Social media has had the ability to personally influence your fellow peers since the beginning of its implementation. When you see a friend say or do something that you either agree or disagree with, often times you will have a response. Whether it’s about somebody trying to get you to listen to a certain song, see a certain movie, or even become an organ donor. When social media experts convened at Harvard, they came to the conclusion that if one was to share something they did, people would follow suite. As mentioned in the article pertaining to organ donors, experts say that friends sharing their “sign-up” to organ donation has sparked a mass amount of new donors; 500 000 to be exact. According to Facebook’s director of corporate communications Sarah Feinberg, registering to be an organ donor, and sharing it on Facebook creates a peer-to-peer influence. Whether it is subconscious or conscious, when you see something from your friends you think about the subject.
Through some of my own personal experiences, I’ve both been influenced and influenced people towards something. Movie suggestions are a big thing for me, if someone suggests to see something that I may not really want to, I give the film a second chance. I remember suggesting people should go see the film ‘Arrival’ because of its important message, and a few of my Facebook friends read it and were persuaded, so I guess there’s that.
However, human behaviour isn’t only changed through suggestive influences, but through “popularity contests” as well. Most social media users long for their peers approvals. According to a study focusing on teenage reactions to ‘Likes’, brain activity was higher across the board in “social” areas when shown their own pictures with “tons” of ‘Likes’. Furthermore, the teenagers in the study were prone to liking a picture themselves when the photo featured many ‘Likes’. Suggesting that their behaviours were influenced by the number of ‘Likes’ a photo had when it came across them, rather than simply whether they themselves liked the pictures. The study touches upon many other aspects of psychological behaviour towards social media, read more here: http://tinyurl.com/hxu9ad8.
Social media is just a further purporter of popularity, and schoolyard human behaviour carries over into the online world.
- Sushami Pomerleau-Piquette
Harvard Social Media Experts Article: http://today.law.harvard.edu/experts-explore-how-social-networks-can-influence-behavior-and-decision-making-video/
Teenage Psychological Human Behaviour Towards Social Media Article: https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/social-media-likes-impact-teens-brains-and-behavior.html#.WIjx6qO-KuU