Is Social Media Isolating Us? (COMM 226)

Many researchers have suggested that the evolution of social media is creating an isolated society. Chances are this isn’t the first time you’ve heard this proposition. I think I hear a gloom-and-doom condemnation of social media at least once a week.

With how rapidly technology has evolved, many have become convinced that we’re in trouble. It’s almost a forgone conclusion that our Earth will soon match the Earth depicted in Wall-E. I tend to have more belief in our society than that.

YES, people stare at screens… a lot.

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YES, we probably love artificial intelligence way too much:

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https://www.google.com/selfdrivingcar/

 

However, I believe that there is still hope left for humanity. Social media, along with technology hasn’t destroyed us. In fact, it has brought millions of people closer together. For example, Facebook connects me with family members I didn’t know existed before. One of its best features is the Facebook Safety Check. It allows its users to let their friends and family know that they are safe when a manmade or natural disaster happens. It has helped countless families during tragedies like the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Facebook isn’t the only social media site that connects us with others. LinkedIn is a growing platform that encourages professional relationships. Personally, I’ve been on for less than a year. Nevertheless, I’ve had potential employers reach out to me through LinkedIn, making it a valuable resource for all its users.

Per Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, the goal of social media is for people to “create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, etc.” Therefore, the objective isn’t for us to be completely isolated and try on new Snapchat filters 24/7. That’s just a side effect.

I see social media bringing communities and cultures closer than they ever have before. I see social media encouraging debates and discussions ranging from the upcoming elections to whether the earth is flat:

For us humans to avoid Wall-E Syndrome and become an isolated species who won’t walk without assistance, we should use social media to bring us even closer together. The relationships we develop on these platforms shouldn’t hinder us from reality. If we follow those rules,we’ll be just fine.

 

*Photos from Pexels.com

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