In the past decade, the amount of internet users has proliferated replacing bygone forms of media and entertainment with a skyrocketing trend among all ages know as social media. At its basis, social media is a website or application that enables users to create and share content or to participate in social networking which is the form of communication through social media. With social media capturing the internet’s attention, as many as 65% of American adults use social networking sites. Erik Qualman states that “we don't have a choice on whether we do social media, the choice is how well we do it” (Qualman). As social media gains popularity amongst adults, the influences of social media branch off into youth creating a rapidly increasing social network audience among all ages quite contrary to the audience observed in the past decade. While social media may appear to be aiding a variety of youthful people to discover their proclaimed identity through technology, social media is gradually eradicating humanity’s social interaction as online communication becomes one’s voice.
The concern arises when examining the repercussions of social media such as cyberbullying and the significant decrease in social interaction amongst younger generations exposed to vast amounts of technology and media. Furthermore, social media may seem to be a harmless tool that can be utilized for socializing with acquaintances through technology, yet many youthful people do not realize that technology-oriented form of interaction is not a natural human aspect. In addition to the deficiency of natural human interaction caused by socialmedia, social media is invading other areas of human life such as school, work, and relationships.
Prior to the invention of social media, household telephones were commonly utilized for communication with friends and family, whereas with social media, the natural interaction of conversing by voice is void. Social media eradicates the presence of conversing by voice, therefore, many people feel more secure when conversing via social media. By means of social media, people have regulated contact with society in order to increase their self-esteem. Albert Einstein, one of the most astute figures in the 20th century, quoted: “I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots” (Einstein). This quote often applies to younger generations made up of millennials and post-millennials. Many people argue that in a certain aspect Einstein made a valid point in his reasoning while others tend to rebut his philosophy.
With the many rapid advances being made in technology and the internet, people express concern for the future of society as a whole. Many people argue that theoretically, social media is having a negative impact on youth (typically teenagers) by decreasing the amount of socialinteraction, whereas others are in disbelief of the “decreasing” amount of social interaction amongst youth. Self-identities play a big role in social interaction, yet a person’s self-identity is partially derived from social media. One’s self-identity is developed by self-awareness and gaining feedback on achievements. With the recent invention of social media, people are tending to base their identities solely off of the latest trends over social media, and the blatant image of the “perfect person” that has undermined every positive self-images of oneself. Whether it is “the perfect body-image” or “the perfect personality” being propelled towards people, many people feel the lack of confidence which degrades their self-image.
Before social media’s existence, many people lacked these degrading feelings of self-image, yet the tide has turned. Society is now incessantly veered to the prominent teaching that self-image is the very basis of humans, and if one has an inferior self-image, that person is inferior to society. Subsequently, there becomes a loss of identity when one becomes wrapped up in “all the hype” on supposedly Facebook or Instagram. Society as a whole is not perceiving the detrimental outcome of the negative brainwashing social media can have on people. Society has simply become immune to popular influences and believes that the way of popular self-image pertains to what each individual’s self-image should be. “Self-identity is no longer self-identity, meaning derived from the self, but rather is an identity projected onto us by popular culture and in no way an accurate reflection of who we really are” (Taylor).
On the upside, as much as social media has reduced self-identities, social media has made a positive impact on society when used in a constructive manner. Social media can positively affect society by providing a canvas for a ravishing masterpiece. Many people find it easier to express their self-identities in an environment desolate of the anxiety a real-life situation possesses. Along with the ease of anxiety, social media has provided society a unique opportunity to create our self-image through the means of a “digital museum.” There are many routes available on social media. One can easily mask their identity through social media due to the fact that social media allows for more control, especially when it comes to customizing the layout of one’s profile. Contrary to hiding one’s identity, a person can reflect on their self-image without having any anxiety from peers.
In conclusion, social media has many drawbacks in terms of the expression of identity when people feel obligated to blend in with popular idols that are adorned across social media, whereas others may simply articulate their identity throughout social media. Individuals can either construct a synthetic identity that deviates from their true one, or construct a bona fide identity projecting their personality and qualities to the outside world. Coming to a conclusion, social media does not affect the identity of the individual, rather how the individual handles socialmedia is what affects their identity.
