Social media just like any other human invention has got its own advantages and ills. To discredit the positive impact that social media has brought upon individuals and society as a whole would, therefore, be wrong. Whether it has affected us negatively or positively depends on the perspective that is taken into account and opinion would, therefore, vary from individual to individual. It is, therefore, necessary to look at both sides of the divide and weigh the issues at hand before coming to a logical conclusion.
Karen Hua asserts that many friendships are created online especially amongst teenagers. While this might be true, such kinds of friendships tend to be just on the surface unlike deep friendships created when people meet and actually interact. It is possible to miss the qualities and the real nature of a person just by interacting with them online. A person can also portray a different picture from who they really are and while such a friendship may be easy, it is usually not as satisfying as a physical friendship. Other users may have vile intentions. Thus, cases such as stalking and cyber bullying may spring out of such friendships.
Social media may have helped boost our relationships with family but this is usually just when members are apart. Social media has actually created a gap in most families. In a family instance, members can focus on their phones and on conversations they are having online instead of having a meaningful time together. The point by Stephen Marche that social media creates some form of loneliness, therefore, holds water in my opinion. Mara Burke argues that it is not social media that brings about loneliness. This is not entirely true. While some people might be more active online out of loneliness, social media will not in any way remedy the feeling. In fact looking at how people have awesome lives and how well connected they actually tend to increase the feeling of loneliness over time.
Some people obtain satisfaction from peoples reactions to their posts or pictures. This clearly proves that there is some kind of emptiness that needs to be filled. Seeking approval from strangers indicates the low levels of self-worth and esteem that society has sunk to. Comparing oneself to other people can also lead to high levels of depression. People depict perfect lives online which may not necessarily be true behind closed doors.The advent of the internet and social media paved way for the information age. Nowadays, there is a free flow of information and easy access to it. This has been of particular importance especially in education and business. Businesses have been advertised online and even job vacancies been published in many social media avenues. Competitors can, however, use these similar avenues in spreading contrary and false material. Social media is, therefore, full of misinformation and misrepresentations. It is, therefore, left to the person receiving the information to discern whether it is true or not.
On society as a whole, social media has led to a lot of time wastages. At the work place, for example, huge losses are incurred due to a lot of time spent online doing things that are unnecessary. Flipping through social media and liking posts does not exactly add value or edify the person in any sort of way. It is indeed surprising how people can actually have conversations online but cannot hold lasting conversations when together. It tells a lot about the compactness of most relationships and points out the disintegration of society at the core. People have as a result become more self-centered and individualistic. In this sense, therefore, I would agree with Karen Hua only to a limited extent. Social media has indeed brought about many positive effects, some actually never even impossible to fathom but it has equally brought about societal disintegration and egocentrism. As Stephen Marche has clearly illustrated, social media lies at the very core of most psychological issues such as loneliness and depression that are affecting individuals today and for the first time, the levels of loneliness and individualism are spiraling to an all-time high. It is therefore high time that we put our phones down, shut down our computers and gotten back to the real world.
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