Does Social Media Promote or Harm Real-life Communication?

Impact of Social Media communication

From sending birds to writing letters to telephone now social media has taken it all over and made communication extremely easy and simple for everyone. With the latest technology, social media has become a vital tool for daily interactions, which has created an opportunity that is both helpful and essential to stay socially motivated.

While social media has brought the world closer and made us more aware of our surroundings, it has come at a cost. The cost that we pay for such close connections and communication is losing out on our personal space. Also, the rapid-fire communication style engraved in the millennials, as well as the other generations, has shifted the conversation from ‘face-to-face’ instances to ‘through the screen ones.

What is Social Media?

A collection of online communication channels dedicated to community-based interactions, collaborations, and content sharing. Social media has changed the way we share memories, reconnect with friends, and plan events. Some of the most famous social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

These platforms have become the central facilitator for daily communication with family, peers, friends, and acquaintances. However, it is affecting our relationships and decreasing the quality of interpersonal communication. Despite the positive as well as negative impacts, social media has positive as well as negative impacts on communication skills.

In this article, we shall be discussing individually whether social media promotes or harms real-life communication and would thereby draw a conclusion on the same.

Social Media Promotes Communication

In this modern world, where everyone is too busy to sit and talk, social media platforms have acted as a blessing in disguise, connecting the world through a virtual interface.

1. A Need to Share

Whether it is a recent trip to Bali or a function you attended, sharing has become a vital part of social media platforms. Apart from sharing memories, social media also allows you to share your opinion.

While Facebook has created a place to share anything from genius shower thoughts to favorite songs. Twitter has acted as a public platform where anyone can voice their opinion on national and international affairs. The need to share and be shared has grown immensely.

With social media has come the need for urgency, which is why it has grown so tremendously. The complete integration of all forms of communication, I.e. texting, messaging, and emailing, has enabled senders and receivers to sit and dwell before responding.

The new Instagram Stories and Snapchat have changed the communication game altogether by making messages and content available to view for only 24 hours. In order to remember what was said, or seen, and reply appropriately, the user must reply as soon as they’ve opened it.

In effect, these temporary messages take away the ability to dwell and create a more real-time form of communication. A picture speaks a thousand words and social media has become the perfect medium to share these pictures with friends and family.

2. Provide an Inside Perspective of Faraway Places

Social media has become like a mini world, where people from all around the world are sharing their stories and providing an insider perspective of faraway places. With live story streams and story explorers, users are able to acquaint themselves with the tradition, culture, and life in other cities, states, and countries.

Social Media stories across countries
Social Media stories across countries – Image source

Snapchat also features these live videos in different countries and one can easily tap on any country and get a glimpse of the city along with a peek at life through the eyes of everyday citizens. For higher education too, social media acts as a great help in sharing student stories, college reviews, and what life on the campus is like. He really helps in making your decision by being well-informed of everything around you.

3. Personalized communication

With so many apps and so many options like videos, photos, and stories, communication between people has become more personalized. Instead of just talking about social media, you can use your skills to make communication more personal and intimate.

Instagram face filter
Instagram face filter – Image source:

With features like stickers, and filters, you can always add a personal touch to your message and have fun conversations. You can also connect and interact with the content that your friends are sharing.

With the new feature, a simple selfie is now old school. You can transform yourself into various animals, characters, and even smart filters to make the other person laugh and have a great day. If you are a social media influencer then these filters really help in connecting with your audience and engaging them in your content.

Social media allows us to connect with people we care about and stay in touch with them, no matter where we are in the world.

Mark Zuckerberg, American internet entrepreneur and philanthropist

4. News is Back

With social media, journalism has seen a change with the millennials becoming interested in the news and keeping themselves updated. A recent study conducted by Wibbitz found that 40 percent of millennials rely on digital outlets for their news, while 23 percent primarily get their news from social media.

Social Media News
Social Media As a News Source.

Thus, where the millennials were losing touch with the world outside them and engaging in games and unethical stuff, social media has made them more aware of their surroundings.

5. Communication Gap Bridged

While earlier there were a lot of reasons why the youth would not like to interact with the elder with what they call a generation gap, Social Media, however, has bridged this gap by bringing people closer. With your close ones added to your friend list, you get to know about their special events or anything new that is happening in their lives.

This has greatly helped in bridging the generation gap, as everyone is now on a single platform and you can easily communicate with them without having to physically visit them and then talk.

