Monday, September 7, 2015

Pros & Cons of Social Media

Ever since the introduction of social media, the way we communicate and interact with each other has changed. Society as a whole has experienced a change in ways of communication and interaction thanks to networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. The way we get our information, the way we talk to each other, and how we navigate our everyday lives has changed due to the influence of online networking. With change comes the positives and the negatives of the new way of daily interaction.

Social media has opened up a new world of obtaining news and other information. Before the new age of technology, people had to wait until the evening news or the morning paper to know about major events. Now, people can know what is happening instantly. With more and more news and information outlets utilizing sites like Facebook and Twitter, it is quite common to follow events as they unfold. Social network sites have also started keeping track of what is happening around the world in real time. Known as "trending", the sites take into account how many people are talking about a certain topic or news story and allows you to see it for yourself and even join in on the conversation. All of that shared information on multiple platforms also sparks conversations, opinions, and reactions to the content. Social media allows people to view a varied amount of content and then comment on it. People can now share their opinion or reaction and be views by many people, possibly sparking discussions with people that you may or may not even know. Another plus to our new online lives is being able to connect to anyone, anywhere, at anytime. Online networking has allowed us to stay up-to-date with friends, family, even celebrities. We can now share our experiences, photos, and videos in real time, allowing people to stay connected no matter where they are.

With any new advancement comes the negative side-affects. The instantaneity of information can sometimes be inaccurate, exposing millions of people to information that is not true. Every news outlet wants to be first with the information, but sometimes disregards the fact that what they are putting out there for the world to see is false. In other cases, information outlets may decide to use someone's first-hand account of an event, which could be factual, or just completely made up. In some instances, real life situations continue into the online world. Cyberbullying has become an issue mainly with school-aged kids but has occurred with adults as well. The ease of having multiple platforms to communicate with people online has allowed for such a thing to exist. Finally, one impact online networking has made on the real world is the less frequent one-on-one conversation. Many people nowadays are on their phones at social gatherings, or while at home with the family, often connecting with others over social media. Also, the younger generation can sometimes seem to lack people skills because they are used to interacting with people online rather than in person. It must be easier to type something on a keyboard and tweet it than having a face-to-face conversation.

The impact that social media has had on society is a great thing. In some ways it has brought us closer together. Online networking has allowed people to view different things they might not usually get to see, connect with people that might have otherwise been forgotten. People have a new understanding of how our society works and can let us know how they feel about it in the comment box. Unfortunately for some, social media is the only way of life that they know, which can backfire when trying to engage with others in the real world. We can only hope that the online world and real world can co-exist in peace.

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