By Samandra

How has social media changed you?

21 Apr 2021

I used to think that I had a shield that protected me from being affected by the media. These shields were all the years that I have been active on social media, the trait of being observant to what’s happening, and later on, the media literacy I have earned while pursuing a major in Communication Studies at BYU. 

If I noticed that they wanted me to take a particular action, I would intentionally do the opposite and reject the message. The more persuasive it tried to be, the less power it would have over me. 

This is explained in a social psychological theory developed by Brehm and Brehm (1981) called Reactance Theory. When noticed a threat, we tend to protect our sense of freedom. A “boomerang effect” occurs to safeguard our independence and control, leading to an opposite behavior than initially expected.

How does persuasion work?

When facing a persuasive message, the individual might react to it in different ways:

  • Being Persuaded: when the message is in accordance with what we believe/want, persuasion is very likely.
  • Having a Boomerang Effect: when the message is contrary to what we believe/want, a boomerang effect is likely.
  • Peripheral Cue: when the message is neutral to what we believe/want, we try to associate the received message with something we already think positively about. 
    • If accepted the peripheral cues, there may be a temporary attitude change and possibly future elaboration.
    • If not accepted, the initial attitude is held.

After a few considerations, I realized that I’m more vulnerable to media messages than I thought I was. So why do we think that we are media-proofed while others aren’t? This is explained on the Illusion of Personal Invulnerability study by Levine and Wiley (2004).

“People tend to have a curious illusion of personal invulnerability to manipulation—a belief that we’re not as vulnerable as others around us.”

We might think that because we know how persuasion work, we will prevent any damage from its use. However, just like driving a car, we might understand how things work, but we are still vulnerable to the effects of using it. The illusion that we are not as vulnerable as others might occur because clever and subtle messages make it hard to see that we are being manipulated.

These messages might also not have an immediate effect on us, but the more we see them, the more we get affected by them throughout the times. This is explained by the drip-drip hypothesis which explains that gradual changes occur in the long term in an individual’s attitudes or behavior.

How has the media affected me?

Subtle messages are more persuasive to me. I will be more curious about what people on social media are using if they aren’t trying to sell me on. Here are some examples of how the media has affected daily decisions.

  • Instagram has influenced me to have an “Instagram Worthy” bedroom decor. So if I decide to take a picture, it will look good on it. 
  • I rely greatly on Pinterest to know how to match different pieces of clothing and what I should have on my wardrobe. 
  • I shop for outfits that will look good in pictures.
  • I choose what to wear on a trip according to the places that I will visit, and how good they will look in pictures. 
  • I purchase products that are effective and look good on the shelf–if I decide to share a “shelfie”. 
  • The trip destinations are highly influenced by what I have seen on Instagram.
  • The list of places I want to visit on a trip also considers which pictures I will want to take. 

I have been affected heavily by media messages without noticing it. Can you imagine how much greater it would be if I wasn’t aware of how persuasive messages work?!

“The most effective persuasion often takes place when we don’t recognize we’re being persuaded.”

— The Hidden Persuaders

It’s then crucial to be aware of the media that we consume to not be surprised by undesirable changes. I make choices about the media I consume the same way that I make choices of what I should eat. The saying “we are what we eat” could be replaced by “we are what we consume on the media.”

Are you aware of the media messages that come to you? What has been the media making you become? It’s time to be mindful of the media content we consume, become media literate, and educate others that aren’t equipped with our understanding.


Brehm, S. S. (8). Brehm; JW (1981). Psychological Reactance: A Theory of Freedom and Control.
(Levine, R., & Wiley, J., 2004). The Power of Persuasion: How We’re Bought and Sold. Cultic Studies Review, 3(2).


5 Things I Do to Keep Me From Getting Bored

05 Apr 2020

“I’m bored”, said no Samandra ever.

When BYU canceled classes on campus, one of the first things that came to my mind was, “yay, now I will have more time to work on my side projects!” Because I don’t have to commute anymore from SLC to Provo, that added SO MUCH time to my busy schedule, and finally, now I have some free time to do things that have been for a long time on my To-Do list.

