Term Paper: How Social Media Has Changed the Way We Communicate

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¶ … Social Media has Changed the Way We Communicate

Social media has changed the way I communicate, and I am not the only person who has found that social media has affected their lives when it comes to how they communicate with and relate to others. It has not been long that social media has been popular. Very young people have basically grown up with social media as a part of their lives, but even 20 years ago communication was very different. People used the telephone, of course, but they also wrote letters because there was no social media or email to use to talk to each other. They met face-to-face, and did not stay home in front of small screens, typing away on keyboards and calling it interaction. They also did not "tweet," and they did not have 500+ "friends," most of whom they had never met. It is not that there is anything inherently wrong with the way things are handled now, but things are certainly different in the way that people communicate with other people on a daily basis.

Because everything is so different, some are worried that people - especially the younger generations - are losing the ability to communicate properly with people in person and in setting that are more formal. Social media did not just appear all of a sudden, though. It started slowly and built up to where it is today. For most people, MySpace was one of the first social networks they used. There were a few social media opportunities before MySpace came on the scene, but they were not very memorable and they did not last long. They did not have the level of interest that social media sites have today. Whether they were just too far ahead of things and failed because of that, or whether they were not good enough to generate enough interest can be debated. Some people thought they were great, though, and they used them all the time. It was not long before Facebook came on the scene, and a lot of people left MySpace. Then Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ appeared. Some people use only one or two, and others use them all, depending on how they want to interact with people or whether they are using them for work or mostly just for fun.

Social media has had a huge influence on people's daily lives. Personally, I use social media all the time. The kinds of mundane things I would have talked about in person or over the phone now just show up on Facebook or Twitter. That way everyone I am connected to can see what I have to say, and I do not find myself repeating the same conversations with several different people. That makes things very convenient. Social media is also good for announcements like births, deaths, and other life-altering issues, because it gets the word out. Even companies are using it. They make product and service announcements, and government agencies are using it if there is a natural or man-made disaster and they need to notify large numbers of people about important and serious issues. Most people do not take social media so seriously, though. They use it because it is available and convenient for them, and because it is free.

While it is free financially, is there another cost to social media? In other words, are there problems and risks that come along with using it? Most of its users would probably say no, but there are some people (both former and current social media users, as well as those who have not used it and those who study it) that say it could be harmful. It has definitely influenced and changed the way people communicate, and it has given bullies a new and powerful platform for their unsavory ways. For example, there have been news reports of young people going so far as to take their own lives because of the way they were harassed over social media. It would seem to make sense for those people to simply close out their accounts or block the bullies from contacting them, but real life does not usually work that way. People care about what other people think of them, even if they say it does not matter. Especially for very young people, the idea of being harassed and humiliated can seem completely overwhelming and like too much of a burden to bear.

Little can be done to stop these bullies, and the culture of it has become so pervasive that those who are working to stop it cannot be everywhere. When people are very young, they tend to see social media as being more significant to their lives than it really is. They do not think ahead to a time when what was said about them in middle school or high school will not really matter anymore. Because they cannot or will not look ahead that far, they end up harming themselves in some cases. That is certainly not the norm, but the fact that it is happened at all indicates the power that social media can have over some people. There will always be people who misuse something that is provided to them and others as a means of fun and enjoyable communication. However, that does not mean that people should stop using social media because of the choices of a few people who are going to either abuse it or take it for more than it is or should be.

There are also many ways that social media has helped, and one of those ways is in the business world. Now, it is easy for someone to converse with and update people around the country and around the world, with the touch of a button. How many commercials do you see on TV now, where the person says "like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the latest updates" or something similar? News programs do it, local businesses do it, and organizations that are promoting various agendas do it. It is literally all over the place, and people who do not have social media can miss out on some great deals and great information because they did not follow the crowd. Businesses can also use social media to work with their clients and customers throughout the world and help train their employees in the right ways to do the same. The globalization of the world is being moved along faster than expected because of the interactions that are taking place on social media. But is "interaction" really the right word? Is social media, for all its benefits, actually hurting the socialization of younger people and making them less social?

Many people think that this is indeed the case. The reason they feel this way is that social media keeps people at home on their computers instead of out in the world meeting others. They may be "social" online, but too much time spent interacting in that manner means that they are not out being "social" with others. When they do meet up in the "real world," they can have trouble with that interaction because it is not taking place over a computer screen. It is possible that social media is helping to raise a generation that will have poor social skills unless they are able to interact strictly online. That will harm the job and education prospects for many of them, with the exception of those who obtain their degrees and also work over the internet. While there are many internet-based jobs, there are also a large number of others jobs that require people to interact with others face-to-face. Harming the social skills of an entire generation is going to put them at a disadvantage when they attempt to get jobs that do not place them behind a computer screen.

Worries about social media and how it might be raising a generation of unsociable people are coupled with the value that is seen in all that social media offers. Where else can a person get information so quickly? Often, important news - especially in the entertainment industry - is posted on Twitter or Facebook, and people see it there before anywhere else. Then they go to other websites to get more information. If it were not for social media, something that users might find very important could have been delayed by minutes or even hours. Granted, most of the information located on social media is not life or death. Still, it is important to the people who post it and who read it, or it would not be making an appearance. People who continually post things that are not deemed important are generally ignored. Eventually, many of them stop posting or they change what they are posting in order to get followers. Social conformity it important to these people.

Social media is just the beginning of the way people are going to communicate in the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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How Social Media Has Changed the Way We Communicate.  (2012, July 24).  Retrieved December 11, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/social-media-changed-way-communicate/845973

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