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Social media is a widely used platform of connection and communication today. People across the globe are able to connect instantly with others, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. With a click of a mouse or a tap on a screen, people are able to express themselves and share details about their lives to others. In turn, people are able to stay informed about other’s lives as well. As our lives become busier, social media becomes increasingly popular by the day, and it has become a part of daily life for many individuals.
There are several causes and effects for the rise in the popularity of social media today.
The primary cause for the rise in the popularity of social media is its general human appeal. Social media is designed to be uncomplicated and entertaining, as well as to provide a sense of safety to the user. One is able to express themselves in whatever manner one pleases, with rarely much repercussion.
Additionally, people are able to share details about their lives effortlessly with a simple sentence or a picture. Many find enjoyment in this simple method of expression and connection, and the ability to gain insight into the lives of others satisfies the typical human nature of curiosity.
The main effect that spurs from this general human appeal of social media, as previously discussed, is the eventual loss of face-to-face communication. While social media is efficient for the busy lifestyle that is prevalent in our society today, overuse may lead to serious complications with social interaction.
If all someone does is converse online, their one-on-one communication abilities may be severely compromised.
A contributory cause of social media’s climbing popularity is the early patterns of human interaction. This is presented in Alex’s Wright’s piece “Friending, Ancient or Otherwise.” In his article, Wright introduced the parallel between social media and tribal societies. Orality was the primary method of sharing information with others and is described as “the base of all human experience,” by Lance Strate, a communications professor at Fordham. Presently, social media is more widely perceived as “talking” rather than writing, thus echoing the oral traditions of prehistoric times. Remaining in contact with others is incredibly important to most people, so other ways of keeping in touch needed to be constructed. Social media is the present method of continuing our history of orality.
A contributory effect of this is the ability to keep family, friends, and relationships together. As previously mentioned, speech was the main component of interaction between individuals. This meant that families and friends who moved elsewhere had a significant decrease in communication with their loved ones. Today, however, with the abundancy of social media users, people are able to continually keep in touch with others who they may not see in person too often.
Social media’s use continues to rise every day, and it will most likely continue to grow in the coming years. The popularity of social media is caused by many aspects, and it affects – and will continue to affect – people in several ways. Websites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter provide an outlet for expression and draw loved ones closer together. However, overuse may lead to difficulties with face-to-face interaction later on. Like many aspects of our world today, sometimes too much of something is not the most constructive approach in the long run. Social media can be a godsend or a curse. It can be the glue to one’s relationships or an obstacle in one’s offline life. It’s up to the individual to decide.
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