For the past decade, society has been undergoing a technological revolution in communication. The creation of the internet was the foundation for the communication practices of today. Internet use began to facilitate asynchronous messaging, which later evolved towards instantaneous communication, synchronous messaging. This communication revolution occurred rapidly and was vastly accepted by millions of people. At an extremely fast rate individuals began creating personal profiles on social networking websites.
A new form of communication is identified as social networking, which includes instant-messaging, text-messaging, e-mail, and any internet facilitated form of social interaction. Associating the interaction of these social mediums as a form of interpersonal relationships may have further implications on an individual’s identified norms and values regarding social communication. The person connected via social media is perceived as participating in a social interaction, but communicating by social mediums should not be considered similar to real-life interaction.
Although some of the mediums, now, allow for camera and internet facilitated face-to-face communication, the interaction itself is mediated through a device. There must be a clear understanding of the what is considered real-life interaction, and social medium communication. The notion computational technologies have created an alternative way of thinking is introduced by Sherry Turkle. Further, individuals have begun to alter their way of identifying their ‘self’. The multiple interfaces offered by social media allows people to create an online profile, which allows individuals to illustrate their life experiences, personal appearance, etc.
The ability to construct an individuals image may cause complexities regarding ‘self’ identification. Another aspect of change may be associated with computational technologies and the effects they have on they way people process information. On the other hand, there have been positive and negative associations with social mediums effects on the development and understanding of social interactions: social media offers communicative methods in which allow for individuals to become more connected to society through the internet.
This study will examine whether or not regular use of social media to communicate with others may have further implications on individual’s sense of self and sense of values he or she identifies with social interactions. This work will relate the aspects of self-identification and the effected values associated with consistent use of social mediums. There is a self-perpetuating cycle regarding the use of social media. “It is worth noting that the ungrati? ed social and habitual needs of SM use can accumulate through their own endogenous effects over time, and motivate future SM use.
In other words, these needs drive SM use, but are not grati? ed by SM use, and grow larger to stimulate heavier SM use in the future. In this sense, SM use gradually cultivates greater social and habitual needs to use SM. This may help explain the increasing popularity of SM. ”1 The use of social media allows people to connect with seemingly any other individual. The ability to connect with people creates satisfaction in the user’s emotional, and social needs.
If these needs are meet throughout the individual’s experience than he or she will likely develop a preference for online use, which may cause further submergence into the social mediums. Face-to-face interaction, or real-life, may have caused an individual that identifies him or herself as socially inept to refer to social mediums as an attempt to find a way to connect with society. If the individual experiences positive feedback during their use of these social mediums they are more likely to associate themselves online rather than face-to-face.
The unbiased acceptance in the social medium facilitates a person’s need for social connection. Anyone can connect. People can find friends by previous associations, recommendations, groups of similar interests, and they can search for people with related interests in political, educational, environmental concerns, etc. The vast expectance of social media platforms has created a society in which any person can meet their needs of social, and emotional gratifications because of the exponential possibility of finding friends with similar interests.
Social media is shown to expand the boundaries of social interaction, “Research has shown that SM [Social Media] provides unprecedented convenience and ef? ciency for creating, maintaining, and strengthening social relationships. Many features of SM facilitate self-disclosure and social interactions, such as the removal of geographic boundaries and the rich interaction opportunities afforded by networks of ‘‘friends’’ and information (e. g. , Ellison, Stein? eld, & Lampe, 2007; Lai & Turban, 2008). ” 2 The contribution social mediums have on people’s ability to communicate across the world is one of the positive associations of connectivity.
Creating and maintaining social relationships is exemplified by the ability for individuals to connect with seemingly anyone: the aspect of strengthening relationships may be more associated with the ability to connect with distant friends, or partners. The ease of accessibility contributes to the repeating cycle in which online social media creates through the exponential possibilities of connections; for example, each user is a multiplying factor providing an opportunity for millions of different connections when they join social networking.
As consumers participate more through social mediums, they are exemplifying to other individuals that consistent online activity is accepted, as a factor of social interaction. This factor could lead to negative uses of social media, which will be explored later. Furthermore, the use of social media as another form of face-to-face interaction may positively effect individuals, “Using Facebook and MySpace as an extension of face-to-face interaction to maintain interpersonal relationships may enable users to broaden connections that they otherwise may not have and to strengthen existing friendships.
This study reinforces the capabilities of social mediums for relationships; but also, highlights the importance of correct use of electronic media. Rather than using social media as alternative form of face-to-face communication, Carlyne Kujath^ hints individuals should monitor his or her use accordingly in order to avoid crossing the boundary of electronic media becoming a negative factor in society. As Kujath suggests the proper use of electronic media is the practice as an “extension” of interpersonal communication, instead of using social media as an alternative for real-life interaction.
The recommended methods of using social networking facilitate both online and offline interaction. It is important to not exclude offline interaction; although online interaction has more positive effects on individuals who participated via social networking, “The key finding of this study was the lower social anxiety observed during online interaction than during real-life interaction, particularly in subjects with high social anxiety. ”4 Online communication is attributed to easier social interaction. The individual feels more comfortable interacting through social networking.
