A popular social media site recently celebrated its tenth birthday. No one guessed that Facebook would have such an impact on the lives of billions of people, but it and other social media networks have both affected how we communicate and forever changed how we do so.
A Smaller World
Although the planet is the same size it’s always been, the speed at which information travels has increased exponentially. Now, we can instantly know what’s happening in the world and access thousands of stores, products and other sources of information online.
The same is true for our access of people. Social media has broadened our social horizons. Where we may have been limited to interactions with only those we knew in person before, we can now tap into a much wider array of people, and share ideas, opinions and our lives with a wider audience than ever before. It is this access to such a high number of people that has served to perpetuate the perception of a smaller world.
Bye Bye, Social Skills?
Many argue that social media has altered our communication skills. And this would be accurate, as many of the conversations taking place on social media today are often multidimensional in nature; much different than its traditional verbal counterpart. Social media has resulted in all who use it to be a part of the conversation, which means multiple active participants.
Others say that social media has damaged our ability to interact in a normal manner. However, others are of the opinion that we simply must learn the rules as far as social media is concerned. Of course, communicating online via social media will not be like communicating with someone in person. That being said, one must expect to not only communicate with a huge online community, but to be communicated with in return by that community. This is where communication via social media is said to be a double-edged sword. Because if one is planning to share an opinion with the world, then they must also be prepared to hear differing comments on that point of view from the community.
The Generational View
What may be further complicating the understanding of social media’s impact is the fact that more than one generation is using it. In fact, there are a few generations who use social media, each with their own viewpoint of computers and the internet in general. As well, different generations will place a different value on each form of social media that’s out there.
For example, one type of social media, Snapchat, may be more feasible for older users who are worried about their security over social media, despite the fact that the average Snapchat user’s age is 18. Unlike Facebook, which can contain any number of ‘friends’ outside your real-life network, Snapchat identifies the ‘friend’ as anyone who may already exist on your personal phone list. In other words, those people whom you already know and interact with personally.
Ironically, Snapchat may provide many benefits for the young generation of social media users, as it has been identified that this generation has many concerns about their privacy while online.
There is no doubt that the use of social media has had a profound effect on the way we communicate. But this change is not necessarily a negative one. Some say that the value of each social media platform is largely dependent on perception. Perhaps one type of social media network can be more feasible for an individual to use than another, even if that network seems to contain people of a different generation.
Guest author Renee Morgan writes on a variety of topics related to technology. She recommends Highspeed Internet Providers as a resource for consumers to assess their broadband options.