Cause and Effect Social Media Has on Society
The modern world is not like it used to be. The advancement of technology has revised almost everything we do, from flying and tracking airplanes to how large trucks transport goods across the nation. Everything is not like it used to be and this includes the world of communication.
In the pre-dawn era of the modern age, communication was not as effective as it is now and often restricted. People were limited to phones and the postal service maintained by the government. If a person did not have a phone then postal letter was the only way to communicate with them. If a letter was lost or stolen then the recipient had no knowledge of what was happening in the lives of their family or friends.
Communication was not as effective as it could have been. This paper will focus on the causes for social media and its effect on modern society.
I. The Causes:
There are two main causes for the rise of social media, communication and free speech (Smarty, 2017) and without the vacuum in the communication aspect of life, these social media outlets may not have risen and become as popular as they have.
i. The Communication Cause- As stated earlier, the beginning of this modern age was void of any real tools for effective communication. Yes there were two way radios, telephones, postal letter service but these tools were dependent upon too many factors to be truly effective.
As technology grew and was practically applied new tools were added- email and social media. Then as time progressed the technology became more portable so that it was possible to connect with just about anyone, anywhere they were located. If they were shopping or at work, a person could simply send an e-mail or dial a phone number and they were in instant contact with the party they wanted to talk with.
ii. The Free Speech Cause- This was another motivating cause that helped spark the rise of social media. People love the power to say what they wanted to say without censorship and retaliation, though the latter has not been as forthcoming as everyone would like, there were ways to avoid such reactions
Censorship is not conducive to maintaining a healthy society and when the government suppressed the original and normal channels of communication, the only way to get your ideas heard was to retreat to the electronic world and social media was created.
They say that ‘necessity is the mother of all invention’ and the necessity of free speech certainly contributed to the development of the social media world. Without these two causes it is unlikely that social media would have the impact it does today.
II. The Impact:
There are two main thrusts of impact, one positive and the other negative. First the positive
i. The Positive Impact- The original election of Barack Obama serves as a very big example of how social media impacts politics. That election showed the power behind social media outreach and how a little electronic work could swing an election to favor a relatively unknown politician and propel him to the highest office in America.
But this isn’t the only positive impact as the business world saw the potential of social media and not only for an efficient use of its advertising dollars but also to enhance its customer service and build customer loyalty (Ta, 2014).
The other positive aspect of the impact of social media that will be discussed here is the revolutionizing of the way people socialize (Ta, 2014). A person no longer had to leave their house to visit their friends or family members. They just needed to go to the other room, switch on their computer and make contact via the many different avenues social media provides for communication.
It was also much easier to make new friends via social media as those tools allowed for some form of anonymity along with an easy way to break off the friendship.
ii. The Negative Impact: There is always going to be a negative side to the issue and social media is not exempt from that fact. For some people the social media replaced real human companionship and their lives developed a symbiotic relationship with the computer. It was a gateway to a new protected style of friendship and slowly drew the participant away from dealing with reality.
Another negative impact was that social media allowed for bullying others to be taken to new heights often resulting in the suicide of many vulnerable social media participants. This is an issue that has not been solved yet even though social media companies work hard on improving their services and protection for its members.
A final negative aspect to be looked at here is the violation of a social media member’s privacy. Hackers and other computer users could retrieve personal information with a little intelligent internet searching. While this factor is due to some extent to the user’s internet ignorance, privacy is a very vulnerable field.
This does not take into account the many different social media outlets or businesses that can track a user through internet URLS and other technology addresses used by computers.
If one wants privacy then they really need to restrict what information they place on the social media services. In other words they need to return to the pre-dawn modern world and restrict their communication habits to primitive forms and not have too much social media contact.
The negative impact though has not slowed any of the social media members’ involvement in the popular communication outlets. The users, for the most part, have found ways to deal with those negative influences and protect them from any harm.
It is safe to say that the need for improved communication among a nation’s population was needed, the two primary sources for communication just were not meeting the growing need of people to interact with others and something had to be developed in order to fulfill the rising demand.
The impact can be seen almost anywhere, from politics to business to inter-family relationships and it would be hard for the world to return to the primitive stages of communication now that they have tasted the world of instant access to their friends, family and others.
Even with the negatives that are involved with the new social media forms of communicating and applying free speech, people would not like to return to a world that was absent any instant communication format.
1. Smarty, Ann, “Social Media and Society: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”, SEO Chat, 2017, http://www.seochat.com/c/a/social/social-media-and-society-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/
Accessed June 26, 2017
2. Ta, Jenny Q. “What Impact Has Social Media Truly Had On Society”, Business2Community, 2014, http://www.business2community.com/social-media/impact-social-media-truly-society-0974685#GWce0RoZlQADRsZe.99
Accessed June 26, 2017
© 2019 David Thiessen