Social media has allowed us to connect with old friends and coworkers we don’t hear from as often, while it has also provided the ability to connect with people with similar interests who we might never have met otherwise.
If social media did all this, it would be a real wonder of the world.
Unfortunately, as numerous studies have shown in recent years, social media has made many of us feel angry, sad, and sometimes isolated. Social networks have also been used to spread misinformation and disinformation and divide us.
How did no one see the potential dark side of social media when the technology was being introduced? Have the past lessons of the digital age – beginning with trolls, spam, bots and fake accounts – simply been ignored?
“For many years now, we have identified ourselves with the ‘digital age,’ where countless devices have emerged since the invention of the Internet. These devices have allowed us to achieve immediacy in sending messages, accessing information, and maintaining global connections. has allowed. To identify groups of people with similar interests, among other functions. If we recall platforms such as Hi5, MySpace and Facebook, the medium of photos, music, design, video games and entertainment in general It was common to socialize with them,” Professor Ubaldo Reyes, coordinator of the Business Administration Graduate Program at CETYS University, explained in an email.
Are we all guilty?
In many ways, social media can be compared to the Biblical “Garden of Eden,” but we weren’t so much locked out as we ruined the place – with a lot of help from the platforms.
“Social media have added features, becoming spaces for personal expression, brand promotion and news dissemination. Undoubtedly, the act of ‘liking’ and the concept of ‘followers’ have changed the dynamics of online relationships, allowing shared content Personal interactions have become just as important,” Reyes said.
Those characteristics gave rise to the need to engage – even if we didn’t always know who was engaging with whom, or why. Maybe this should have been a warning sign, but we went along with it.
“More than 20 years ago, social media was rooted in being fun, colorful and whimsical,” said Susan Schreiner, technology analyst at C4 Trends. “It was an exciting new way to communicate, whether creating, viewing, or sharing ideas and videos. From around 2002 to 2021 we saw the ‘golden age’ of new media. This era gave us consumer-focused platforms like MySpace in 2003. Apps provided by LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Snap, Instagram, WhatsApp, Hangouts, Slack, Zoom, Gmail, Dropbox, and more.”
As a result, there were no physical or material limitations. And for a while, it was still about the social aspects of our lives.
Schreiner said, “Social media was about building and enhancing relationships even at a distance, and over time it evolved into a form of social validation and recognition of one’s personal and/or professional identity as well as a promotion channel “
about the moment
Additionally, social media made the rapid leap toward mobile, resulting in more real-time, up-to-the-minute updates and visual experiences.
“Although this freed people up to create and broadcast their own personal reality shows to the world, in essence, this more curated experience resulted in people sharing less authentic personalities, often without regard to themselves, their influence and/or power. “—rather than show or portray an ambivalent view of who they really were,” Schreiner suggested.
Over the past decade, social media has evolved as a tool for the democratization of communication, and has become a medium where brands market products, while camps increasingly form around ideological beliefs.
Then came Covid-19.
Schreiner added, “The pandemic, with its social isolation and lack of vibrant social interaction, has opened the door to an accelerating increase in political polarization, conspiracy theories, hate speech, fear-mongering, bullying, and worse.” ” “There were segments of the population that were easily gullible – because people relied on a sense of belonging through social media and echo chambers that connected them to their ‘crowd’.”
divided into their own camps
At the same time, it seems that many have lost their ability to listen and listen to different viewpoints, with discussion becoming an intolerant binary choice, “my way or the highway.” This happened because social platforms became the primary source of news and information for many users – who were more likely to trust people they knew or followed, even if the stories were not so reliable.
This has been made worse as social media platforms have tried to keep users engaged. The more time we spend arguing with strangers, doomscrolling, or following the latest conspiracy theory, the better it is for companies’ bottom lines.
“Increasingly, social media safety guardrails have been removed or impaired,” Schreiner warned. “Some sites are hiding behind ‘free speech’ because they play for clicks rather than provide a safe forum for conversation, civil discourse and where people can agree to disagree without threat or harm. “
It would be easy to suggest that the solution would be to simply “sign off,” but like the rest of the Internet, social media is now woven into our daily lives.
Furthermore, social media still offers many positive things. We just need to focus more on its ability to bring us together, and less on arguing with strangers.
“Social media has transformed the way we understand our market, do business, meet needs and personalize services, becoming a powerful force in today’s society,” Reyes said. “The growth and influence of social media will continue to drive study, research, planning, and implementing innovative strategies to help achieve business goals.”
And maybe it could become the place where we share our vacation photos with friends.