As the majority of Filipinos sit and wait for the COVID-19 crisis to pass, social media has been the saving grace of many. Social media has connected everyone virtually as the government strictly implements isolation and social distancing. However, this increased exposure has triggered a”fear of missing out” on what is happening with our peers and loved ones. It may have also influenced one’s decisions and values.
This collective anxiety and loneliness brought about by the pandemic make people more sensitive to social media. Case in point: the many friendships that were broken due to dissenting opinions. (Read: My Pope-approved tips on how to behave in social media)
Want to determine your level of sensitivity to social media? Bring out your pen and paper and list down your answers to these ten questions from psychologytoday.net!
I admit that getting “Likes” on social media makes me feel better. And if I don’t get any responses at all, I worry.
- A. Yes, that’s often true for me.
- B. It depends on my mood. On some days, people’s responses affect me.
- C. I could take it or leave it. It’s nice to get the “Likes,” but it doesn’t get me down if I don’t get them.
- D. I could care less. I hardly notice the responses.
- E. I post interesting or helpful articles that I want to share, regardless of how people react.
Social media makes people fake. You name it—friends, coworkers, family members—everyone only shows the bright side of their lives. If you want “Likes,” you’ve got to fake how well you are doing.
- A. I completely agree.
- B. I mostly agree. If people speak out honestly, they need to be very careful not to send the wrong message.
- C. You can be honest, but in a positive way—in other words, tell the truth, but don’t bring people down with depressing personal issues.
- D. Most of the time, you can be honest, just be respectful and polite.
- E. You can always be honest, just be respectful and polite.
Whenever I’ve been unfriended or deleted, it has hurt my feelings.
- A. That’s always true for me, it hurts no matter how close or not I am to that person.
- B. Sometimes—it depends on how well I know the person.
- C. It doesn’t hurt too much, but it makes me ruminate about what I might have said or done.
- D. I don’t take it personally. It’s just part of living with social media. (But it does make me curious about why this person did this.)
- E. It doesn’t affect me at all. I don’t give it much thought.
I’ve waited two months during the COVID lockdown to visit a dear friend in person, and I’m jazzed about our visit. We finally sit down at the park and begin to catch up with our news. In ten minutes, after I’ve started sharing a personal story, she excuses herself to check an Instagram post of a video of her daughter and shows it to me. I’m frustrated. Can’t we at least have an hour of face time without interruptions? Sure, her daughter’s video is great, and she meant well sharing it with me—but darn, that video completely changed the tone of our conversation.
- A. I would feel the same way.
- B. I’m annoyed, but I take a deep breath and try to accept that this is life in digital times. “It is what it is.”
- C. I don’t like it, but I’ve gotten used to my friends and loved ones doing this all the time.
- D. I’m okay with it. I take a moment to enjoy her daughter’s video.
- E. I join in and show her my Instagram photos—like a “show-and-tell.”
I’m often envious of what my friends post on Facebook. For example, only one person bothered to send me a birthday wish. But all the time I see dozens of people responding to my friend’s birthdays!
- A. I would feel the same way. Maybe people don’t care that much about me.
- B. I would wonder why I didn’t receive more birthday wishes.
- C. I try not to let it get to me. I’ll send a nice message to the one person who did wish me a happy birthday.
- D. Oh, just screw it. It’s only Facebook.
- E. I have plenty of real friends who hardly use Facebook.
I sometimes feel left out or inadequate when I compare myself to others on social media—better family life, taking nice vacations, great jobs, having fun socializing.
- A. I often feel inadequate.
- B. It sometimes affects me.
- C. I know that people are only selectively sharing their stuff, but still, it gets to me a little.
- D. I don’t feel left out. I always like to see how my friends are doing. I cheer them on with “Likes.”
- E. I really enjoy all the positive energy from their happy photos.
I’ve become more assertive about insisting we take a break from our devices, especially at dinner time. If I’m bothering to cook a nice dinner for everyone, then we’d better enjoy being at the table together without interruptions!
- A. I’ve tried, but I’m lucky to get even twenty minutes of face time any given day.
- B. I’ve tried, and I’m lucky to get maybe forty minutes of face time during the day.
- C. I’ve tried and at least on some days, we can go a whole hour with face time.
- D. I don’t have to try too hard. We’ve found good times to talk.
- E. My household is totally on board with making face time sacred.
Due to social media, I believe it’s much more difficult to have deep or meaningful conversations with anyone. I miss having long, heart-to-heart talks about the important things in life. Sometimes I feel lonely not being able to share my deepest thoughts and feelings with others.
- A. Very true for me. I feel sad and discouraged that the world seems so superficial and fast-paced.
- B. Somewhat true for me. I try to find other outlets for my feelings if I can’t talk to anyone about them.
- C. This gets to me sometimes, but I’m an optimist and believe humans are evolving in ways we can’t always understand.
- D. I think the world has always seemed superficial to deep thinkers and “old souls.” We can always find our kindred spirits.
- E. We can live creatively and be open and grateful. Things have a way of working out in the end.
I don’t think I fit in with most social media—maybe not even this digital age. I feel like an outsider. I’m more isolated than ever.
- A. True. It’s a lonely world out there. I wish I had real friends.
- B. Sometimes I feel this way. But I have at least a couple of friends who understand.
- C. We must adapt to the digital world or we will be left in the dust.
- D. I believe in compromise and balance. We can spend some time online and other time offline.
- E. I believe we can connect even more deeply and honestly online. We can blog and share all kinds of insights, feelings, dreams, observations. Let’s get creative online!
Reflect for a moment: Over the past five years, do you believe social media has made you feel more lonely or less lonely?
- A. Definitely more lonely.
- B. Somewhat more lonely than I’d like.
- C. I feel about the same, not more lonely or less lonely.
- D. Somewhat less lonely.
- E. Definitely less lonely.
If six or more of your answers were Ds or Es, you are likely to be less sensitive to the effects of our digital age and social media.
If you answered with six or more As and Bs, social media might be affecting how isolated and lonely you feel.
If you have many Cs or were evenly split with your answers, you have mixed feelings and live with ambivalence.
Hopefully, this quiz reminds you that social media does not define your sense of belonging in the world. It’s helpful to pay attention to our values, beliefs, and feelings about social media so we don’t allow it to dictate whether or not we “fit in” with others. Remember what you’re grateful for and do not let social media dictate who and what you should be.