Social Networks: 7 Ways the Virtual World Influences Our Lives

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Like it or not, social networks are the new neighborhood notice-board. It doesn’t matter if you’re a millennial, Gen-Zer or *gasp* a boomer: we’re all seeing these platforms evolve in real-time and that has some heavy impact on our daily routines, our relationships, our professional lives, and even our personal growth. And while “the kids” might find themselves in these rapidly shifting tech trends like fish in water, for people in their 30s and older it can get a little bit overwhelming at times. So what’s a woman to do? Well, darlings, we can start with sorting the parts of our lives that social media affects. Then it’s a lot easier to see the online acceleration as a tool instead of a boogeyman.

Connection and community in the online era

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Public, personal, and professional interactions of every kind became amazingly more convenient and efficient once we exported them into the virtual world. It takes zero effort now to stay in touch with friends and family, or check in with colleagues and business partners. Everyone can share milestones as they happen and everybody’s life has its own dedicated TV channel, so to speak. Culture, class, and distance are barely even barriers to exchanging opinions anymore.

Virtual wellness checks? Yes please!

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Mental health is finally getting the attention it deserves, and for a lot of people, online communities can make or break that conversation. There are also meditation apps, fitness challenges, expert insights rephrased into everyday English, healing playlists, free books, and just a general treasure trove of wellbeing resources. We have online support for everything now: stress management advice, finding workout routines, or even discussing mental health challenges within secure group chats. Even therapists have migrated to the virtual world, so now there are online consultations, video call sessions, private chats with individual therapists, group therapy via platforms like Zoom, etc.

Empowering authentic self-expression

Social networks are often vilified for promoting unrealistic and unhealthy standards of perfection (Instagram filters, anyone?) but they also provide a platform to embrace authenticity. We can keep it real with candid posts, videos, etc. as long as we’re being genuine. The younger folks are especially attuned to recognizing when someone’s flaunting struggle for clout, and they’re having none of it. So, if your social media is meant for business or otherwise targets a contemporary audience, cut the unrealistic fluff. It’s all about embracing differences and celebrating our unfiltered selves. The new netiquette demands vulnerability, opening up, being understanding, and making everyone feel like they belong.

Everybody gets their own spotlight

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For those of us who are creative spirits or who want to start their own business adventure (or both – why not!), social networks are a precious stage. Platforms like YouTube and TikTok allow us to share our creations with a wider audience, while niche experts and talents might find their tribes on a Discord server, at DeviantArt, or even a dedicated OnlyFans alternative or a super specific subreddit. Meanwhile, Instagram is booming as an ecommerce channel for fashionistas, while LinkedIn lets anyone connect with like-minded professionals from literally any industry or field of expertise. To top it all off, we’ve got crowdfunding platforms. You can help feed your favorite indie artist or contribute to a disaster relief effort halfway across the globe with equal ease.  Everyone’s mission gets broadcast on a far larger scale.

You can grow in any direction you want

If you’ve ever wanted to learn pretty much anything, chances are you can find it someplace online. All the career advice about expanding your skill set? Easy-peasy. All the self-care tips about exploring new hobbies? Sure darling, literally just YouTube a how-to and see if it’s your new thing. There are so many courses, workshops, webinars, and do-it-with-mes on so many topics that we can explore interests we may have never considered before, whether that be pursuing a new pastime or improving our career prospects. Most importantly, with the continuous efforts to improve accessibility of all online media, the pursuit of knowledge and skill-building has never been more readily available.

Fostering cultural exchange

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People from all walks of life hang out online, so the entire Internet is basically like one big coffee shop. You can meet someone from a different background every day – heck, make that every hour. We’re encountering new perspectives and traditions at every turn: from global challenges, from international influencers, social activists. Take your pick! It’s kinda hard to stay closed off with that much default exposure to alternative viewpoints. You get insights and stories from people with unique wisdom and values as soon as you log into your social media of choice.

Solution-oriented gal? The net’s got your back

Sure, the online world has its downsides, but it’s also got answers to many of our everyday problems. Whether you need advice from online parenting communities or you’re troubleshooting technical issues through forums, the collective wisdom of friendly netizens has proven to be an invaluable resource. The virtual world’s collaborative nature means that, whatever is bothering you at any given time, there’s likely someone out there who has faced a similar challenge and is willing to share their experience.

From fostering connections and cultural exchange, through supporting our well-being, to empowering us as entrepreneurs and encouraging personal growth, social networks have become integral to our daily routines, no matter our specific lifestyle. So even if you’re more of an analog type at heart, you can still take advantage of the tech wave to become better and do better – for those around you and for yourself.

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