Social or Antisocial Media?

I can remember the exact application I first encountered on a computer. I was around five or six years old when my mom had introduced me to “Paint”. I would create these self-proclaimed masterpieces with “Paint” whenever possible. I was subjected to the use of a computer at a very young age. I took computer classes in elementary school, played learning games online, and my knowledge of the Internet and the computer itself only grew alongside its ever-changing possibilities.

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In high school, I began to come across more and more people creating social media sites. I think this was the point in my life that I realized new media would eventually take on a new level of importance for the majority of people. Soon enough, I took the initiative and created a Facebook in my sophomore year. Thus, begins the Generation C (Generation Connect) takeover. I often wonder why it was and still is so important to have a Facebook. The appeal only grew and the site often distracted me from day-to-day real life occurrences. After a while, I decided to be brave and delete my Facebook, but don’t mistake me for one of the few that has decided to boycott the use of other media outlets. I am still an avid new media junkie.

Ultimately, I consider our constant use as an “addiction” of sorts; we convince ourselves that we need to have continuous interactivity online with others, as well as the simple fulfillment of a void we have created through its usage. I have come to the realization that the Internet can be used for virtually anything. What I can’t seem to figure out is if it is a good or bad thing that people often turn to a virtual reality for an answer or to simply fulfill their boredom? Is it possible that the population has gone overboard with a deep reliance on new media? Is it helping or hurting our day-to-day lifestyles to have this media reliance?

The article, “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” reads, “Research indicates that one is able to make contacts, ask questions, exchange information and make appointments very well using computer networks, but it appears to be difficult to negotiate, decide, explain difficult issues and really get to know someone” (Van Dijk). What I understand from this quote to be true is that while we may be improving several areas of our communication methods, we are also losing the ability to properly interact with others in person. Does anyone think that over time we will completely lose our natural capacity to connect with others without the use of new media?

While it’s easy for me to question the overall necessity of having and using new media, the action of giving up what I have come to constantly rely on is a daunting task to consider.

By Madison Rau

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2 comments

  1. I would agree that, while new media does give us way more opportunities to communicate, it also makes those communications more shallow. We are constantly talking to people via some device, so conversations are quick and surface level mostly. I think the the question regarding us losing our capacity to socialize without new media is almost preposterous, though. All that comes to mind when seeing this question is all the times I use new media in order to make face to face plans, or to let someone know I’m at their house so they need to come outside! Not only this, but it’s been proven that face-to-face conversation and even physical contact is fantastic for your health, in most instances. If we do ever drift too far from real life interaction, I think our bodies and minds will begin screaming. So happy someone brought up this issue though!

  2. I agree that new media has its benefits for obtaining and exchanging information. Although we are “socializing” on social media every single day, we aren’t really making emotional and personal connections when we use social media. Like Van Dijk said, we can’t really get to know someone communicating only through media. We’re humans and I personally think that we need more than social media to connect with one another. Hopefully future generations will still maintain a level of human interaction with each other.

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