Social media is making society less social

June 28, 2019  •  1 Comment

How can we use social platforms to draw people closer and help them to create meaningful content?

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I don’t want to be negative about social media.  I want to understand more about what we already know: the influence social media has on our lives and the power of the Internet on our social lives.

Power: is a complex concept and according to Christian Fuchs in his book, Social Media: A Critical Introduction, “power has to do with who controls society, who is taking important decisions, who owns basic resources, who is considered as being influential, who has the reputation to influence and change society, who is an opinion maker, or who defines dominant normal, rules and values.”

The question is then “Who is power?”

I consider social media as one of today’s world powers. People use, follow, and trust the media without questioning it, even though they should.

We are living in a time when children, adolescents, youth, and adults, are all victims of this technological world. Once you are in, it is almost impossible to get out.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many other social spaces are becoming doors to enter into this world called “social media”.  Today more than ever, we need to study and learn about what social media really is and what is the best and safest way of using it.

We take advantage of every spare moment we have to quickly check our phones. With all of the messages, emails, Facebook notifications, Twitter posts, swiping up and down, we end up forgetting what is happening around us. It can be anytime, anywhere; in the line at the movies, in the lift, at a store’s cashier, during family lunch, during class, while driving, and sometimes even during meetings with your boss. The Internet has become a reason for distraction, while for others, disrespectful. But how can we change that?

Our phones, tablets, watches, and computers have become part of our body, an extension of our identity. How can society remind itself that life does not happen over a screen? How can we see that we should use these tools that have become extensions / prosthesis of our bodies, to help us to move forward in our lives and contribute to the advancement of civilization, making a positive influence of this power.

It is easy to come to a conclusion that today we breathe social media in our daily lives. It has become people’s workspace, a way of communicating, and removing any distance between two or more people.  These are all positive influences. But is that always the case?

In the beginning of his book, Christian Fuchs asks:

What is social about social media? 

Are not all media social?

These questions have to do with another question:

What does it mean to be social?

I invite you to reflect on these questions and leave you with a few thoughts.

Social media only exists because of the invention of the Internet, an extraordinary tool created to facilitate tasks for every human being. But is it also affected by the decline of human values that affects every aspect of our lives. From our home to our work environment or educational spaces.

With social media people no longer have the feeling of being alone anymore, not because they have someone next to them all of the time, but because they are sleeping and waking up with their smartphone next to them. For many, smartphones (without a soul or feeling) have become their first and last contact of the day. The tool that was supposed to draw people closer together is actually pulling them further apart from one another.  We have lost the ability to foster relationships.  We have all probably seen families, friends, and couples, sitting next to or across from each other, probably after having planned that night to be together and enjoy each other’s company, while in the end they end up staring at their screens all night, forgetting to enjoy the moment they were waiting for.

When we see, we judge; when we read, we relate the event to our lives; and, when we reflect, we realize, something has to change.

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The discovery of the Internet revolutionized the world of communication. As Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, visualized in 1936:

“A mechanism of world inter-communication will be devised, embracing the whole planet, freed from national hindrances and restrictions, and functioning with marvellous swiftness and perfect regularity.”

We can also emphasize that the Internet: facilitates global ventures, democratizes access to knowledge, allows worldwide placements, and contributes to research for solutions of how to preserve this world to guarantee humanities wellbeing.

Social media allows us to share news, events, photos, and many other things we are exposed to. Social media is not a person, but it is known as the most influential source of power nowadays. Social media has become the opinion maker of the 21st century. Therefore, I ask you: How can we make sure that we will use social media for a greater purpose? 

Only you can answer the questions you came across in this post. Each one of us creates our own social space. But the social space we create can impact on the rest of the world. What you write, the photos and videos you post, what you delete, what you share. All have an impact.  Social media offers a space to share what you believe, what you trust, what you agree or disagree with. So let's think, how can we use social media as a positive tool, to bring people closer together, and to create meaningful content?


Comments

Criselda R. Figuerres(non-registered)
For me one should observe moderation in using the Internet.
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