The vast amount of users facilitate a wider range of groups in which individuals can interact with in order to meet their needs of gratification, emotional and social. The lower social anxiety is likely associated with the available connectivity, and the emotional and social support found through social communication. While the higher social anxiety regarding real-life interaction is related to the inability to have control over the interaction. For example, an individual in a face-to-face interaction may not know the proper norms of real-life communication, and how to respond which may cause further disconnection from “real-life”.
It seems the self propelling method of social media emerges, again. Users are compelled to use social media for easier, more controllable interaction. The high social anxiety found in face-to-face communication drives users to find an alternative method to gratify their personal needs. In contrast, the lower social anxiety experienced through online interaction exemplifies the positive effects social media can have on people. Online communication seems to meet the needs of people with various desires and intentions, and also satisfies their needs of personal gratification.
Social media facilitates an environment in which people feel comfortable participating within. This use of connectivity contributes to satisfying an individual’s needs, which further compels the person to continue participating. People’s use of social media propels each person to connect further both online and offline, “These ? ndings indicate a signi? cant positive association between SNS [Social Networking Sites] exposure and social interaction. There is also a positive relationship between cellular-phone communication and social interaction.
For every hour increase on average in SNS exposure or cell-phone communication, average face-to-face social interaction increased about 10 to 15 minutes. ”5 Assuming each person’s interaction online was of positive influence people feel more comfortable with interpersonal communication. Online connection may be allowing people who feel socially inept to develop the norms and values of interpersonal interaction through practices of interaction. Surprisingly, the more online communication a person had positively effected the amount of face-to-face interaction they experienced.
One might assume more time spent on social platforms causes less time for real-life interaction, but there are underlying factors of electronic media that can contribute to more face-to-face interaction. Individuals are who use online networking to communicate may use it to set up events, or communicate with friends or family to meet-up at a specific time and location. Also, individuals who use cell-phone communication, text-messaging, can synchronously converse with others in order to coordinate meeting up.
The concept of deciding when a person wants to interact in real-life environments is attributed with the notion an individual can be connected or disconnected to social platforms whenever they want. Each person can decide when they want to respond to a person, or even if they want to respond. This follows the model of social networking sites: they allow for people to communicate whenever they desire through the ability to post a status. Social networks allow for each individual to determine and construct the online profiles. The people have complete control.
Controlling the situation is also an aspect attributed with people’s preference for online communication in contrast to real-life. The non-mediated form of communication, face-to-face, does not allow for the people to have easy control over their interaction. For example, individuals who are speaking face-to-face may have an instance in which the opposing person does not feel comfortable causing negative associations with real-life interaction. Social media assists in giving people the opportunity to feel comfortable within their personal interaction with the electronic medium.
The person has better control over the communication, and his or her emotions by the option to stop messaging, or log-out. In addition, individuals online can perform this interaction synchronously, or not: people do not have to respond immediately in any electronically mediated interactions. In example of people’s association of social media with communicative interactions, “In addition, compared to of? ine interactions, the mediated nature of SM interactions offers users a more controllable environment to strategically present themselves in their interactions (Dunne et al. 2010; Walther, Slovacek, & Tidwell, 2001)”.
The concept of “presentation” alludes to the notion people can construct their online image however they desire. People felt more comfortable in the interaction in which they had the most control. They can decide when they want to communicate, which allows for them to develop a better understanding of their emotions in order to respond accordingly. Individuals are now becoming accustomed to mediated synchronous communication in which there is an expected delay between messages allowing for each person to think.
Although electronic media facilitates instantaneous communication, people have begin to construct an alternative norm. People developed the concept of thoroughly thinking before responding. This identifies a shift in the values associated with social interaction pertaining to/regarding the transition individuals made from face-to-face interaction to the mediated electronic communication. The effects of this shift told by Turkle, “A seventh grader once told me that the typewriter she found in her mother’s attic is “cool” because you have to type each letter by itself. You have to know what you are doing in advance or it comes out a mess.
The idea of thinking ahead has become exotic. ”7 The transition towards mediated social interaction and the related concept of instant communication has led people to become disconnected with the ability to think as they speak, rather than before they speak. A young child is the example illustrating the effects social media has on aspects of social interaction. Further, individuals’ ability to construct their online environment is reinforced by the capability to predetermine their response: the person can even attempt to coordinate the conversation in order to direct it in their desired way.
In real-life this ability to lead a conversation would show a developed understanding of social interaction, but as the child shows people no longer relate those particular values of social interaction with face-to-face communication. People redefined the values associated with real-life interaction. This change is directly attributed to the shift to using electronic media for communication. Moreover, the change in values is correlated to the substitution of social medium for face-to-face communication. Social media has further effects related to individual’s behavior.
Another instance of change regarding interpersonal interaction is exemplified by how people manage themselves in real-life social environments. The immediate accessibility to social medium via electronic devices constructs a social environment allowing consistent interruptions of interpersonal communication. People have begun to use their cell-phones to text message, check social networking sites, and receive e-mails. The social world is now filled with the beeps and buzzing sounds of cell-phones, constantly.
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