Social media is undoubtedly a large part of most people`s lives these days, with an average person spending about 135 minutes daily on social media. This is more than two hours a day! Statistics reveal that teens spend up to nine hours daily on social media. With this in mind, we cannot help it but ask what draws people to spend so much of their time on social media. Well, a recent study tackled certain aspects of this issue.
Motivations for Social Media Use
The study, done by Ozimek and colleagues, came up with three motives for social media use. They included:
- Self-presentation, or the need to present yourself and life as positively as possible (to both yourself and others)
- Social interaction and the need to belong (staying in touch with friends and family members)
- Social comparison
Although there might be more reasons than the ones outlined above, most of them stem from one of the three. For instance, if you tend to scroll back through your feed to remind yourself of some of the things you have posted earlier, self-presentation does matter to you. Regardless of your motivation for social media use, it is important to be aware of both the positive and negative effects it has on your wellbeing.
The researchers found that many people use social media in order to obtain materialistic goals and wondered whether materialism could be yet another motivation for social media use.
Materialism and Social Media
A recent study suggested that people having loads of Facebook friends are more materialist than those with fewer Facebook friends. “Materialistic people use Facebook more frequently because they tend to objectify their Facebook friends – they acquire Facebook friends to increase their possessions,” concluded the study’s researcher, Phillip Ozimek. The study involved use of a questionnaire to measure how much people actually compare themselves to others and their materialistic goals.
This falls in line with a previous study on materialism, which found that materialists collect things that they can show publicly, it is not about having them. And, Facebook is the ideal place for a materialist to display their items. In addition, there is yet another aspect of materialism –objectification- where materialists look on other people as objects. This is clearly seen in social media, where users tends to place quite a high value on the number of friends.
“More generally, we suggest that materialists have a tendency to view and treat non-material events (like friendships) as a possession or as means to attain their materialistic goals, the Ozimek study states.” This can be seen con job networking sites such as LinkedIn.
The Effects of Materialism
First and foremost, materialists often neglect the emotions of those they objectify, which can in turn impact interpersonal relationships. When a person feels devalued, they disconnect from the person.
Secondly, materialism could lead to emotional health problems too. When material items are the key to value, their removal might cause crisis or any other form of stress. If a certain person unfriends you, you can swap them for another. But, if a lot of people do the same, you are likely to question your own value, aren’t you?