Opinion: Get connected

by Cougar News Contributor 714 views0

By Valerie Traba

Social media is a phenomenon that continues to transform the way the world functions. The methods that people now use to interact with others have shaped society in a myriad of ways. Negotiating business, interacting with friends and family, advertising, learning, and gossiping are just a few of these processes.

Because people now form, maintain, and sever ties with one another on the web, the ways the world operates—in comparison to how it did when face-to-face communication was still the norm—has changed. However, this change is an improvement overall. Because of the benefits that have emerged as a result of social media—broad audiences can be reached quickly more efficiently, life moments and memories can be uploaded and shared securely, communicating with people is more affordable, instant access to information can make people more knowledgeable—it fundamentally is a good service to society.

Social media gives people the convenience to reach a broad audience in a fast and more efficient way. Because messages are posted instantly and are readily available to everyone online, the one who posts the content does not have to contribute as much effort as one would in a face-to-face exchange.

This facilitates voluntary responses from a wider range of people who could give better, more useful information than those from a small group. The guesswork of having to research solutions independently is taken out of the equation when others are given the opportunity to offer assistance.

People are able to store memories and share life moments securely with others through the use of social media. With the click of a button, a proud parent can upload the footage of their child’s first steps onto his/her online profile and share it with the people in that given network. A benefit to saving content on the web is the peace of mind that comes with knowing that if the primary source is lost; the same version is still available online. The process of sharing experiences online, according to Laura Fitton, allows one to self reflect on their own lives.
“Perhaps the person you see most clearly is yourself”, Thompson said.  This self-examination is an example of how social media can be meaningful; good for society.
 Social media has made communication much more affordable. People can enjoy the amenities of communicating with their friends and loved ones without paying the steep prices of international data and calling plans. Social media allows people to communicate through online calling, video chatting, and instant messaging in a way that, according to Clive Thompson, is “felt even more intimate than a phone call”.
Because the social networking sites have features that enable private conversation, messaging, individuals are attracted to the idea of being in a place where they can communicate privately with another person.
Social media encourages people to become informed of the happenings in the world and helps them form opinions on them. This is precisely why sites like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook have live news feeds that are constantly supplying the latest information for users to digest, and features that allow people to like, dislike, and respond to the content.
According to Steven Johnson, author of the article, “How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live”, “The most fascinating thing about Twitter is not what it is doing to us, but  as Johnson explains what we’re doing to it. Johnson is illustrating how it is the users’ reactions that not only keep social media alive, but cause it to evolve.
There is no doubt that social media has succeeded in certain areas such as connecting people from all over the world and simplifying the ways in which society operates. However, it is not a perfect system, and many people suffer the consequences of misusing social media, both intentionally and unintentionally. Even though the intention of social media is to make networking run more efficiently, sometimes quantity compromises quality. It is this reason why people, especially college students, should use social media wisely and in moderation.
As exciting–and in many ways welcoming—as social media is, college students must strive to practice serious reflection without making a blog post, facebook status, or tweet that shows the world how they feel; because, although these means of sharing allow one to “see” themselves, it detracts them from experiencing the authenticity of being alone. Social media is a remarkable aspect of society, and when it is used properly and respectfully, it has the power to make amazing things happen.

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