KU Professor says social media is not bad for the reasons most think

LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) -- Associate Professor Jeffrey Hall at the University of Kansas is shaking up what people think about social media use.

“The association between social media use and these negative outcomes like loneliness and depression, are consistent and they're there over and over again,” Hall said. “But the big issues is, is social media a sign that you're in bad shape or is social media causing it?”

Hall studied whether social media use led to less human interaction and found no connection. Instead, he said it's just new media replacing time spent with the old.

“Just like in the late 90s when we had internet adoption there was a real anxiety about the idea of internet taking away from something that was a meaningful activity,” Hall said. “We don’t imagine ourselves saying our ideal self is someone who sits in front of the television. But when we respond to the idea that social media is taking something from us, we turn to our ideal self because we say, ‘Oh, it’s taking away from the perfect me’."

Some KU students do believe that it can impact communication skills, but not for everyone.

"I think that face to face communication is really important for success and peoples futures,” Kayla Benton, a KU student, said. “The amount of time people spend on social media probably hinders that, not for everyone but for some people."

"If you're using it for the right reasons, it leads you to be more informed and better able to relate and communicate with others," Wade Briscoe, a KU student said.

Hall adds that in his research, whether or not social media is a good thing or a bad thing, depends on whether an individual has good or bad things going on in their life.