A lot has changed in the months since Donald Trump was sworn into office, both on a political level and a personal one. Bustle’s State of Our Unions series looks at how millennial women's relationships with their friends, family members, and romantic partners have been affected since the 2016 election. Today's topic: How social media habits have changed since November.
In recent years, social media has had a huge effect on how we consume information. And at no time were our social media habits more obvious than during the 2016 election. According to a survey by SurveyMonkey, 44 percent of millennials were using social media to share their opinions about the election, compared to the 35 percent of Americans of all age groups. As for what political party was the most outspoken in sharing their views on social media, that would be the liberal Democrats, at 47 percent.
Mark Zuckerberg may have created Facebook as a means for college students to connect and see who's dating who, but it's evolved plenty since then into a platform for opinions and even change. Twitter is also being used in this way, despite the minimal 140 character limit, which can put a damper on a proper political rant.
But what happens when the rants and political arguments online are starting to get to you — or you see that you really don't agree with some of your Facebook friends? "As tempting and cathartic as it might feel to throw verbal bombs on FB or Twitter, it just demonstrates that you are emotionally immature and impulsive," Dr. Ben Michaelis, clinical psychologist and creator of OneMinuteDiagnosis.com, tells Bustle. "Also, don't unfriend people just because they think differently from you. If you are feeling emotionally overwhelmed, you may want to avoid reading their posts for a while, but other than that, leave it be and address your feelings."
Dr. Michaelis also suggests using social media as an opportunity to understand friends who think differently than you do. "Try to engage their friends who have a different view point than them in an open and generous manner to try to understand their point of view," Dr. Michaelis says. "If that doesn't work, use your feelings to help you accept that other people see the word differently than you do. Know that it doesn't make them a bad person, but that either because of differences in the way you think, or differences in social influences, you see the world along different dimensions, and a diversity of thoughts ultimately helps all of us."
And if all the heated political debates on social media are really frustrating you? "Sometimes taking a break from social media, unfollowing or restricting can help with political talk," Lisa Bahar, LMFT, LPCC, tells Bustle.
Because social media has become so interconnected with how we consume and share information, and about politics especially, it's safe to assume that, after the 2016 election, social media habits changed for millennial women. I asked 17 women what those changes were, and here's what they told me.
Whether it's getting more involved on social media because of the election or taking a break from it all together, because OMG headache, there's no denying that social media habits have changed for many millennial women — and in many cases, that's a good thing.