How Social Media Affects Our Society

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Social media, arguably the most important and influential aspect of our society.  It seems like everyone now a days is constantly streaming, sharing, and staring at their devices.  Where are you?  What are you doing?  Who are you with?  All crucial details that must be documented for the entire Internet to see.  After all, “pics or it did not happen”, right?!

While social media has completely taken over our Internet, it has also evolved and changed with the needs and wants of society.  24 hour stories have been added to multiple social media networks, live streaming, live tracking (featured on the new map feature on SnapChat), all so our society can be connected to the world and with each other.

“The main purpose of social media is to be able to stay connected to friends and families in today’s fast paced and ever changing worlds. You are able to rekindle old friendships, share family photos, and special events in your life with just about everyone you know, at the same time” (FutureOfWorking, 2015).

Social media has made it easier than ever to stay connected to friends and family, even when you do not see them that often.  When someone posts a photo, you automatically “like” it without giving any thought.  It is as if the connection was never lost, even if you may not have seen one another face to face in years.  It also allows connections to be made with individuals with a common interest, purpose, and bond that may not have ever been formed otherwise.  For example, someone in Michigan who loves yoga may connect with another fellow yogi in California that they never would have met in real life.  It allows for “friendships” to form, even among strangers.

“When you opt to participate in a social network community, you can pick and choose individuals whose likes and dislikes are similar to yours and build your network around those commonalities. For instance, if you are a chess aficionado, a book lover or have a particular political leaning, you can find and interact with those who share your interest.  It can also be a great way to share tips and ideas. Sites like Pinterest have been very successful due to the ease in which a person can learn – and share – information about hobbies, crafts, cooking, gardening and other do-it-yourself activities. By pinning and sharing, you can attract like-minded individuals into your circle” (Claywell, 2017).

However while social media is great when it comes to forming a common bond and constantly staying connected, it is affecting conversation and social skills among our society.  Rarely do people communicate verbally anymore in a public setting like a bus or train, everyone is listening to music or podcasts, watching videos, chatting, texting, or scrolling through social media.  It is almost a way to avoid awkward or uncomfortable interaction, especially with individuals you may not know who happen to sit or stand next to you.

“Since people are now connected all the time and you can pull up a friend’s social profile with a click of your mouse or a tap of your smartphone, it’s a lot easier to use online interaction as a substitute for face-to-face interaction. Some people argue that social media actually promotes antisocial human behavior” (Moreau, 2017).

Even though it is convenient and useful to stay connected, it is important to recognize the reality of our society.  We are consumed with knowing everyone’s information and being in everyone’s business, and content with everyone knowing everything about us.  Sometimes taking a step back and staying off of social media is a blessing in order to refresh your own soul without the constant bombardment of everyone else, so don’t ever be afraid to take a break!  Enjoy a meal without snapping a picture, spend some quality time with friends, family and loved ones, and look up every once in a while!

-Tessa Hergenrader

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