Social media’s impact on communication
How digital technology and social networks affect our social and interpersonal skills
Social media can be defined as any phone or application that is based on the internet and can be used as a means of communication between two or more people, with the most popular applications being Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Over the last decade, advancement in technology has seen communication advancing and social media has become the accepted means of communication among peers. Technology has been so influential that most young people celebrate it as a way of bringing people closer to each other. However, when one truly looks into the effects of social media, then this assumption that most people make becomes a wrong assumption.
Social media is designed to discourage real conversation, with some having a limit to how many words one can use to respond to another person. This does little to develop a real relationshipbetween people since it is impossible for an individual to express his true feelings with less than 140 characters. This does little to encourage individuals to express themselves fully. Social media does connect more people but these people are connected by a superficial relationship (Meyrowitz, 1986). The information that can be shared on a personal level is far more than what people post online simply because there is no privacy on social media. For individuals to form interpersonal relationships, direct communication between the parties is necessary without any of these individuals becoming easily distracted. Users of social media have the tendency to become easily distracted find it difficult to stay connected to someone on a personal level. Social media, therefore, acts as a deterrent to the formation of interpersonal relationships.
Is social media making us less social?
The main problem with social media is that these forms of communication have completely distracted people from reality. In these modern times, whenever more than five young people are gathered, they rarely try to talk to each other but have the tendency to be on their phones. This does little to help them develop socially. More often people prefer to share their ‘happiness’ through taking pictures of activities that they are engaging in but the sad fact is that these pictures are the only memories that they have (Duggan & Brenner, 2013). This is a sad fact since these people are more enthusiastic to share these pictures with online strangers, who they have no relationship with in order to become recognized in the social class. How ironical that they are inclined to receive recognition and authentication from strangers. Most of the time these ‘friends’ do not have any actual memory of any conversation that was made during these fun times.
Social media has become very successful in connecting strangers physically, but when it comes to connecting them emotionally, social media has succeeded in creating a virtual and emotionless world. This virtual world has replaced the real world and people no longer see the need to go out and socialize. Statistics show that more than 250 million photos are uploaded on Facebook daily. The information available online also portrays people to be happy and content with life, yet this is seldom the case. People use these photos as ways of knowing whether or not their friends are alright. This has made it seem unnecessary for people to meet and discuss issues that affect them. Social media thus makes people less inclined to become social.
How social networks will continue to shape our society
Social media has shaped and will continue to dictate not only how we communicate but also how we carry out our daily business transactions. Social media is changing business policies, governing policies and relationships between people. The ease of access of information has made social media the best platform to put forward and discuss ideas. Anybody with an agenda will use social media to generate enough attention to get their information across to the people. Social media websites have been used all across the world by politicians, with those who wield the most influence online being more recognized than those who refrain from social media. Most presidents, including the president of the United States use social media platforms to communicate with the people.
On the business sector, all major companies use social media to communicate with their customers and to advertise their products. By studying online trends, businesses are able to study the current preferences of the market and this enables them to formulate strategies to push their businesses to succeed (Qualman, 2010). These companies are able to organize contests where they reward their customers and this generates more feedback than traditional forms of promotion such as televisions. In addition to being easy to carry out, online polls are cheap and easy to carry out. The effects of social media on socialization also means that more and more people are going to get alienated from their closest friends and developing real relationships. The influence of social media is only going to increase over time since more and more people are beginning to see social media is the modern forms of communication and the only thing that can be done is to accept it.
Meyrowitz, J. (1986). No sense of place: The impact of electronic media on social behavior. Oxford University Press.
Qualman, E. (2010). Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business. John Wiley & Sons.
Duggan, M., & Brenner, J. (2013). The demographics of social media users, 2012 (Vol. 14). Washington, DC: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.