  1. Sleeping well: This is one of the things that we students struggle a lot while taking classes. I have been going to bed around 10:30-11 pm, and waking up around 7:30 am, and that has been amazing!
  2. Having my regular routines: Because I’m not rushing through things anymore, I have time to do my skin routine, make myself a good breakfast/lunch/dinner, and study my scriptures better. Working as a mentor for BYU students and taking online classes keeps me pretty busy as well.
  3. Taking care of my body: Exercising isn’t my favorite and easiest thing to do. So now that I have more time I don’t have more excuses to not do it. I do Yoga through the Daily Yoga app, and I love it! I also have been reading a book about TMJ—I have TMJ problems for a good time. I bought a book to learn how to deal with it, and I have never read it until… this week! I also got the Nia Shanks’ workout program, and I plan to start this sometime soon.
  4. Learning something new: I’m an online class junkie! I love learning from people that I admire, and it’s often an affordable way to learn things than through a credited class. I have been taking some online classes from websites such as SkillShare, Masterclasses, and Coursera (they have a lot of Ivy Schools free classes).
  5. Side hustle: I have been putting more time towards bookbinding, and photography. I want to revamp my website, and this is the time for it!

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” – Dorothy Parker


How I Overcame Social Anxiety

21 Feb 2020

If you have met me, you know already that I love to talk, but believe or not, about 2 years ago I used to have a lot of social anxiety. If you experience this too, let me give you some suggestions that can help you with that. 😊

  1. What you have to say matter: One of the lies that we tell ourselves when facing social anxiety is that no one will care about what we have to say, so we rather be quiet. I have learned that this is a HUGE lie because what we have to say matters! We are all different (thank goodness), and we have so much to add in a conversation. It doesn’t matter how much you have done, how much money you have, or how attractive you think you are. You are YOU, and this is amazing because each of us can uniquely contribute to this world.
  2. Face it until you make it: This is surely one of the best ways to face any challenge that you may ever encounter. By facing your fears you show who is the boss of it all. YOU are the boss and you won’t let your fears prevent you from becoming who you want to be.
  3. Practice it: I know how challenging it can be to start a conversation with someone you aren’t friends yet. I’m terrible at small talks, and I rather have a deep and long conversation, but not all situations allow us to do that. When I moved to SLC, I was in a very social ward where everyone talked with each other, and that was when I learned how to small talk! Lol. Start by asking the person’s name, where they are from, what they do. If you’re meeting that same person again you may ask how their week was, what were the good and bad things that happened in the past days… You can have a good conversation by just asking these simple questions!
  4. Be present: It’s interesting that one of my biggest fears was that if I was getting the person bored, so I was constantly looking for signs if the person wanted to withdraw from our conversation. When I did this, I couldn’t focus on what the person was saying, and I would be brief with what I was sharing. Silly, uh?! So be present!! Give your best in those short minutes you’re talking with someone, and you will see how it turns better than you had imagined.
  5. How to close a conversation: Sometimes I used to not start a conversation because I didn’t know how to close it and it would worry me of how I would do it. Now I have learned that’s really not that bad as I used to think. When you feel that’s time to go, make a pause, and then you can say something like “It was nice talking to you [say the name of the person]!” You can add other things if you would like such as, “I hope to see you again soon”, “I hope you have a good rest of day.”
  6. Try an anxiety medication: I actually started taking anxiety pills because I was having irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but surprisingly it helped so much with social anxiety. I don’t credit it all to the medication though, because although I felt less anxious to talk with people after I started with the medication, I still had to work hard to be where I am today. The medication just gives you the courage to face people, and you still have to do everything else.

I know that it’s easier said than done but trust me, I’m the living proof that these things work! I don’t have social anxiety anymore and now I can easily talk to anyone. It feels great to be who I wanted to, and I hope you can find your way as well to free yourself from social anxiety.

Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash