Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter have single-handedly transformed humanity and changed the way we view ourselves and others. Any direction you turn most people will be on their devices or hold onto one as if it was a newborn baby. Social media does have its advantages and disadvantages. Staying in touch with family and friends, networking and meeting new people with shared interests and spreading information quickly and easily throughout the world are just a few of its advantages.
Some disadvantages are information is spreading to hundreds of people which can sometimes be untrue and cause panic, cyberbullying, and addiction to their virtual identities. While I use all social media platforms mentioned, I think the impact it has on society is something that should be taught more in education. I see a great number of faces planted into devices and not so much of successful face to face communication. As the authors of our textbook state, “most of us consume a fair amount of media in our daily routines, and we can assume that by an early age we have become adept at internalizing knowledge gleaned from media” . With the impact that social media has on society, the younger generation is a “mirror of the present and future society and are really important”.
While this younger generation is growing with social media, there is an impact within. For example, I believe the impact social media has on current politics is a great one. Political parties use social media as a valued advantage to increase votes. Without this impact of social media, some parties would not win elections or would have to go old fashion and visit tons of towns and cities to persuade citizens to vote and we all know that is a lot of money involved while traveling. Another example of social media impacting society is the business aspect. Businesses now have tons of different profiles promoting their brand and products. Very smart tactic indeed.
While these two examples are good reasons of social media impacting society, the impact of social media on individuals is not. There is an increase of introverts which lead them to speak and/or communicate less outside the virtual world. People are resenting old-fashioned human contact causing a severe ramification due to social media. These ramifications lead to “many different types of changes: linguistic, social economic, financial, but we must talk about the changes in behaviorism, the changes in cultural styles, in the way of advertising, the way of self-promotion, the way of showing identities” Such behavior changes remind me of the social learning theory that our authors discuss in our textbook. The “social learning theory suggests that individuals learn by modeling the witnessed behaviors of others”. Social media tends to indirectly encourage the younger generation to imitate bad behaviors. “For example, if a character in a popular television show consistently uses violence to solve his interpersonal problems and is rewarded for this behavior…might tend to believe that violence is an acceptable and useful method for solving the interpersonal conflict”. Due to this, it becomes so unhealthy to be addicted to social media.
Social media is not just about the media. It involves everyone who has access to the internet. “It is more interactive than the traditional mass-media, it is more complex, and it embraces the whole world” . The world of social media is only a mere simulation. It is a “virtual environment that is meant to replicate an actual environment or situation”. Social media tends to imitate the real world and people start to “identify” with “two types or two kinds of lives: a real one and a virtual one”. Within both worlds, people create identities. Nowadays, they become addicted and obsessed with their media identities that it becomes unhealthy importance for them to get likes and feedback. This unhealthiness starts to affect their psychological state of mind which deteriorates their confidence.
They have to “work” hard in creating these identities by following some “socially accepted” trends depending on the group they are part of”. This generation is following so many rules within the social media world, they forget how to be socially acceptable in the real world. They are born into a technological world, which we cannot blame them for. They are simply playing their part as digital natives. They are “born into a technological age who are experts at using and adapting to technology for a variety of end goals, including a preference for communicating through technological devices”. To decrease these issues, we can follow such examples as China. “China’s tactics include strict monitoring systems and firewalls, shutting down websites, and imprisonment of non-conformist bloggers and journalists”. Such a tactic would help the impact of social media on society.
To take in such tactics would benefit our society within social media. Society should not be encouraged to sell themselves short for a like on Instagram or a few thousand retweets on Twitter to become “someone”. If this was taught more in the educational system, I think the current generation or next can learn to identify who they are in the real world.
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