woman laying in bed on phone seeing the relationship of drinking and social media

Drinking and Social Media

The current events in the U.S. and around the world are a clear indication of social media’s impact on society and culture. More specifically, it is easy to observe how drinking and social media are invariably linked. Each day, the newsfeeds of social media platforms are flooded with all types of references to alcohol even though many individuals are reaching out to alcohol rehab centers.

Popular social media platforms where alcohol and drinking can be viewed include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Pinterest
  • WhatsApp

The question that experts ask is how social media is influencing people to drink. Who is affected, and what messages are social media posts sending about alcohol? Let’s take a closer look below at drinking and social media and how the next post you see could cause you to go over the line.

Drinking and Social Media: A Growing Connection

There are several ways that social media platforms influence people to drink.

Peer Pressure

The first and most obvious way that a person may be influenced to drink is by seeing others drinking while engaging in other activities. Friends often post photos of their favorite beverage or events they are attending where alcohol is served. When a person sees another person having a good time with alcohol, their desire to drink becomes stronger.

Peer pressure on social media can be both direct and indirect. Indirect peer pressure is merely someone seeing someone drinking on their newsfeed and having an urge to do the same thing. Direct peer pressure may include direct messages or tagging another person showing them what they are missing out on.


One of how social platforms rake in millions of dollars is through ads. Early on, cigarette and alcohol companies were not allowed to advertise due to possible exposure to minors. Those days are long gone. Drinking and social media are so intertwined that companies can now advertise freely.

And they do. Alcohol, pharmaceutical companies, and cigarette companies spend millions of dollars annually to get prime spots on social media platforms. It is not uncommon to see advertisements for all sorts of substances as you are scrolling through your newsfeed.

Business or Personal Pages

If a person cannot find drugs or alcohol directly on their newsfeed, it should not come as a surprise when they can go looking for it on a person’s or company’s social media page. A dedicated page allows businesses to promote their services and products as much as they want.

Oftentimes what appears on a company’s page also appears on the newsfeed. Therefore, the post gets more exposure across a massive market where people are connected to social media 24/7.

Target Marketing to Certain Demographics

Both social media platforms and advertisers have become masters in direct advertising. Using algorithms and behavior monitoring, a social media platform can put advertisers or companies in direct view of a specific demographic so that they do not miss certain posts.

The more targeted the ads, the more a company generates revenue. So, a person of a certain age, gender, race, or economic status is likely to see advertisements that feature alcohol or other substances. Companies also use various forms of digital tracking to identify people who drink and people who do not drink to determine where to send their ads. It is yet another way that drinking and social media are linked.

Find Help for Alcohol Abuse Today

Regardless of the link between drinking and social media, it is possible to get help for alcohol abuse. When social media use triggers temptations to use alcohol, contact Washburn House for help. Our programs that can help include:

Call 855.298.3104 to get more information about how you can start your treatment.

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