicate more frequently with friends, acquaintances, parents, children, colleagues and their partner. Parents in particular said that relationships with their children had improved through social media. On the other hand, there are also 35 percent who stated that they had less direct contact with their friends because of social media. So social networks don't necessarily damage friendships - it depends on how we use them. Anyone who tells a friend about the colleague mentioned at the beginning is committing a breach of trust and making oneself unpopular with her. Anyone who publishes a photo of the company party on Facebook does so to a far greater extent and then may have a nice number of likes, but also just as many friends who now have a negative image of him because he makes a colleague look bad. By the way: Many users of social media do not stop at themselves either. Twelve percent of men and eight percent of women would post pictures of themselves in revealing clothing, nine percent of men and five percent of women even post naked photos.

Christian Zeiser

The freelance journalist has been working with smart technology for 15 years.
It all started with the topic "3 megapixels: digital cameras are growing up".
Today he is interested in the development of the Internet of Things.

All articles by Christian Zeiser