Social media actually makes us feel lonely and miserable, studies show
This songbird is done tweeting.
Ed Sheeran deleted his Twitter account on Monday, hours after his divisive cameo in the “Game of Thrones” premiere spurred internet trolls to come swinging for his head.
— Actually Frank Ocean (@_SZAZS) July 17, 2017
I didn't think #GoT could get any more unnecessarily revolting than it did with Sam's bedpan montage…but then Ed Sheeran showed up.
— Joe (@JoePassmore) July 17, 2017
Oddly enough, his account reappeared on Tuesday afternoon, but with all of his tweets since April 2015 deleted, and his former 19.2 million followers cut down to just a few thousand.
The “Shape of You” singer previously announced that he was going to take a break from updating the social media account because he’s sick of people “saying mean things.” His Instagram would still continue automatically sharing photos, but he wouldn’t be checking the feed himself anymore.
“One comment ruins your day,” the 26-year-old told The Sun. “The head-f*** for me has been trying to work out why people dislike me so much.”
But the “Thrones” fallout must have been too much, since fans noticed his Twitter profile page now comes up as, “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist.”
Why… why did Ed Sheeran delete his twitter? What has the world done to deserve this?
— Ella Schantz (@65purpleroses) July 17, 2017
Anti-bullying activist Lady Gaga came to his defense, posting a pic of the two of them together and pleading with people to “work harder to be kinder everybody.”
What an incredible talented artist I LOVE ED @teddysphotos deserves all our love and respect like all humans do. I wish all people on the internet would be positive and loving and apart of creating an online community that is kind and empowering, not hateful and mean. No reason to tear down an artist simply because they are on top. Work harder to be kinder everybody. That should be your first duty to humanity.
Sheeran hasn’t signed off of Instagram, even though the photo-sharing site has been shown to make young people more miserable than any other social media platform as they “compare and despair” others’ perfectly filtered and photoshopped pix with their own lives.
Perhaps that’s because social network advertising spending is expected to hit nearly $36 billion this year, or roughly 16% of all digital ad spending globally, according to eMarketer, largely driven by celebrities like Kim Kardashian endorsing brands on their feeds. One Facebook or Instagram post from Beyonce is worth more than $1 million, for example. So Sheeran might want to keep that potential revenue stream open.
But here’s five reasons that science supports signing off of Twitter – and limiting your time on social media, period.
1. It exposes you to cyberbullying. More than half of teens have been bullied online, with 87% reporting it happened on Facebook, and 19% on Twitter. And cyberbullying is related to low self-esteem, thoughts of suicide, anger, frustration and other emotional and psychological problems.
2. Trolls are actually psychopaths. A couple of studies that quizzed online users about their trolling behavior – such as asking whether they “enjoy physically hurting people” – have found that the meanest commenters show higher traits of narcissism, psychopathy and sadism.
3. It’s isolating. The more time people spend on social media, the more alone they feel, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Spending more than two hours on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat can double your risk of feeling socially isolated, compared to just swiping and scrolling for 30 minutes or less.
4. It makes you spend more. Seeing friends’ pix of their perfect vacation or restaurant plate makes roughly four in 10 adults more likely to look into a similar purchase or getaway, and 11% buy something after seeing a friend share it on social. One third of Millennials in particular report feeling pressured to keep up with their friends’ spending habits, and two-thirds say they compare their personal situations to others due to social media.
5. It lets companies track you. Advertisers are tracking the digital footprint you’ve left by “liking” and following brands and influencers on Facebook and other social media networks, which is why targeted ads often “follow” you to other sites. Facebook even had to apologize in April after a leaked document revealed two top Australian Facebook execs used algorithms to collect data on the emotional state of high school students from their posts that could be used to target when they were most vulnerable to advertising messages.
This story was previously published on July 5, and has been updated with the news at Sheeran has deleted his account.
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