“Social Media as a Negative Force,” by Thomas Nguyen
Some objectives of this presentation will include: explaining the aspects of social media, analyzing Facebook (a widely used form of social media), my own personal experience with Facebook, and finally, getting in to the negative effects of social media.
What is social media? According to dicitionary.com, social media is described as, “Web sites and other online means of communication that are used by large groups of people to share information and to develop social and professional contacts: Many businesses are utilizing social media to generate sales.”But without the invention of the internet, social media wouldn’t even exist. “For me, as for others,” Nick Carr states, “the Net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind.” This means that all over the world, people of different shapes and sizes, have this one thing in common; the internet as a medium. Known to be one of the greatest creations ever, the internet serves as more than a medium because there are endless possibilities to what one can operate and accomplish. With this invention, came along a sub-category in this virtual world called social media.
According to an internet database, this chart here represents how many people within the North American continent actually use the internet. With no surprise 78.6 %, of the population of over 500 million people have used the internet before. “For me, as for others,” Nick Carr states, “the Net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind.” This means that all over the world, people of different shapes and sizes, have this one thing in common; the internet as a medium. Known to be one of the greatest creations ever, the internet serves as more than a medium because there are endless possibilities to what one can operate and accomplish. With this invention, came along a sub-category in this virtual world called social media.
A prime example of this social media is a website used by millions across the earth, www.facebook.com. Everyone knows about Facebook, plain and simple. Almost half of North Americans uses this site, if only I could get a penny for every time this page is visited, I’d be filthy rich. Facebook is a platform where anyone can sign up instantly, as you can see, by only adding basic personal details, such as: your name, email, age and sex. Why? A plethora of free benefits.
After signing up and becoming a member of Facebook, you get a profile page designated to show yourself to others. You can blog about your life and basically anything you want people to know. Usually it’s too much information. By simply adding another person as a, “friend,” the two are connected and through this connection, many interfaces are available. People are now able to learn about a person by looking at someone’s homepage where they can write about themselves and by sharing conversations through comments, instant messaging, and even video chatting. Games can be played together or against one another such as Tetris, Checkers, or even more complex games like a generic version of Mario Kart. Users can upload pictures and videos, “tagging,” friends with them, meaning in order to find out who they are, is easy as clicking that link. As Clay Shirky states, “people want to create and share as a way of collaboration, even globally.” These posts and pictures are uploaded to an area where you have the power for anyone to see it, exercising your creativity and allowing feedback from comments. The most efficient use of Facebook is by using it to collaborate because instead wasting time and browsing it can be used to form revenue.
Personally, as a member of a social fraternity, I use Facebook ideally for collaboration, to meet as many people as possible across the world. As I continue to meet more and more people, the strength of my social network increases because these couple thousands of friends has the ability to see and hear anything I want them too. I exploit this through Facebook by inviting people to events such as a party and using money raised to fund fundraising events as a means to give back to the community. This is almost like another example of the Ushahidi platform because according to Shirky, the idea of a mass amount of people coming together to help out society.
Being as important to society as it is today, it’s hard to believe that negatives could have arisen along with social media, but obviously, it did. Along with Facebook came the idea of distorted reality of online perception. This means what people see about someone online or, what someone says about one’s self isn’t always realistic and there are multiple examples of this shown, as you can see here. A side by side comparison of the facebook version of you and the realistic version of you. On facebook one has the choice to show the public as much as they want but ONLY, if they want them too. This character here, chooses to make it look like he’s some wild boy living the life of a rockstar by posting only the pictures that show him doing adventurous, “cool,” things but what the public doesn’t see is him on most days just being a couch potato. Now he has the power to change who he is in the views of other people by showing them almost an alternative lifestyle rather than what is true. This is an average person just like everyone else of his age that chooses to exaggerate his life making it more appealing to other people like it’s a popularity contest. The problem with this is the depression other people who see his profile and might not all have the resources available in order to live like him just because of being superficial.
Another common reoccurrence that also has to do with online perception in Facebook is the editing and altering of photographs to make someone look different in which they actually do. This can be as simple as guys and girls who edit their pictures or use angle tricks to make them appear either more muscular/skinny or however they want to. And when in real life they don’t look like that it throws people off, not knowing what to expect. Sometimes people get so caught up in this virtual world that it’s all they care about; the opinions of others. In society we see this become increasingly a larger problem where all people do is judge each other. Some may know how to filter out this nonsense, when not constructive criticism, but when it comes to someone who doesn’t know any better worse things could happen including suicide. This action when happening online is also known as cyber bullying which is a major problem today.
Here’s one last comparison picture that I thought was unique only because of the cat memes in Shirky’s video on TED. Like Shirky said, when given this power to experiment with the internet, it could go in any direction whatsoever. What he means is that it’s nearly impossible to tell the outcome of what the internet will bring us whether good or bad. Even though many hope to the better the society through social media as a medium in terms of collaboration, the medium might not always lead to the positive. Sites such as Facebook offer benefits but there are always consequences people overlook. This distortion of online perception in a virtual world needs to change immediately.
Social Media as a Negative Force By: Thomas Nguyen
Objectives What is social media? Analyze Facebook Personal experience Negative effects