Table of Contents
- The positives
- Reality & social media
- The negatives
Ever wondered how easy it is to meet with people with similar opinions as you? With a simple tap on our smartphone’s screen, we can open any social media app and instantly have ourselves communicate with someone in a way we may have never been able to do before. That’s why it’s evident thфе social media changed the way we communicate drastically. We can instantly meet people with similar opinions and communicate in ways we can to get our messages across. Even those who might have been shy or timid but meet these people they have communicated with online for so long; can definitely change the way they communicate. In this day in age, we are more open to giving out our opinion, and fighting against injustices, with the people who didn’t know had similar views as us.
Over the years social media has gained huge traction in our world. It has connected many of us across the world who have similar ideas, motives, opinions, or interests. Social media changed the way we communicate and became the gateway to a completely new world we thought we would have never reached. With just a swipe on our phone or a click on a link, we can meet so many people across the world. It has caused a change in our communication both positive and negative through the use of social media and in person. Some of us have met people with similar opinions and we became able to speak out about our opinions and the troubles our societies are going through. In a way, we have become more vocal and we stand and fight for issues. On the other hand, there are others who use it for negative purposes such as to communicate hateful ideas, bully others, or at times conflicting opinions aren’t discussed which leads to so much dispute between sides. The way social media has influenced our communication as human beings is both good and bad.
People were able to find out about Net Neutrality through the use of Social Media and after reading what it was about an outcry was made. Net Neutrality basically concerning the act that internet providers should not be allowed to close off certain websites or applications to people. That net neutrality stands for the right of every person to have access to any website they can search for without being blocked out or forced to pay a fee. These people signed petitions and even protested. Websites like Wikipedia shut their site down as a means of protest, which is also a means of communication. The communications within this protest is quite special, it’s communication we rarely ever see and it is becoming very well-known out there. We can shut something down that can greatly communicate with the many others who witness it. When we get on social media and go to an article with an opinion, you can see more people agreeing with such opinion. Others having discussions about it, you might just even become friends with someone who has the same views as you. It is all a form of communicating that many of us may have never experienced. Usually back in the day we tend to keep our opinions to ourselves but nowadays with a simple hashtag we can meet people with the same opinions, and we can voice ours without any fear, “#NetNeutrality continues to bring attention to the fight to keep the Internet free and open, without fast lanes for elite customers who can pay more, resulting in nearly 4 million comments on the open forum established by the FCC to help them decide on proposed Net Neutrality rules.”
Net Neutrality is one of these things that have changed our form of communication, we were able to speak out against such a thing. We the voices were able to combat against the dreaded bill that would make us lose our freedom on the internet and access to many sources. However, everything does not stop there. Many people can communicate with protest through social media but there’s also voicing our experiences, saying things we never got to say before because we were afraid to tell those close to us. With just a hashtag you can join just about any conversation. Conversations that are about rape, domestic abuse, suicide, many various topics. Usually things that a single person can’t just tell anotherThe number of incidents such as rape, domestic abuse against women, sexual harassment, inequality within the working world made the feminist movement more prevalent as more women began to share their stories and experiences. The outlet social media has become for these women who suffered silently over time just shows much of an effect it has had on our communication with one another and getting our feelings and opinions across, by attracting the attention of many people with just a hashtag and their personal stories. Women who once couldn’t say a single word about what they gone through were now given the empowerment to do so and the courage to stand up for the other women who suffered such similar acts, “Thousands of women used the hashtag to share their stories of how everyday sexism and violence against women had affected them. In the wake of the Ray Rice domestic violence scandal, when some pundits asked why Janay Rice had stayed with her husband, thousands of women took to Twitter sharing their own personal stories of domestic violence with the hashtag #WhyIStayed.”
Reality & social media
That’s few of the beauties of how social media has affected our communication with one another as humans. People may say that it doesn’t and will not help us better communicate to another person but when it actuality it is helping us.People tend to believe that the internet is a separate reality from our own reality in which we are experiencing now. That whatever happens on the internet doesn’t affect your personal or business life at all. It greatly does matter of fact because it shows how connected the internet and our reality are, “Simultaneously, the properties of the digital also implode into the offline, be it through the ubiquity of web-connected electronic gadgets in our world and on our bodies or through the way digitality interpenetrates the way we understand and make meaning of the world around us.” It states how all this information within the palm of our hands, our smartphones to be exact, can impact the world we live in and experience. It can affect our personal lives, the way we think or interpret things. The digital world does surely hold an effect on us. Jurgenson goes on to talk about how this augmented reality, a term he created defining both our physical reality being one with the virtual one, how it connects us all rather than destroying us or the society we are in. It only furthers our understanding of the things that go on each day and be more connected with one another in the world.
The things that happen in this virtual world also take effect on our reality. And vice-versa. None of these can replace the other or be its own thing, the both work hand in hand. It is how social media is affecting our communication. The things that effect reality make it to the virtual world and cause people to talk and follow. And the actions within the virtual world take forth and affect the reality we’re in. With a simple status update, tweet, or broadcast we have many ways on how our communication is being changed. We don’t need to just talk to someone in person or over the phone. We can talk to many people at once through periscope or a live stream, even have our voices be heard with a single tweet.
