The Impact Of Media On Social Media

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Many years ago I broke my foot. When the hospital sent me home, they provided me with a crutch that I had to use in order to get around. It was the most frustrating experience trying to hobble around everywhere navigating with this tool that was supposed to be helpful but really seemed more like a huge hindrance.

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In many ways, modern technology is like that crutch, provided to us and meant as a helpful tool, but with some negative consequences. As this new extension of ourselves, smartphones and computers have become a social crutch, this thing we can not seem to go anywhere without, but hindering us as we struggle to interact and relate to each other. Many people see social media as helping them be more social but instead, it seems to actually be preventing us from making meaningful connections. There are numerous ways in which people disconnect due to social media and technology use, and it has a dramatic effect on our ability to be social. In this modern world of constant digital connection, we are more disconnected than ever. The proliferation of social media has diminished people’s social skills, impacted the ability to feel empathy, and is causing mental health issues.

Social media can impact our social skills in several ways. One problem is that social media encourages people to form and cherish artificial bonds in place of actual friendships. Sociologist Maryanne Gaitho indicates in her article What Is the Real Impact of Social Media? that the term ‘friend’ as used on social media lacks the intimacy identified with conventional friendships, where people actually know each other, want to talk and have an intimate bond by interacting face to face. In other words, when people do spend time together, they are just staring at their smartphones and missing out on true social moments. This is preventing real connections with one another. People have become less interested in meeting others in person and more fixated on their phones and affects our ability to have a deep and meaningful conversation. As such, we can see how social media is significantly impacting our communication skills. The extensive use of social media platforms can also cause the loss of language. As discussed by Allison Graham in her TEDxTalk, How Social Media Makes Us Unsocial, messaging and texting has become our primary means of communication, and people often use shortened versions of words in order to type and deliver their messages as quickly as possible. Ms. Graham explains, In texting things like OMG, WTF, LOL people are unconsciously losing the nuance of words, and with it the ability to be fully communicative and be interactive in conversation.

Simply put, people need to engage in authentic communication in order to truly connect.

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