Blog of Sara Jakša

Social Media is Making us One-sided

In the last fifteen years social media went to practically nonexistent, to being ubiquitous. It is really anybody that does not use them. I know that in the student generation, it is assumed that people have Facebook, and if a person does not have it, it does not exist. Really, I once told another student, that I met in the Japanese culture festival that I don't have a Facebook. She told me that she does not remember to contact anybody that she does not have on Facebook as friends.

There seems to be quite a lot of negative effects of social media. Frequent uses of social media are more lonely. They have a lower attention span. Their skills of ignoring irrelevant data is atrophying.

But today I am going to ignore what the different studies have already found. Instead, I am going to think about what effect does a social media have on the personality type.

A couple of years ago it was still believe that social media attracts mostly introverts. This particular piece of information is no true. Just look around at who is using the social media. They are both introverts and extraverts. I read one study that found our that extraverts use social media more frequently than introverts.

I actually believe that social media in fundamentally an extraverted activity. It is a flux of activity, with constant new information coming in, with no end in sight.

There is a cortical difference between the introverts and extraverts. Introverts are a lot more sensitive to any kind of input and they reach a threshold a lot quicker. That makes them a lot less likely to seek any kind of new experience.

Extraverts are different. They are less sensitive to the input, and they need a lot more of it to reach a threshold. Which is why they seek the new experiences all the time. They are just not simulated enough.

These differences makes the social media much more suited for the extraverts than introverts.

But each of us have both extraverted and introverted functions. We each use all the functions, some more than others. The two most used ones are of both types, one is extraverted and one is introverted.

Being constantly plugged in to the social media constant stream is overusing the extraverted functions in us, and it underuses the introverted functions in us. Before anybody wants to complain that they are not constantly on the social media: There was a study that showed that younger generation spends on average 5 hours per day on the phone. With 24 hours per day, and assuming 8 hours of sleep, that is almost a third of the waking hours.

The effect on the introverts is probably going to be seen first. By being plugged in the current matrix, excuse me, social media, they are no practicing their dominant function. Using dominant function is like a staple food. Sure you can survive without it, but it is not going to be healthy.

I wonder if it can eventually lead to the atrophy of the dominant function. If it can, it would be like destroying the best tool in the personal arsenal. Or maybe it is such a fundamental part of us, that it simply become dormant.

The extraverts can use their own dominant function to access social media. I imagine that in the sort term, there are not as many drawbacks for using it than for introverts.

But by using only the dominant function these people could be walking into a trap. Having only dominant function differentiated leads, at least according to Jung, to the collectivism. You know, that pesky concept that is behind things like mass consumerism or communism.

By using the social media extraverts are giving up a real opportunity for growth.

On the end, social media is such a one dimensional experience, that there is no way that I can perceive that being constantly connected to it can in any way help us toward being a better human being.