Social Media Decelerates Real-World Communication: Experts say social media sites affect our communication skills on a day-to-day basis.
Through the lack of real conversations, the social media world is hindering to our communication skills, translating in real-life situations and because some may spend the majority a of the time virtually socializing, the social media world is hinders to the growth of our communication skills translating to real-life situations. Researching, I found shocking statistics on the ugly truth about social media usage on Creotivo.com and an article written by Brian Honigman on HuffingtonPost.com. These figures may reflect the over-usage of social media. Here are the facts for 2012:
- There are more devices connected to the Internet than there are people on planet Earth.This fact I found most startling. However, if you think about it, this does make sense: most people you meet will have a smartphone, Nook Simple Touch, iPad, iTouch, and so on.
- Every minute 684,478 pieces of content are shared on Facebook, 100,000 tweets are sent, and 48 hours of video are uploaded onto YouTube. After reading this, I was just as shocked by these figures myself.
- As of 2012, 210,000 years of music have been played on Facebook. Umm…when was Facebook born again? According to Mashable.com, Facebook was created February 2004.
Moreover, Ethan Huff from NaturalNews.com and Donna Housman with NYTimes.com, both discuss the likes of Sherry Turkle, psychologist and professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her latest book, entitled “Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other,” is a look into the idea of why social media over-usage may cause us to go into a state of isolation from the real-world.
Turkle writes, “A behavior that has become typical may still express the problems that once caused us to see it as pathological.” This quote refers to her standpoint that more people need to have face-to-face conversations, interactions. Turkle states, “We have invented inspiring and enhancing technologies, yet we have allowed them to diminish us.”
On one side, today’s real world is obsessed with the digital world. Some people see the social media world as a way to live in their fantasy, to be something they are not in real life. On the other hand, I do not believe that social media diminishes all people. Some can handle the balance between the real and digital worlds. Nonetheless, all things can be healed in time with the proper balance. The problem, as related to Turkle’s book, is that our lack of balance causes the problem to consume us, the problem being social media. These thriving websites such as Facebook and Twitter ultimately serve as entertainment for the user. We may just use these sites to just view and read a funny post or comment to laugh at.
However, these sites also serve as social barriers to an emotional connection with oneself and others. In a New York Times Sunday Review: A Flight From Conversation, also written by Sherry Turkle, she further touches on the effects of living in the digital age. She states: “FACE-TO-FACE conversation unfolds slowly. It teaches patience. When we communicate on our digital devices, we learn different habits. As we ramp up the volume and velocity of online connections, we start to expect faster answers.” Face-to-face interaction is an important building block of a healthy relationship. Getting to know someone starts through a healthy emotional connection.
Some will even take advantage of the social media craze through their education. In a HuffingtonPost.com article by Briana Bosker, she talks of a newfound major at Newberry College in South Carolina. Beginning in 2013 Fall, students at Newberry will be able to major in—you guessed it: Social Media.
Bosker writes, “The curriculum includes courses like SOM 101: Introduction to Social Media (“[Students] will gain theoretical and professional knowledge that will enable them to understand the key issues and challenges within social media; they will also develop projects in which [they] will simulate social media environments”).”
For the student who would like to take advantage of the business aspects of social media, this major is perfect.
Final Thought: In the year of 2013, these trends of communication continue to thrive and are not close to backing down. If we continue to hide behind our computer screens, we may never see what’s really out there. Enjoying social media and majoring in it is fine, as long as there remains a healthy balance between the two worlds.