I’m a huge proponent of social media. I don’t just mean that I use Facebook; I constantly follow every action with a tweet, Facebook status, Four Square post, or Twitpic. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see every waking second of my day?
But what happens when instead of calling Granny for her birthday, you post a “HAPPY BDAY GMA” on her Facebook wall? Yeah, it’s convenient, but does it take away from the personal aspect of human-to-human interaction?
Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, Google+, LinkedIn… when we think of these we think of “connecting” to people: precisely because that’s what we’re doing. But speculation has been floating around over the years that as the number of users and participants on social media sites increase, the DEFINITION of interaction is changing. So in other words, “talking” to someone 6 years ago meant actually talking to them in person or on the phone, whereas today, “talking” could mean tweeting, messaging, posting, IM’ing, commenting, “facebooking”, or even just looking at a post. See where this gets confusing?
So, to make a long story short, a bunch of late baby boomers with gray hair and cell phones the size of bricks assumed that as the participation online increases, physical, meaningful communication from one human being to another has decreased over time.
So you want my opinion on all of this? Because I’m going to give it to you.
Now, I completely understand where everyone comes from when they say that the “sincerity” of communication is slowly being diminished over time. But, I have about two thousand arguments against that. I’ll just give you a couple.
First off, it is so simple now to get in touch with people that you would otherwise not be able to get in touch with unless it was for Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media site. How many relatives do you talk to on a more regular basis now because it only involves a simple wall post? Or how many classmates can you ask about a homework assignment that you otherwise would not be able to get ahold of if you did not have their telephone number? In my opinion, this new boom in social media is making it easier to get initially connected with people. What you do from there has endless possibilities, but if it weren’t for these online interactions, in-person interactions would more than likely be much less frequent.
Another major argument that I have is how much more efficient the spread of National and World news has become since the social media boom. When something noteworthy happens in the world, whether President Obama has passed a new policy, a shooting occurred overseas, or an entertainment icon has died; I find out about those things before the press can even get ahold of them. How cool is that? That people are now finding news out from EACH OTHER; unbiased, honest news that we can communicate with other “average joe’s” around the world. To me, that is important and special enough to completely respect the path that social media is going in.
If I haven’t convinced you how rad social media makes the world, check this out. A study was conducted in 2010 using a focus group of 44 people, as well as a survey of 1,506 United States citizens. The study emphasized the impact that social media has on face-to-face communication. “The research showed that among people who report they’re using Facebook more than before, 27% say they hang with friends in person more often as well. 13% say they hang out less. A full 60% said there is no significant impact whatsoever. The trend is even greater amongst Twitter users showing 46% say they hang out with friends more while 7% said less.”
So, all of this jargon really is meant to say one thing: People really need to stop criticizing social media, because before they know it, they will hop on board too, only they will be severely behind and the world will be advancing way faster than they can comprehend. There, I said it. And if you haven’t seen this video before, you probably should:
I’ll link a cool site with some statistics and PICTURES! We all love pictures, right? Click… here.
Thanks for reading like always.