Why do we call it “social” media when it has so many antisocial and asocial damaging effects on users?
Studies have also shown that social media like FaceBook, Instagram (a FaceBook company), LinkedIn, even Google have insidious sociopolitical agendas and objectives operating that are heavily biased at numerous levels, not to mention their arbitrarily implemented and overly vague “community standards,” which no one, including the platform itself, seem to clearly understand.
The insidious and harmful effects of too much information too fast and the plethora of blatant misinformation put out for public consumption by [a]social media has become conspicously obvious in this CoVid era; it was out there well before CoVid but has become even more prejudicial now and likely to become worse in future unless people like you and I get smark and put the brakes on.
Social media, far from being social, has become a major stressor.
In general, social media addiction has become a public health crisis. This fact is supported by volumes of scientific research demonstrating the reality of social media addiction and stressors, and by the inclusion in 2013 in DSM-V of Internet addiction (IAD). A good working definition of addiction is “…compulsive behaviors that persist despite serious negative consequences for personal, social, or occupational function,” and many of my readers with any self-awareness will certainly admit they have experienced this in some form.
Ask yourself if you meet any or even all the following “diagnostic criteria” for inclusion in the IAD category:
- You have a preoccupation with the Internet.
- You experience “withdrawal” symptoms when you don’t have access to Internet or social media.
- Tolerance, you don’t seem to get enough.
- You have unsuccessfully attempted to control your Internet use.
- You continue your excessive Internet use despite knowledge of negative psychosocial problems.
- Loss of other interests such as previous hobbies, any entertainment other than Internet use.
- You use the Internet to escape or relieve loneliness or a depressed, frustrated, or unhappy mood.
- You tend to deceive family members, friends, therapists, or others about the extent of your Internet use.
In this article, I point out a number of observations of how Internet use, particularly social media use, adversely affects a man’s psychospiritual health and well-being.
Social media like FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. are undisputed sources of stress and anxiety. The eight criteria I note above are only starters; the list can go on and on. If you don’t think you are stressed when using social media, just try commenting on someone’s post and not saying what you are expected to say. Prepare to be ‘canceled.’
Everyone wants to be liked, accepted, to belong. Right? But at what price and for what reasons? Is the “belonging” meaningful, enriching? What is your quality of life that you find it necessary to curry the approval of algorithms and strangers to feel good about yourself?
Many social media denizens aim at collecting as many friends or connections, and likes, as possible. Somehow that equates, albeit irrationally, with one’s perceived self-value, even if the friends or connections never even take the time to glance at a profile, assuming there is one. In my opinion, that is like collecting fake money and thinking you’re rich! It’s also a childish fantasy that gives a false sense of worth. No mature, well-balanced, healthy adult should think in those terms, but far too many do.
Social media platforms like FaceBook and LinkedIn control what is said and seen by imposing ambiguous “community standards,” which are applied in the fashion of the Orwellian “thought police.” This evokes another tragic outcome of Internet use disorders: users hand over control to strangers, who then either like, degrade, or block him. If he should have an unpopular opinion or hurt someone’s sensitivities, there’s always the “community standards team,” the Thought Police, who will then suspend or cancel the account, virtually “vaporizing” the user in Orwellian terms. No redress; no appeal. You no longer exist. How’s that make you feel?
Who or what are you? How are you affected by social media? How are you changing because of your social media diet? Is your masculinity or your masculine ideology threatened or suppressed by what you read and see on social media?
We all start out as a blank slate, a tabula rasa, and during our formative years, a person and personality emerge. For men, this can be a source of confusion and stress, because in his earliest years, a man has predominantly a female model — his mother — and, only later in preadolescence, does he face the critical changeover to a male model — usually a significant adult male. At about age 7, a boy faces the stressor of developing a masculine identity as opposed to continuing his feminine aspect. Culture and society impose heavy penalties on a boy for not successfully making the switch.
Even if a boy is successful in making the switch, and fitting into the male stereotypes available, he is still faced with PC, political control, both on and off-line. He simply cannot express his full masculinity without being censored, punished, sanctioned. He must have acceptable, correct, and permissible thoughts and opinions, acceptable to the “regime,” that is.
In the 21st century, male identity is in a state of severe crisis. Say what you will about the 20th century, at least most men knew who and what they were, and they were comfortable with it to some degree. Some may have had a pubic and a private persona, but at least they knew when to use them. In the 21st century, with the fourth wave of militant feminism, critical race theory and the repression of “whiteness,” and the obliteration of any clear distinctions of genderedness, maleness and masculinity have become very risky, even a handicap. This development is nothing less than a perversion.
In the 21st century, however, we are drowning in information but starving for identity. PC, political control, tells one what he can say, whom he can touch and how, what is permissible and what is prohibited on an ambiguous sliding scale where nothing is real, let alone certain. Ideological ambiguity, gender ambiguity, social ambiguity, political ambiguity. Identity ambiguity.
If a man is not authentically self-aware of who and what he is, he will never be able to accept vulnerability or surrender, he will never be capable of trust, and he will forever be a stranger to himself and to others.
I think I have argued a persuasive case for the reality that social media is a general public health threat, particularly for men.
There will always be the left-of-center liberals who will follow any drumbeat or marching orders they find on social media without so much as raising an eyebrow. There will also be the rightist conservatives who will condemn anything that threatens status quo or heteronormative models. There will be, in contrast, a very small but select minority of men who will not make spectacles of themselves nor kneel to receive the emasculating cut. Those are the homoerotic tāntric Warrior-Heroes; men who are self-aware, living healthy vulnerability, capable of trust and surrender, keenly discerning the world around them. Those are the men who are authentic seekers, and capable of separating the gems from the junk. Those are the men of Homoerotic Yogic Tantra.