Does Social Media Undermine Face-to-Face Interaction?

Charmaine, Javon, Sarah, John

Types of Social Media

Social media systems come in a variety of forms and support numerous genres of interaction. It is a internet-mediated platform that allow people to share, create or exchange information, ideas, thoughts, pictures or videos in a virtual world and networks. There are more traditional type of media such as television and books that deliver message to mass population but do not facilitate any sharing platform for users. It was about to transform from one-to-many into many-to-many. In the recent years there are more online social technical system that have emerge in recent years, including services like Twitters, Facebook, Flicker, YouTube, Whats app, Skype, messenger, and personal mail. Nowadays social media is taken with many different forms including forms, blog, business networks, video chat, voice calls, audio chat, social bookmarking etc. Social media can be walls and windows, can hide and they can expose. It can help people to create the tools to share and get a sense of belongings, or a feeling of isolation or exclusion.

Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. Business horizons, 53(1), 59-68.

Communication and Technology

Our Computers, Ourselves Invisibilia Podcast

In the one hour long podcast In Our Computers, Ourselves, takes a look at the ways technology affects us, and the main question is : Are computers changing human character? You’ll hear from cyborgs, bullies, neuroscientists and police chiefs about whether our closeness with computers is changing us as a species. This podcast is an alternative to reading an article and gives an interesting insight on the impact of technology on communication. Evidence and studies from this podcast support the argument that social media undermines face-to-face interaction.

Social Media's Impact on Communication

The article seeks to examine the relationship between the quality of life and face-to-face interaction. It is hypothesized that the use of the Internet for interpersonal communication can improve quality of life among Internet users, just like face-to-face communication in everyday life. Sample survey data were collected in four Chinese cities, namely Hong Kong, Taipei, Beijing, and Wuhan, to serve as replicates to test the hypothesis. The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) of Diener (1984) was used to measure quality of life in the four cities. It was found that contrary to the researcher’s expectation, Internet communication cannot predict quality of life while face-to-face communication with friends and family members can. This article has a shortcoming because the study is done in China, and the cultural context may be different when compared to Canada, nonetheless the article presents a study that would be helpful to the writer. My impression is that the author tries to examine a viewpoint that is not normally known of. This article will be useful in the research because it provides evidence to support the issue of social media weakening face-to-face interaction.

Lee, P. S., N., Leung, L., Lo, V., Xiong, C., & Wu, T. (2011). Internet communication versus face-to-face interaction in quality of life. Social Indicators Research, 100(3), 375-389. doi:

The Parasocial Contact Hypothesis

This article presents an extension to Allport's (1954) Contact Hypothesis called the Parasocial Contact Hypothesis (PCH). If people process mass-mediated parasocial interaction in a manner similar to interpersonal interaction, then the socially beneficial functions of intergroup contact may result from parasocial contact. The article that shows that the PCH with respect to majority group members' level of prejudice in three studies, two involving parasocial contact with gay men (Six Feet Under and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) and one involving parasocial contact with male transvestite Eddie Izzard. In all three studies, parasocial contact was associated with lower levels of prejudice. Moreover, tests of the underlying mechanisms of PCH were generally supported, suggesting that parasocial contact facilitates positive parasocial responses and changes in beliefs about the attributes of minority group categories. This article is interesting because it looks at the relationship with minority groups and bases this off Allport's Contact Hypothesis. The perspective in this article signifies the relationship of communication and how social media can do the opposite of what it was meant to do, and makes people less than social.

Schiappa, E., Gregg, P. B., & Hewes, D. E. (2005). The parasocial contact hypothesis. Communication Monographs, 72(1), 92-115.

Social Media's Impact on Face-to-Face Interaction

Stefana Broadbent: How the Internet Enables Intimacy

As social media changes our social lives, speculation has abounded for years on how the web may be disconnecting us from intimate interactions in favor of meaningless quests to rack up followers and "friends." Not so, says Stefana Broadbent, who explains that social networks function the same way online as they do in real life. While we may have lots of friends, we only really communicate regularly and meaningfully with a handful of them, and social technologies like e-mail, texting, and tweeting allow us to do so more often across time and space. This alternative to a journal article will be useful in understanding how social media impacts relationships and communication between individuals.

Psychological Effects/Factors

Social behaviour

Social media has enhanced man's and woman's knowledge of their performances in school, workplace and at home. Also, there is a restructure of social performances, including the emerge of the concept of masculinity and femininity, and the notion of childhood and adulthood (Meyrowitz, 1985). The article also suggested that the way we project in public and private sphere will certainly change because of the enormous information about us was available to everyone we meet. Especially in a large combined social situation, we would be forced to say things and do things in front of others that seems to be a social norms that are project by the media. Those who conform the message that are spread out via social media may lose their sense of morality, sanity and their own identities. They will only become the witness of the social situations rather than a conscious decision maker to the behavior they made. The author, Joshua Meyrowitz pointed out that many Americans nowadays no longer 'know their place', for they are losing the psyche of the transitional sense of a set of behaviors when matching to physical locations and the audiences that are found in them as they are too used to express their thoughts and behaviors through a cyber culture. The physical location does not define the nature of interaction, only it defines the pasterns of information flow. The authors points out if there is no 'stage directions' for example a whisper, an eye contact, and a face expression, others may be misled and misconceived the person's intention behind all the actions in a particular situation. Hence, without other physical variables within a given room like furniture arrangement, temperature, lighting, it may not affect behaviors. For example when we know there is a far distance between the receptionist's desk and the chair of a waiting client may affect the way the receptionist and clients feeling of they 'have to' 'interact with one another'.

