The​ ​Impacts​ ​of​ ​Social​ ​Media​ ​Today

By: ​ John​ ​ Kim​

 

        The​ ​world​ ​today​ ​seems​ ​to​ ​be​ ​run​ ​by​ ​the​ ​media.​ ​The​ ​greatest​ ​information ​ sharing​sites, ​ like​ ​ Facebook,​ ​ Twitter,​ ​ Snapchat,​ ​ and​ ​ ​Instagram ​ dominates​​ ​the ​minds​​ ​of​  both​ young​ ​and​ ​old. 

        “Social​ ​media​ ​is ​ superior,​ ​ everyone​ ​ ​uses​ ​it. ​​Even ​​the​ ​teachers​ ​use​ ​social​ ​media these ​ days,”​ ​said Ashton​ ​ Long,​ ​ a​ ​ sophomore at Estes Park High School.​

        Many ​ might​​ ​argue​ ​that​ ​social ​​media ​ is​ ​ blocking​ ​ the​ ​ way​ ​ ​of ​ traditional​ ​ face​ ​ ​to ​ face​ communication​ ​and​ ​lessening​ ​the​ ​human​ ​social ​ ​construct.​  Throwing​ ​ all​ ​ memes,​ ​ selfies and​ ​cat ​ videos​ ​ aside,​ ​ ​is ​ ​social ​ media​ ​ ruining​ ​​the​ ​human ​ social construct?​ 

        Social ​ media​ ​ has​ ​ been​ ​ with​ ​ humanity​ ​ ​since​ the​​ first​​ postal​ ​ system​ ​ back​ ​ ​in ​ 550​ B.C.​ ​in​ ​Persia.​ This​ ​ ancient​​  form​ ​​of ​ delivery​ ​ would​ ​ become​ ​ ​more ​ known​ ​ and​ ​ ​used ​ for​ the​ ​next​ ​many​ ​centuries. 

        In ​ 1792​ , ​ the​ ​ newest​ ​ form​ ​ of​ ​ social​ ​ media​ ​ ​would​  be​ ​ the​ ​ telegraph.​ ​ This​ ​ ​innovation allowed​ people​ ​ ​to​ ​send​ ​messages​ ​to​ others​ ​​hundreds,​ ​and​ ​eventually​ ​thousands ​​of miles ​ away​ ​ in​ ​ an​ ​ hour.​

        In​ ​1890​ ​to​ 1891​ , ​​two ​ innovations​ ​ that​ ​ would​ ​ send​ ​ messages​ ​ even​​ ​faster​ ​had appeared. ​ The​ ​ telephone​ ​ and​ ​ radio.​ ​ With​ ​ ​these ​ ​new ​ devices,​ ​ ​one ​ could​ ​ send​ messages,​ ​deliver​ ​news, ​​and​ ​provide​ ​entertainment​ ​to​ ​people​ ​from​ ​the​ ​east​ ​coast​ to​​ ​the west ​​coast.

        Technology​ ​has​ ​only​ ​advanced​ ​further ​ from​ ​ there.​ ​ Today​​  we​ ​ have​ ​ the​ ​ internet,​ which ​ has​ ​ the​ ​ ability​​ ​to​ transfer​​ ​data​ ​from​ one​​ side​​ of​​ ​the ​​world​ ​to​ the​​ other​ ​in​​ ​seconds.

        All​ ​this​ is​ ​ social​​ ​media. 

        “Social ​ media​ ​ ​is​ ​used​ ​for​ ​wonderful​ ​things,​ ​but​ ​often​ ​used​ for​ ​​stupid​ ​cats,” ​​Jaden Kilbourn,​ a​​ ​sophomore​ ​said.

        Social​ ​media​ ​has​ ​allowed​ ​people​ ​to​ ​increase​ ​relations,​ ​share​ ​ideas,​ ​and communicate ​ with​ ​ others​ ​ while​ ​ ​staying​ ​at​ ​the​ ​comfort​ ​of​ ​their​ ​homes.​ ​Of​ course,​​ ​face​ ​to face ​ communication​ ​ still​ ​​remains​ ​as​ ​a​ ​common​ ​practice,​ ​but​ without​ ​​phones ​and​ computers, ​ learning​ ​ about​ ​ the​ ​ places​ ​ beyond​ ​ their​ ​ own​​ will​​  be​ ​ hard.​

        “Technology​ keeps​ ​ moving​ ​ forward.​ ​ ​There ​ ​are ​ newer​ ​ and​ ​ newer​ ​ ways​ ​ to​​  interact.​ Many​ ​of​ ​them, like​ cell​ ​ phones​ ​ and​ ​ Twitter, become​ ​ ​widely​ ​popular,​ ​even ​​in​ vastly​ different ​ cultures​ ​ and​ ​ countries.​ ​ They​ ​ must​ ​ ​be ​ ​ fulfilling ​​some​ ​basic​ ​human​ need,”​​ ​said Anna ​ Caltabiano​ ​ from​ ​ Huffpost.​ 

        The​ golden​ ​ ​age​ ​of​ ​communication​ ​has​ ​made​ ​it​  easier​ ​ for​ ​ people​ ​ to​ ​ connect​ ​ and​ communicate​ ​with​ ​people​ ​we​ ​have​ ​never​ ​met ​​before,​ ​living ​​on​ ​the​ ​other​ ​side​ ​of​ ​the globe.

