How your mood is affected by the media you consume. Is mass media making you miserable?
As consumers of media, we all have our reasons for using it. To gain knowledge, for emotional experiences, personal needs like credibility and confidence, social needs like connecting with family and friends, or simply as a tool for escapism. Social media has become such a large part of our everyday lives, we are starting to see the effect it has on mental health. Some common moods we can see based on excessive social media use are depression, ‘FOMO,’ or fear of missing out, anxiety, and isolation. As social creatures, we need social interaction, but has social media become a brick wall between us and our social interactions?
Don’t get me wrong, there are positives to social media. Social media is a great way to stay connected with family and friends, find new communities with the same interests, promote worthwhile causes or build awareness, seek/gain emotional support from others, have an outlet for creativity, or discover sources of information and learning.
But, as I mentioned before, social media does have negative impacts as well. The most common drawback of social media is feeling inadequate about your appearance; especially with young women. It has become increasingly easy to compare yourself to others on social media. FOMO has been around even before social media, but media has exacerbated this feeling. Constantly seeing people posting all of the things they’re doing online and making their life look glamorous (of course everyone posts about the good parts), can cause others to feel like they aren’t living their lives to the fullest. Depression, anxiety, and loneliness are also common feelings that can be caused by excessive media use. Human beings crave face-to-face interactions and social media can hinder those interactions; the more media use, the more likely they are to develop these mood disorders. Now, you're probably thinking, how has social media affected my mood lately? I think analyzing your social media use is a great start to determining whether or not your mood is heavily influenced by mass media.
The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) states that there are two routes through which information (from media) is processed that can lead to attitudes being changed. The central route is information that is actively processed and the individual evaluates that information in a rational manner. The peripheral route is the exact opposite of the central route. Instead of evaluating information in a cognitive, rational manner, information is processed based on the message, credibility of the source, or the individual’s mood. This is where persuasive advertising comes into play; marketers tend to play on viewer’s emotions in order for them to perform a desired action.
I believe it is the brand’s responsibility to ethically create persuasive advertisements. Advertisements should have truth, authenticity, and make an individual’s life better or enhanced in some way. This theory shows us that people can react to media and advertisements in significantly different ways and this should always be taken into consideration when creating persuasive appeals.