Meyrowitz, J. (1985). No sense of place: The impact of electronic media on social behavior. Oxford University Press.

Facebook and Social Anxiety

This study goes into detail about an experiment that hypothesizes the correlation between Facebook use and social anxiety. The experiment had been conducted with over two hundred participants that are Facebook users through surveys asking questions about the frequency of their usage on Facebook. What they had found was a moderate correlation between Facebook use and social anxiety experienced through it's usage. However, what was also discovered was that there could be connection that high use of the social media could compensate for face-to-face interaction for those who were already experiencing high anxiety. In summary, the study and the details of the procedure of the experiment was very concise in it's goals and methods. The study only suffered through the lack of gender representation (not many male participants) and ethnic minorities.

McCord, B., Rodebaugh, T. L., & Levinson, C. A. (2014). Facebook: Social uses and anxiety. Computers in Human Behavior, 34(Complete), 23-27.

The Relationship Between Social media and Loneliness

This article details the effects of loneliness and social anxiety through problematic internet use, as well as detailing the difficulties of individuals experiencing this. There are many aspects of that attract lonely individuals to online social networks than traditional face-to-face interaction like anonymity, greater control over self-presentation and less social risks taken. To further explore a case study was conducted on over three hundred and forty participants – mainly undergraduates ranging from age 18 to 28. Through the study, what was found was that an individual's attitude on social interactions dictated the relationship between social anxiety and the negative effects associated with Internet use. In conclusion this article expressed the many aspects of loneliness and problematic internet use, and through the subsequent study explored the many factors involving this relationship.

Caplan, S. E. (2007). Relations Among Loneliness, Social Anxiety, and Problematic Internet Use. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 10(2), 234-242.

Social Media and Self Esteem

In this article, the relationship between social media and self-esteem is explored through a subsequent study. The dynamics of self-esteem is determined by natural drive for us humans to compare ourselves to others and as a result an individual's own notion self-esteem can fluctuate from high and low levels. In the study, the correlation between online social network, namely Facebook was conducted on one hundred participants (mostly female). As hypothesized, the relationship between these variables was negative and interestingly enough more frequent users of Facebook expressed lower self-esteem and evaluate themselves more poorly. In conclusion, this article is very insightful both explaining the processes of self-esteem and how it relates to use of social media.

Vogel, E. A., Rose, J. P., Roberts, L. R., & Eckles, K. (2014). Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 3(4), 206-222.

The Relation Between Exposure to Media Violence

Aggression is a characteristic way of solving social problems, and it usually appears early in life.
It has been proven that neurological, hormonal, or other physiological abnormalities stemming from genetic, paranatal, traumatic, other causes undoubtedly play a role in many cases of violence.
Another way to adapt the violent behavior are presence of environmental, familial, and cognitive characteristics that promote the learning of aggressive response. (Eron, Walder, & Lefkowitz, 1971.)
The condition most conducive to the learning of aggression is by child’s many opportunities to observe aggression. The child is reinforced for his or her own aggression, and in which the child is the object of aggression.
Severe antisocial aggressive behavior occur most often when there is a convergence of number of these factors during a child’s development, but no single factor by itself seems capable of explaining more than a small portion of the individual variation in aggression.

Psychological Stress and Social Media Use.

It was found that stress might come from maintaining a large network of Facebook friends, feeling jealous of their well-documented and well-appointed lives.
It also showed that demands of replying to text messages, the addictive allure of photos of fantastic crafs on Pinterest, having to keep up with status updates on Twitter, and the “fear of missing out” on activities in the lives of friends and family cause stress for people.
The study explores the relationship between a variety of digital technology uses and psychological stress. People were asked of an established measure of stress that is known as the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). PSS consists of ten questions and measures the degree to which individuals feel that their lives are overloaded, unpredictable, and uncontrollable.


1. McCord, B., Rodebaugh, T. L., & Levinson, C. A. (2014). Facebook: Social uses and anxiety. Computers in Human Behavior, 34(Complete), 23-27.

2. Caplan, S. E. (2007). Relations Among Loneliness, Social Anxiety, and Problematic Internet Use. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 10(2), 234-242.

3. Vogel, E. A., Rose, J. P., Roberts, L. R., & Eckles, K. (2014). Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 3(4), 206-222.

4. Thomee, S. (2012). ICT use and mental health in young adults. Gothenburg, Sweden, University of Gothenburg

5. Williams, R. (2013). Can more friends on facebook induce stress and anxiety? Psychology Today.

6. Dick, J. (2013). Why Do Social Networks Increase Stress? Huffington Post.

7. Kotenko, J. (2013). Ladies, your love-hate relationship with the internet is stressing you out. Digital Trends.


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