6. Storytelling Made it Easy

For ages storytelling has been a great way of communication and social media has made it a lot easier and simple. Instead of just sharing the gist of the story now, you can make a complete story with characters, and emotions and actually share stories with their close ones.

The art of storytelling
The art of storytelling.

There are various other options too, like Live video. In Live Video, you can show the live situation of any area or place. These live videos which were earlier launched for communication have now become a great way to create a positive change by stopping anything wrong going around you.

7. A Place For All

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, social media is a place for everyone. It gives everyone the opportunity to embrace themselves and still connect with a lot of like-minded people. Not just with your friends and peers, social media has given a platform for everyone to find people who have interests similar to theirs and thus connect with each other without the inhibitions of being judged.

Social media is not the enemy of deep relationships. It is simply another tool that can be used to strengthen or weaken them, depending on our intentions and choices.

Sherry Turkle, American sociologist

Lots of people have also found their career through social media and they not only use the platform to communicate with their friends but also the whole world without having to physically visit that place.

Social media today has undoubtedly transformed the means of communication and created all new opportunities for everyone around. Starting for businesses that are better able to connect with their audience to friends and family who find their old peers and the influencers who found their career, social media has been a game-changer for all.

However, nothing good comes without something bad following it. Social media too has its dark side, which really harms and hampers real-life communication.

Social Media Harms Real-life Communication

Sitting behind your devices, talking, and interacting with everyone is an easy task. But this has resulted in a lack of physical connection among people. Also, sometimes these dark places make you meet people who can harm or exploit you. Thus, though social media is a great platform, it has a side that many of us tend to ignore.

Decreased Face-to-Face Interaction: A 2020 Pew Research Center study revealed that 64% of American adults believe social media has made it harder to have meaningful in-person conversations. This suggests a potential decline in the quality and depth of face-to-face interactions. Source: Pew Research Center

Americans say social media is negatively affecting
Majority of Americans say social media negatively affect the way things are going in the country today. Source: Pew Research Center

1. Information Bingeing

Social media has created a new language. In this new language, we got aware of and very much affected by something called FOMO. FOMO means Fear of Missing out. Social media has created a vacuum inside everyone, which makes them continuously check their social media. That is in order to stay updated with what is going around.

Some studies suggest that social media addiction has given a ride to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD, In which the brain easily loses focus due to ongoing demands for our attention.

This rate of consumption of data leads to communication and interaction. It is some unethical things which play with our brain. It also affects our normal lifestyle.

2. Social (un) Graces

With social media taking over our communication, real-life social etiquette has lost its importance. People sometimes seem to say whatever pops up in their minds. They say without worrying about how the receiver will be taking it.

We get so consumed by social media nowadays. We also forget that there is a human on the other side of the computer. Such a conversation is very common and very well known by the name of trolling. Such a form of communication has created a lot of misunderstanding and miscommunication, which threatens our relationships.

3. Conversational Boredom

Almost 62% of people are glued to their phones all the time. The quality of conversation and their ability to meaningfully engage with others have been drastically affected. The basis of communication, which includes grammar, emotions, and the use of logic, has taken a back seat.

And all we are left with is abbreviations, emoticons, and fake news which do rounds now and then. The level of conversation has surely depleted with the coming of social media.

The best conversations can’t be typed. They take place face-to-face, with laughter and silences and everything in between.

Nicholas Sparks, American novelist

4. Physical Communication Has Taken a Back Seat

Now when everyone is on social media, the physical conversation has taken a back seat. Instead of going and visiting someone, we prefer doing a video call or a chat. While it is great and saves a lot of time, sometimes it also affects the relationship.

Apart from that, social media has opened the doors for worldwide interaction and sometimes we come across some people who try to harm or exploit us. So physical communication is always great as you can judge a person or his/her behavior. When you meet a person but it is hard to judge a person sitting behind a screen only chatting with you on social media.

We are losing human connection, the ability to really talk to each other without a screen separating us.

Arianna Huffington, American businesswoman and author

In Conclusion

Social media for sure is great, but how we use it makes it beneficial or harmful. Though social media has brought us closer to a lot of people and updated us about what is going on around the world, on the flip side it has greatly affected our social life and created a digital bubble around us that we are too afraid to break.

So how you use it is up to you. Whether you bring the best or the worst of social media will be how efficiently and carefully you use it to your advantage.

Image source: Freepik Premium

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