From the class discussions and presentations, my own experiences, and the knowledge I gained from researching my own presentation, I feel that social media has had an overall negative impact on the world. Coming to that conclusion, however was a lot more complicated than a simple yes/no. You see, the internet is a confusing and convoluted place where every pro has a con due to how vast the world wide web is. But after a few days of thinking, I’ve come to the conclusion that social media as it stands today has had a net negative effect on the world.
First, let’s talk about some of the good things social media does. It’s a great platform for communication and getting your voice heard. Twitter and Facebook are great for fostering a community and reaching out to an international audience. Movements for peace, equality or even a Facebook event about playing Wonderwall in front of the White House until Trump is impeached can reach millions of people. Social media is a great tool for allowing celebrities and other popular figures to interact with fans. It’s a great tool for meeting new people, and staying in touch with old friends.
Social media is everywhere and because of that it occupies a lot of our time. In my own experience, it’s done a great deal of harm to my productivity. It’s so easy to check Facebook for just 5 minutes after you write that one line of code for that summative due tomorrow. But the effects of Facebook go far beyond limiting my productivity. After listening to Thalia and Iram’s presentation, I began to make connections to my own personal life. It became evident to me how much I was affected by social media, especially in respect to my own self esteem. Social media can very effectively isolate someone from their peers, even when in reality they aren’t that alone. We compare ourselves and our lives to snapshots of the best moments of someone else’s as we sit alone in our room. Snapchat and Instagram are some of the worst offenders, I know this is true at least for me. Especially through the earlier years of high school, Social media made high school very hard for me as I slowly drifted away from friend groups.
On the subject of isolation, social media’s affect on politics is another big negative. Social media forms bubbles where like-minded/opinionated individuals can reflect opinions of one another, preaching to the choir. Several presentations in class mentioned these social bubbles and how easily they develop on social media. And don’t even get me started on fake news. It runs rampant across Facebook, spreading misinformation to those not skeptical enough to realize that Mark Zuckerberg is not in fact giving away $10,000 to anyone who shares this post and comments below.
In addition to this, while social media can be used as a platform to spread a message of love and peace and tolerance and blah blah blah you get the idea, social media can be used in the complete opposite way. We saw how effectively the Russian government was able to influence the US 2016 election with fake accounts and pages, pulling the strings from both sides of a debate to further divide the country. Don’t even get me started on hate speech.
The bottom line is, social media is convenient and it has a couple of nice features. We like social media but it’s a massive time sink. It was a core ingredient in the disruption of the 2016 US election and still plays a role in politics around the globe. It destroys the self esteem of teens and isolates people from social groups. While there are some benefits of social media, it’s clear that it’s had a mostly negative effect on the world.