        “Lets​ ​more​ ​people​ ​interact​ ​with​ ​other​ ​people ​ ​more​  than​ ​ ever.​ ​ People​ ​ can​ ​ connect​ more​ ​and​ ​more​ ​with​ ​social​ ​media,”​ ​Jarrod​ ​Land,​ a​​ ​sophomore​ ​said.

        Back​ ​before​ ​Facebook​ ​and​ ​Snapchat,​ ​the​ ​world​ ​was​ ​only​ ​limited ​ to​ ​ what​ ​ one​ saw.​ ​Social​ ​media​ ​might​ ​be​ ​the​ ​beginning​ ​of​ ​an​ ​age​ ​of​ ​information,​ ​but ​​many​ ​wonder​ ​if social​ ​media ​ can​ ​ be​ ​ bad​ ​ for​ ​ society.​

        In​ ​a​ survey​ ​ ​done​ ​in ​the​​ ​Crest ​ Girls’​ ​ Academy​​  in​​ ​London​ ​found ​ that​​ 75​%​ ​of​ ​those questioned ​ did​ ​ not​ ​ like​ ​ the​ ​ idea​ ​ of​ ​ sleeping​ ​ with​ ​ ​their​  phones​ ​ and​ ​ 37​ % ​ reported​ ​ ​that social ​ media​ ​ had​ ​ left​​ ​them​ ​sleep-deprived.

        Problems ​ like​ ​​cyberbullying​ ​and​ ​online​ ​harassment​ is​ ​​on​ ​an​ ​all-time​ ​high. ​​A survey ​ done​ ​ in​ ​ 2017​  ​by​​ ​PEW​ ​Research​ ​Center​ ​found​ ​that​ ​one​ in​​ ​four​ ​Americans experienced ​ online​ ​ harassment,​ ​ and​ ​ 62​ % ​ consider​ ​ ​it ​ a​ ​major​​ ​problem. 

        An ​ alarming​ ​ example​ ​ of​ ​ negative​ ​ social​ ​ ​media ​ are​ ​the​ ​ online​​  suicide​ ​ clubs​ ​ in​ Japan. ​ Suicidal​ ​ ​people​ ​find​ ​each​ ​other​ ​online,​ ​proceed​ ​to​ ​meet​ up​​ ​somewhere, ​​and commit​ ​suicide​ ​together. ​ With​ ​ these​ ​ suicide​ ​ clubs,​ ​ people​ ​ ​will ​ ​be ​ able​ ​ ​to ​ meet​ ​ and​​  not​ be​ ​alone,​ ​although​ it​ ​​means ​ ​death​ ​in​ ​the​ ​end. 

        These ​ online​ ​ suicide​ ​ clubs​ ​ can​​ ​relate​ ​to​ ​the​ ​numerous​ ​suicide ​​pacts​ that​ happened​ ​throughout​ ​history. 

        A ​ suicide​ ​ ​pact​ ​is​ ​when​ ​one​ ​of​ ​two​ ​people,​ ​generally​ ​a ​​couple,​ ​commit​ ​suicide, particularly ​ for​ ​ a​ ​ non-ideological​ ​ ​reason.​ ​Online​ ​suicide​ ​clubs​ ​make​ ​these ​​pacts​ more​ nation-wide ​​and​ ​common,​ ​but​ ​would​ ​they​ ​have​  ​not​ ​committed​ ​suicide​ ​if​ ​they​ ​hadn’t​ ​had access ​ to​ ​ the​​ ​media? ​ The​​ answer​ ​is​​ probably​ ​ no.​ 

        Even ​ though​ ​ the​ ​ media​ ​ could​​ ​be​ ​used​ ​for​ ​suicide,​ ​it​ ​can​ ​also​ ​help ​​with​ ​these ​​kind of​ ​cases.​ ​Suicidal​ ​people​ ​can​ ​find​ ​help​ ​online ​ on​ ​ the​ ​ media​​  on​ ​ various​ ​ sites​ ​ such​​  ​as ​ the​ National ​ Suicide​ ​ Prevention​ ​ Hotline,​ ​ the​ ​ American​ ​ Foundation​ ​ for​  ​Suicide​ ​Prevention,​ and ​ Suicide​ ​ Prevention​ ​​Resource​ ​Center. 

        People ​ in​ ​ distress​ ​ ​can​ ​communicate​ ​with ​​professionals ​​they​ ​never​ ​would’ve​ met​ if ​ it​ ​ weren’t​ ​ for​ ​​social​ ​media.

        “I ​ think​ ​ just​ ​ as​ ​ damaging​ ​ as​​  social​ ​ media​ ​ can​​ be,​  ​it​ ​​can​ ​…​ ​help​ ​to​ ​build self-confidence, ​ too,”​ ​ said​ ​ Eileen​ ​​Masio​ ​from​ ​CNN.

        Nobody ​ has​ ​ all​ ​ the​  ​correct​ ​​answers.​ ​After​ ​all,​ ​one​ ​can​ ​always​ argue​​ ​on​ ​both sides ​ of​ ​ the​ ​ argument.​ ​ Instead​ ​of asking​ whether​​ ​social​ ​media​ ​is​ ​good​ ​or​ ​bad ​​for​ ​the population, ​ we​ ​ should​ ​ be​ ​ asking​ ​ how​ ​ ​social ​ ​ media ​​can​ ​be​ ​used​ ​for​ ​good. 

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