Emotional Intelligence: How Social Media Can Damage Social and Self-awareness
Director of Wellbeing, Keegan Lee explains how the convenience of communicating through a screen can alter how we view ourselves, others, and how others view us.
Part One: social media rewiring our communication
Although Emotional Intelligence is a broad concept, it can be defined as having the ability to have interpersonal and intrapersonal awareness and management of feelings, emotions, and actions. When people are communicating with each other in person, emotional intelligence is utilized to empathize, connect, and understand. When we are communicating through a screen, it can be more difficult to understand each other because of an absence of facial expressions, social cues, tone of voice, body language, etc. Therefore, when people are talking through a screen, it is likely that a misinterpretation of communication will occur. What if one of the causes of social dissociation is that the way we are communicating through a screen is being transmitted to how we communicate when we are physically together?
Here are some examples of technological communication that could be potentially seen through in-person interactions:
Lack of sincerity
Lack of empathy
Incomplete communication (short communication that doesn't truly articulate feelings and thoughts e.g. the word limit on Twitter and other apps)
The convenience of technological communication could potentially rewire human dialect and interactions as it can subconsciously translate to our mannerisms, choice of words, tone of voice, and other aspects of communication. This is why it is important to remain aware of our own communication and even think about how our digital communication might be perceived by another person through a screen.
Part two: social media altering our real-world perceptions
Social media is designed to show us what we want to see. As we use the apps, the platforms collect more accurate data about our identity. We become content as we see what interests us on our feed. Essentially, everything is about us, because the apps have constructed a closed view of the world that only depicts who we are. This is a logical design technique that can keep us engaged on social media. However, this close-minded view of the world could potentially translate to the real world and limit our self-awareness. This is because our attention span could be minimized to aspects of the world that only suit our interests - creating a view that is egocentric and small. This could make humanity blind to the vast, diverse, and intricate components of the world as their curiosity is reduced and their perspectives are compatible with tunnel vision.
As social media continues to show us what we want to see, we could potentially become frustrated and irritable when aspects of the real world do not go our way, because we are so used to seeing everything we want and those things align with our views because of the social media algorithms. Our attitudes and mindsets could impact our emotional intelligence as we become less aware of our actions and how we influence others.
Emotional intelligence is one of the essential components used for creating strong human connections. It allows us to feel, bond, and see others as pure individuals rather than just another person in the universe. It allows us to see instead of look; to listen instead of simply hear. It also allows us to become aware of our own emotions and manage our feelings. It allows us to touch each other's core where we realize we are all human. We can do this by trying to stay conscious of our time on social media and how it is affecting us. This way we can attain a healthy tech-life balance and enjoy the human connectivity that originates from both sides.
As people are born into this technologically dense world, it is important we maintain our most primal forms of connection where we truly see each other and ourselves with beautiful worth.