Social media has become one of, if not the biggest growing segment on the internet today. We’ve all heard of Facebook, Linkedin, Google Plus and the like and undoubtedly you have an account on at least one of these services. Their popularity is driven by human nature. We are a social species by design and it is probably one of the main reasons why Homo Sapiens has become the dominant species on the planet. Sites like Facebook give us a means of exploring this propensity for socialising and networking in way which has never been possible before.
As these services have gained popularity, many people have come to question if they are really helping to improve our social interaction or if they are simply destroying our ability to socialise with our fellow human beings. If you take a close look and analyse the quality of interaction going on within these services you’ll notice that there is an element of truth to these claims. Very frequently you’ll find that these services are being used as a means of self promotion – somewhere to show off what you have, what you do or what you look like. Many tend to use the number of “friends” as a status symbol. One would have to question if those “friends” are really friends at all. The darker elements of social media such as cyber bullying and cyber stalking shouldn’t be forgotten either.
These people claim that social media is one of the major causes of the decline of social interaction and society in general – we are losing our humanity for the sake of a few likes! While I can understand their reasoning, I disagree. I make heavy use of social media and have seen both sides of the coin. As in real life you will find those who use the technology as it was intended and those who abuse use it.
In reality these services offer a truly amazing means for us to communicate with the world, to socialise, make new friends and find long lost acquaintances. They are also a way to express an opinion and ensure “Big Brother” is kept in check. Social media has empowered the average man and woman and given them a voice that as little as 15 years ago didn’t exist.
Time and again this has happened throughout history, yet it seems to be human nature for blame to be placed on the technology rather than the people abusing it. Social media is here to stay and we are the better off for it. Society wont collapse, we won’t see the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse riding into town any time soon. Life will go on and social media will become simply another means for us to talk and share.
Be careful out there, till next time.
- How Kids Can Be Safe on Social Media (socialmediaclub.org)
- Social Media Basics – Stay Safe on Social Media Networks (bbc.co.uk)
- Social Media – A Good Thing or a Bad Thing (socialmediatoday.com)