Social media is sometimes a bit of a dirty word in Australia these days, despite how utterly ubiquitous it is.
On the one hand, it can make our lives objectively better: it helps us stay in touch with loved ones, discover new experiences and makes organising social events a doddle (a Facebook event sure beats handing out party fliers…) For many of us, it’s also become essential and beneficial for our livelihoods – and not just for influencers.
At the same time, many Aussies would readily admit that social media can also be terrible for our mental health. From the pressure of having to be ‘always online’ to the cavalcade of impossible beauty standards our feeds throw at us, social media truly is a double-edged sword.
But it’s not just our mental health that social media sometimes impacts. Turns out it’s our relationships as well. DMARGE recently completed its inaugural ‘Men’s Matters’ Survey in partnership with Hoop Research – an annual study to better understand the expectations and pressures of work, lockdown and relationships on men – and some of our findings were rather startling.
In particular, over a third of men surveyed (34%) feel as if social media has negatively impacted their relationships, with over two thirds (68%) also sharing that they feel that online apps have made dating less enjoyable.
That information on its own might not be that surprising, but the interesting takeaway is how women felt on these two topics compared to men. Only 28% of women surveyed felt as if social media has negatively impacted their relationships (although 81% agreed that online apps have made dating less enjoyable).
Another interesting point of divergence in our data related to social media was how men and women felt about the #MeToo movement. 42% of men compared to 30% of women said that the #MeToo movement has made dating more complicated – although it’s interesting that a majority of men, then, aren’t as bothered.
Of course, there’s a wealth of scientific literature to support what our survey’s revealed. Studies from as far back as 2011 have revealed how social media use can lead to increased jealousy and relationship dissatisfaction, and studies from 2013 and 2019 suggest that those who spend more time or ‘overshare’ on social media are particularly likely to experience problems in their relationships, just to name a few.
But the really interesting takeaway is that, in contradiction of what might be conventional wisdom, it’s actually Australian men who are feeling these pressures more than women.