Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat are now part of our daily terminology. These social media tools infiltrate our actions and now it appears that they may also influence our behavior.
Social media sites provide a sense of “belonging” which some behavioral experts believe is a common and even primal need of human nature. But what are the consequences when this immediate method of communication encourages negative and even destructive conduct?
A new Michigan State University research examining 400 participants found that the “more a Facebook user gets involved in alcohol-related pages or posts—whether it's a like, share or comment—the more likely that person is to consider drinking alcohol.”
Read this again and take serious note that the results of the analysis state that the influence on consuming alcohol can be persuaded: “…whether it is a like, share or comment.”
The study’s lead author stated, "What we found is if people actually feel so engaged with that message and want to do something about it—like, share or comment—that it makes the likelihood of them thinking about drinking even greater."
The implications are significant, especially for those individuals under 21 years of age. The data suggests that "Underage drinkers will see these ads (posts), think they're cool, and then like or share (them). They interact with it and start thinking about it."
The investigators found that “the participants who were interested in liking, sharing or commenting on the alcohol messages showed greater intentions to consume alcohol. And intention is the single strongest predictor of actual behavior."
In summary, this groundbreaking investigation identifies that “the more engagement, the greater their chances are of wanting to drink.”
Currently, over 1.35 billion people worldwide regularly engage and interact on Facebook. Research such as this current investigation may help identify the potential downfalls and risks of specific social media content on drinking, drug abuse and potential addiction.