To be a member of modern society is almost definitely tantamount to being a member of some form of social media.
Social media has become such a foremost part of everyone’s lives, mine included, that the increased connectedness we desire and pursue is almost a routine, or habit. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and the multitude of platforms in between have helped shape the social exchanges and communicative patterns of modern humanity.
B. Wellaman in his journal here argues that “those who see the Internet as playing an increasingly central role in everyday life would argue that it increases communication offline as well as online”. That is that social media has the ability to bring communities of people closer in a social interaction, ensuing in both the online and offline domains.
However amidst the enthusiasm in the introduction of any new media form, society tends to greet it with equal anxieties about its possible negative effects. One apprehension of particular notice, as my middle-aged father often likes to quote, is the notion of “Anti-Social” media. That is, through our rapid evolution into a technologically connected and socially linked society, we have actually lost the fundamental skills of communication and social interaction in a setting other than the online world.
How many times have you sat down to lunch with friends to find we all end up with our noses in our phones rather than actually engaging in conversation? As the images in this video depict, it is a common reality that we often cease to notice due to its apparent normality in modern society:
Just this month, BBC News School Report and BBC Radio 5 live, challenged a number of young students in Tarporley High School, England, to a “digital detox”, whereby all forms of social media were given up over a one week period. One student commented that “the thought of having real conversations and maybe even reading a book seems to be way too much to handle” – providing evidence of the evolving nature of human interaction and potential reclusive effects of social media. (Watch the video here)
So then, as a society, I guess we are all faced with the question: Is media the enemy? Are we collectively losing touch socially and evolving away from traditional communicative methods? Or rather are we simply entering the age of a new medium of social interaction? Social media has changed, and is continually changing our fundamental patterns of human interaction.
BBC News. (2016). An anti-social experiment – BBC News. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-35752625 [Accessed 13 Mar. 2016].
YouTube. (2016). I Forgot My Phone. [online] Available at: https://youtu.be/OINa46HeWg8 [Accessed 13 Mar. 2016].
Officialshoebox.tumblr.com. (2016). Shoebox Cards. [online] Available at: http://officialshoebox.tumblr.com/ [Accessed 13 Mar. 2016].