Pros and Cons of Social Media as a Means of Communication
As a young adult approaching 30, I hear the constant complaints of social media being too impersonal, and that our generation particularly and the ones right behind us our too dependent on social media, usually by the generations who actually created the era we are currently in. While I agree that some people are far too reliant on social media as their primary form of communication, there are plenty of benefits of the platforms.
We are able to easily remain in contact with friends and family who may be far away or hard to see due busy lives. It’s easy to drop a quick hello or quickly catch up. Social media shares moments that loved ones may miss or see much after they’re relevant. It lets friends in different cities stay in touch, and engage in conversations like you’d have if you were in the same room as someone. It’s exceptionally great for sharing photos, and letting people view them at their leisure.
Grandma can see a video of her grandchild’s first steps almost immediately after they happened that otherwise she may never have seen. Before technology, a parent wouldn’t want to miss this milestone by running off to find the camcorder, only to end up with another tape gathering dust on the shelf. With the press of the button on a device that is often nearby, the moment can be recorded and shared with family within moments of it happened.
At the same time, if you want a moment to be personal, it can be. Technology and social media give us the choice as to how to utilize it. You can use it as a replacement to other communications, or use it to enhance your existing ability to communicate. Not everything is worth a phone call, email or card sent through the mail. Sometimes letting someone know you’re thinking of them can be as simple as messaging them on social media to let them know you just had a laugh from an old memory. By the time a card was received, the moment would have long passed. And while if the timing were right, it could evolve into a phone call, some situations just don’t warrant a full blown conversation about the pasta debacle of ’09.
It also helps people who may be shy in real life share their true self, and communicate easier with their friends. It is a platform in which people can converse, share and find interest in other people’s lives. Besides, how else would we share videos of adorable animals and snapshots of the sunset with a cheesy caption?
Some people aren’t able to use social media in moderation, and that’s where it proves to be more detrimental than beneficial. If people use it as a replacement of means of communication, their real life interactions suffer. If people use it too much, it can also interfere with their relationships, career and hobbies. And most people know someone who qualifies.
There have been several cases of friendships and romantic relationships ruined as a result of online relationships that are very easy to start up and can seem innocent at first, or friends who misinterpret things they read online or get carried away in a disagreement. It’s easy to type things that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Careers have suffered or even ended as a result of too much time spent on social media when the employee should be working.
Ultimately, it comes down to how it is used, and like anything, it is fine in moderation. If people know how to use it as supplement to their lives rather than the center of their lives, they may just find it is useful.