Pros and Cons of Social media: Do They Balance Each Other Out?

Everyday, technology and the new media outputs they include continue to grow and continue to surprise us with the vast amount of opportunities they offer. The utopian viewpoint on new technology is that new technology will allow us to grow as a society. According to Turner’s article, How Digital Technologies Found Utopian Ideology, “scholars have pointed out that new technologies as diverse as telephones and airplanes have always generated utopian hopes.” However, there is also the dystopian idea that new technology has caused more negative than positive and has caused our society to become completely dependent on a virtual world rather than a real one.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jan/28/social-networking-benefits-validated/?page=all

“Texting, blogs, Facebook, gaming and instant messages might seem, to some, to be just more reasons to stare at a computer screen….” This article explains how social media offers much more than that.

At first, people dreamed that technology would solve the world’s social problem, but it seems that when it comes to technology, the notion that our society is too attached to it, always seems to be brought up.

Through my Media Diet Project, I have really begun to notice how disconnected I am to the world around me. I’m sure my other classmates have noticed this too. It seems as though people in our society would rather check their twitter feed, than respond to the person standing in front of them. But was this always the case?

As a child, social media was a foreign concept to me. I had absolutely no knowledge of twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. In fact, I’m not even sure whether all of these social media outlets existed when I was younger. I didn’t need a cellphone, because I had no apps to post pictures, statuses or posts onto. My two little cousins, ages 8 and 10, both have iPhone 5’s and have over 1,000 followers on Instagram. At first, I was a little embarrassed that an 8-year-old girl was more popular than me on the Internet. But I soon realized that it was normal for young girls to have thousands of Instagram followers, and that most of the time they had no idea who was even following them anyway. This is just the way children and teens are in this generation. They spend more time filtering their Instagram picture or answering online surveys and less time doing what I did as a kid; playing outside, enjoying the company of their friends, and imagining what the future would be like.

I can definitely see how our societies extreme dependency on posting every move made on social media can be seen as following the dystopian viewpoint of new media. Although social media and the ability to instantly talk to someone through a computer screen seems impossible to live without, it is something that has significantly reduced face to face communication. It has allowed our society to become overly dependent on what technology has to offer and has turned us lazy.

However, unlike many, who fail to realize that the growing world of technology and social media also has many advantages, I feel that social media and its growing popularity among our generation expresses utopian ideas. Social media has allowed us to find information more quickly, talk to people who may not have any other way to communicate with us, as well as contributes in the reason we meet a lot of the people in our lives.

Do you think the pros and cons of social media really balance each other out? What do you think society would be like without social media there to cure ‘boredum’?

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