Social Media, an Evolving Medium

by | Jun 27, 2021 | Opinion

We all remember the time before the advent of social media when social communication wasn’t so easily accessible or available with the press of a button.  During my school days, we would only have a few hours a day to talk to each other, share secrets and life. I would look forward to going to school every day to meet my friends again and continue our fun conversations. Birthdays would be a special occasion no matter how I felt. I would not miss going to school on that day to celebrate with my friends.

Today social media and the varied ways we can conduct social conversation have completely changed how our youngsters handle their friendships. They don’t have to wait to meet physically to interact socially.  Facebook, Instagram is now considered old as new social networking apps like Clubhouse and Snapchat have captured the social conscience of our young people.

There has been a lot of widespread discussion about the evils of social media and how the freedom to be in constant communication with each other might have diminished the quality of person-to-person interaction. Social media can be a mask where one can project only elements that they want their friends to see about them.  I still remember how I could tell if my friend was upset just by their eyes or by the tone of their voice. Has this shift towards social media affected the intimate nature of our social communication?

Has this freedom to connect whenever and for however we long diminishing the quality of our social communication? There is also widespread fear about privacy and the mental impact of trolling that have come with the use of social media. So should we assume the fact that social media has had a negative impact on us?

Although it is easy to perceive social media as an evil today that has diluted the quality of our friendships and our conversations, it can also be quite a productive tool if we know how we want to use it.

During the covid situation, social media sites became a platform to gather information to give/receive help and stay updated on how our extended family and friends are doing.

Earlier, a person’s social circle was defined, by the neighborhood we lived in, the school and college attended, and the other places we would regularly visit. Today, social media enables us to build our social circle based on what topics we like and our passions.

Social Media offers one the ability to connect with friends, peers, experts, and casual indulgers over shared interests regardless of geographical location, background, and life experience. We can share our creative work, express opinions, and give constructive feedback to others over democratic social platforms that have the potential of fostering growth and building social consciousness.

I feel social media used responsibly is a natural evolution from person-to-person communication as we knew it earlier. How we perceive the use of social media in our lives is really up to individual opinions and choices. Yet, we can all agree that social media in one form or another has become an integral part of our social lives.