However, with the positives comes its negatives. The way social media has changed our communication has also changed it in negative ways in which we can see on a day to day basis, or even experience. With a simple look at the television news or a scroll through articles you can see some of the negatives of how social media has changed our communication. There are number of them such a bullying, differing opinions, war, etc. One of the most known we see and are even told is how it can make us more depressed and gives us anxiety. Since we are pretty much communicating with people through social media instead of meeting this person face to face for a discussion. Research was also done to prove that excessive social media uses can cause these problems in us, “researchers discovered that, in a sample group of teenage girls, excessive Facebook usage caused the sample group to be at a higher risk for depression and anxiety. A year later, the researchers re-valuated the group for any signs of depression or anxiety. The study findings proved that users who frequently discussed their problems with friends, through social media, experienced higher levels of anxiety than those who did not.”
Whenever I hear this it usually comes from my parents or even grandparents who catch me using my phone. That the longer I use it the more depressed I will become and the harder it will be to communicate with those around me. While I have not seen it happen to me yet since I haven’t felt depressed or suffer anxiety from excessive social media use, I have definitely seen it in others. Not to mention that social media also tends to make us more prone to being lonely as we have people we can contact instantly through messenger, “In the face of this social disintegration, we have essentially hired an army of replacement confidants, an entire class of professional carers.” That’s something that can be guessed from social media use, online we can pretend to have people who care for us and friends but lack it in reality. Of course it will make us feel good but when they put the phone they can see the lack of carers they actually have away from social media. People I know tend to distant themselves from others and just share and like on Facebook, Instagram, or twitter constantly, and something that could be contributing to all this is spoken about in the next article. Everything we post, like, comment, or share holds an affect in what we see on social media that can surely affect us in the real world. There is something called algorithms, which is a mechanism that advertises certain ads or posts to the user of a social media account based on their likes, shares, and things they have comment on. This can lead to them viewing certain posts that will interest them and hide whatever will not interest them. See the problem in there? If you haven’t this quote will explain it, “ Each time I liked an article, or clicked on a link, or hid another, the algorithms that curate my streams took notice and showed me only what they thought I wanted to see. That meant I didn’t realize that most of my family members, who live in rural Virginia, were voicing their support for Trump online, and I didn’t see any of the pro-Trump memes that were in heavy circulation before the election.” While Wortham goes on to say how the article isn’t about just algorithms, the algorithms are certainly a problem underlying most of these things. The dangers of algorithms are what is causing our biggest negatives in communication. In social media, we are only seeing what we want to see, and not seeing the differing opinions of others or other ideas out there we might not have heard of at all. When it comes to us feeling lonely or getting anxiety it can be given through these algorithms just by simple ads asking you to join groups, advertise dating apps, or other messengers.
In Manjoo’s article (2015) titled ‘In the Fight for Transgender Equality, Winning Hearts and Minds Online’ they speak about transgender people were able to find groups of other transgender or people with the same views on issues as them. Here they leg in and converse with people on the daily. Pretty much in a way a safe space for them to be themselves and discuss topics concerning them. However, this can be a huge danger for them in regard to the mechanisms of algorithms. They tend to seek those with views similar to theirs and seek people with the same views as well. What’s going to happen when they meet someone with an opposing opinion? We would think they would have a civil discussion about it but that’s not the case. You can take a good look right now at these people yelling at each other from both sides, interrupting each other, not listening to the other side, not sitting down to discuss. When we’re not open to the opposing opinions it destroys our communication with one another. We won’t be able to argue with these opposing opinions and offering solutions and try to reach a good understanding that may teach those who may disagree. Nowadays we lack that ability, and it’s easy it due to social media and its algorithms.
Another negative is the issues of war across the world. Nowadays whenever something occurs in another country social media notifies us about either through hashtags or trending topics. We tend to look at social media in a small scope and tend to forget social media exists around the world and can connect us with many people. However, when it comes to the bigger picture of social media you can bit by bit see how it ruins our communication even for people on the other side of the world, “Within a circle of friends or like-minded acquaintances, social media certainly fosters connection. But the further one zooms out — to whole societies or the course of global affairs — the more this connection is marred by tribalism and mutual mistrust.” Some of these countries have their social media monitored by their government where they cannot voice their opinion. There are even issues where another country cannot trust others from another due to rising tension or political issues, so in social media these countries could be showing nationalism for their country and showing hatred to those opposing their views. There’s also lack of trust with social media nowadays just because of terrorist groups using social media for their own means. Their means range from a number of things which has definitely made people more spectacle of one another, “Terrorism has been using social media for their benefit for gathering information, for recruiting members, for fund raising, and for propaganda schemes.” Back then we used to be told not to trust strangers online, but over time that meaning kind of decreased as more and more people began to make friends online. Some even finding their boyfriend or girlfriend online. They even go as far to meet in person. Although, with the rise of Terrorism and terrorist group taking to social media to recruit people and promote their beliefs have made people way more cautious. Our big source of communication which is social media has been taken over be a very real and huge threat, just associating ourselves with believers or followers of these terrorists could put a big red target on us in the government’s eyes.
It should be noticeable now how social media has affected our communication with one another. Whether it is the positives where we can all voice our struggles, be more open, and find people with similar interests and views as us. Or the negatives where social media is slowly making it difficult for us to even argue, blinds us to things we don’t want to see due to algorithms or losing faith in meeting people due to terrorists using social media or the government doing heavy moderation on it. It is up to see if social media has either positively changed our communication or negatively. I for one believe social media has affected our communication negatively just because of algorithms and how it has made us unable to civilly argue with each other and hear each other’s viewpoints.