The effects of social media on language and communication
Social media's had both positive and negative impacts on language and communication. Communication can be described as an act or a process between sender and receiver using words, sounds or symbols. Having the ability to communicate effectively is definitely the most important life skill to learn. Providing us the opportunity to not only understand, but to connect with the people around us. Communication provides links, which bind an association together in order to evolve common understanding Rodgers etal (2002). Social media is our link to sharing breaking news and to communicate with larger audiences from all over the world.
As a result, if you happen to have family or friends who live out of state, you can instant message or "FaceTime" them to keep in touch. In addition, emojis as well as acronyms such as BRB (be right back) have added major elements of nonverbal communication. So, if someone is unable to see you at the present time, you're still able to express yourself by using an emoticon. Not to mention you can post photos and share them on your Facebook instead of having Grandma wait by the mailbox for those lovely class portraits.
Also, a lot of events have taken place in the past few years that we wouldn't have known about if it wasn't for social media. In regards to the recent police brutality incidents, only the officer's side of the story would have reached media not the victims nor bystanders. Then, you have the #FlintWaterCrisis hashtag which reveled to America how contaminated water in the city of Michigan resulted in more than 6,000 children being exposed to high levels of lead and a series of health problems.
Furthermore, it has become the norm for people to communicate through technology most no longer know how to interact when face to face anymore. During a party, few people are actually taking the time to communicate verbally. Most rather text friends in the same room or tweet about how much of a good time they're having. I've watched families while dining out for dinner, take calls and even their toddlers are glued to a smartphone or tablet. Social networking sites and technology as a whole takes away from the time we would spend telling loved ones about our day and that's truly unfortunate.
Few years back, say in the early 2000’s if you would ask the definition of social media to someone, he/she would need to refer to a dictionary. But today, if you ask the same to someone, even a young kid, he’d probably give you a list of social media networks including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and many more. What makes social media so famous? What is the role of social media in our lives today? We’ll be discussing it here!
Changing Role Of Social Media’s In Our Lives:
Around 4-5 years back, social media was an online meeting place where you could find your family, friends and other people no matter how far they live. It was referred to as a place to make friends. But times changed, and now social media is a vital part of our life, from chatting to marketing and money making. Everything is today possible through social media. Below are some of the main usages of social media’s in today’s society:
Promoting your business: With millions of users, don’t you think social media platforms are the best place to promote your brand or business? Even social media sites like Facebook and Twitter has special ad programs which will increase your visibility throughout the site and will charge you a small amount for the promotion.
Politics: Gone are the time when political discussions were not held publicly. People often use social media to raise their concern against certain political issues and to gather against certain political agenda. Even ministers and other government officials choose social media services to have talks with the normal people and address their issues.
Showing off your talent: Social Media is the right place to show off your skills and talents to your friends as well as the open world. Many people use social media to show off their skills like singing, dancing etc. and also many people make money by utilizing freelancing opportunities that they get.
Chatting with your favorite celebrities: Would not you like to hear or get a reply from your favorite film, sports or television star? Wouldn’t you feel great when they reply to your questions and laugh reading your comments? Well, you know I’m talking about Twitter. Yes, almost all celebrities from singers to sports stars have their account in Twitter and always love to hear from their fans. Well, even though you cannot see dozens of celebrity account in Facebook, but still some popular celebrities have their account in Facebook as well as Google Plus too!
Get updated with latest happenings: In this busy world, some people don’t have time to get updated with the latest political as well as social happenings around them. Nowadays these kind of busy people can find every latest updates on almost every sector through social media. Even international new agencies like the BBC has their social media pages where they share the latest happenings in the world in capsule forms, so that busy people can find these bits of information in their social media profiles and still be updated on what’s happening in their society, no matter how busy they are!
Social media has become an important part of our lives today, do share your thoughts on this topic in the comments below.
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