To begin, social media does have its perks; it allows small businesses to grow, for old friends to reconnect, and for news stories that would normally not be seen to be shared across multiple platforms (missing persons for example). This is not about the perks and I am not saying that there are not positives to social media, I understand there are, but I question whether they outweigh the negatives. Of course this varies from person to person and it would be impossible to say one way or the other as an overall consensus.
Social media has created a platform where people can voice their opinions, but this has added to a division among people. We all have our own opinions on topics, but when harsh language is used and people demean one another because of their views, there is an issue. People have always been split on issues, especially political, and social media allows everyone to come together and voice their opinions on all sorts of topics. This could be extremely beneficial and allow for change to happen, but for the most part it has been doing the opposite and has helped to create greater division. You read a news article and half the comments beneath it are bashing victims or people are criticizing each other through vulgar language. It is ignorant and simply hard to read. I see a lot more negativity on social media and the news in general than I do positivity. This was the main reason I permanently deactivated my Facebook account. As Facebook created more outlets, more negativity came with it. Not to mention the annoying gossip advertisements that I don’t care to see on my feed. The news and media shows crime and gruesome news stories based on ratings. Sadly that is what the average American would rather see and I can only hope that this will change in the future. I would love to be able to watch the news and instead of one positive story being the end fluff piece, that it be filled with kindness. At the very least the news could have the stories of each spectrum even each other out.
Another issue I have with social media is the fact that it has become an obsession, people will stay on their phones for hours and not enjoy what is around them. People are becoming more worried about how many likes they get over what they are achieving in their real life connections. This is not referring to people who are building brands or businesses and using social media to get their name out there, but for the people taking a selfie and watching for the likes to roll in. I was at lunch with a friend a while back and there were 6 teenage girls at a booth together. Can you guess where this is going? Every single girl was on their phone and the only interaction between them was to show the other something on it. Relationships are changing and people are no longer having the face-to-face communication skills. When getting to know someone or simply talking to friends, texting has taken over calling and I can admit I need to work on this as well. Hearing someone or engaging face-to-face shows the true person, you can hear the sincerity or learn how to tell when or if they are lying to you. Texting makes it easy for someone to say anything and it hard to be questioned. Body language and tone of voice tell a lot about someone. Not to mention that a simple text can be read in several different ways. Someone can respond with “no” and it simply be a no, but the other person may take it as rude or reads it in an angry voice. How to avoid this? Using voice communication.
My last complaint with social media and how it is slowly ruining our younger generations, is that it is educating people based on bias and misinformation. Social media is making people dumb to put it simply. People are gullible and many believe whatever is put on the internet. There are memes being circulated millions of times with false information based on someone’s personal agenda and people believe it and continue to share. It is saddening and I question where our world is headed if social media stays the most important factor in young people’s lives.
At the end of the day, this may just be my personal experience and what I have seen through social media. I know everyone’s experience will be different based on who they are friends with and what they choose to read, but for me, it was not worth it to stay on Facebook, so I said my goodbye. The negativity was affecting my mood and it took up time that I could have been using to do something productive in my day. Balance is everything.