Social media is gradually become further integrated into our daily lives as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube increasingly dominate our time and attention. Social media has many benefits allowing us to contact friends abroad quickly and share information however there is a darker side to social media as it causes us to become less connected with the ‘real’ world and less aware of our immediate surroundings.
Social media allows us to easily keep in contact with old friends who have moved abroad as well as enabling us to meet new people, online, from all over the world; in this respect it is undoubtedly social. It gives us the opportunity to talk with people, internationally, with different beliefs and perspectives. Videos of suffering can go viral on social media and cause universal support; this has revolutionised charity. People’s ability to see other people’s perspectives can bring them closer together and help prevent racism and homophobia. Sites such as YouTube also allow people to share videos; some to which people, such as those with depression, can relate and not feel as alone. Social media also offers a social haven to those who are shy, socially awkward or have low self-esteem as they can communicate with people without the physical presence and social contact.
However, social media has many downsides such as trolling and although social media is essentially talking to people there is lack of emotion and physical contact, such as eye contact. Social media limits social skills as people become used to having no physical presence during a conversation making real interaction potentially awkward and monotone. Social media can also lead to trolling, being hurtful online behind a façade, as the anonymity of fake accounts makes people feel they can post mean things with threat to them. Social media is used for organising social events however at these events people spend a vast amount of time posting on social media about the event so their presence there is divided. In addition, when friends meet up they can spend a lot of time talking to other friends individually on social media which makes the social aspect of social media a bit ironic. Social media can also cause anti-social behaviours through obsessions, for example obsession with perfect body image which is further impressed through social media. This obsession can lead to cases of anorexia which sometimes have suicidal and depressive effects causing the victim to become further isolated from society.
In conclusion I would argue the social aspect of social media is limited and over-accentuated, and in some cases, such as when physically with friends, ironic. Social media can be very beneficial when used appropriately and at certain times but the obsession with social media has led to obvious real social complications and could potentially take away the joy of true human contact.