One of the distinctive features of modern society is the global digitalization of all living environments. The emergence of social media in this context has a significant role in transforming the communication agenda, as it transforms the very essence of everyday interactions between individuals and between individuals and the environment. Social networks have transformed physical communication between people into a virtual field in which speed and brevity are valued. This essay will critically examine the role of social media in changing communication in contemporary society.
The massive proliferation of social media has caused the development of the Internet, in which each user can find a community of interest. The Internet does not have a single functional focus but instead allows individuals to spend time as they see fit, whether it be learning new knowledge, playing video games, or socializing (Meyer, 2021). Social media also has a set of purposes: the user can communicate, explore the news feed, or otherwise spend their leisure time depending on the functional spectrum of the platform. However, the primary thrust of social media, be it Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, is to support active communication between people. In this context, it is important to recognize that social networks are rapidly evolving and creating more opportunities for communication, adding video calling, voice messaging, and emoji functions to text messaging.
Global digitalization has affected the nature of communication, significantly changing the approach to what is commonly referred to as communication. Traditional forms of postal correspondence, in which each letter had to contain a coherent meaning and waiting for a reply took a long time, are no longer relevant to modern society. Social media has catalyzed the acceleration of communication such that the length of time it takes to respond to a message has shortened many times over (Duncombe, 2019). An individual who has written a message can receive a response within even a few seconds. In terms of communication skills, this metamorphosis creates a sense of urgency and a desire to get a response right away. This has the opposite effect because as social media has evolved, users have become aware of the need to respond almost instantly to convey their feelings and emotions to a pen-partner or a virtual audience.
The very need for correspondence while maintaining friendly contacts between people has also changed. It is true that the modern person does not always have free time for long conversations online, and the creation of quick reactions and emojis perfectly covers this lack of time. It is no longer necessary to write a text to support a person or to express our emotions regarding any news because the use of emojis, stickers, and reactions allows us to do the same in a shorter time. In this sense, it is also true to say that modern virtual speech tends to shorten the text and use slang forms (Jeresano & Carretero, 2022). When the same information can be conveyed in a more concise form, it solves the issue of time constraints.
One of the effects of social media on the essence of communication has been the need to share one’s news or accomplishments instantly to a broad audience. Using Meta’s Stories allows the individual to share their daily events, whether it be meeting with friends, creating art, or even taking selfies. In turn, the user expects an immediate response from their followers to such Stories, which reinforces the need for quick, emotional support fueled by social media.
In view of the above, the critical question is to determine whether social media actually makes us less sociable. The answer to this question will not be straightforward because communication as such between people has persisted and even multiplied, but the ideational essence of this communication has been transformed. The use of social networks does facilitate communication, so we cannot say that modern people is less communicative than our ancestors. However, unlike traditional forms of communication, modern communication has changed significantly structurally, so it may seem that communication is no longer as basic a necessity as it used to be. To put it another way, modern people is definitely not less sociable, but he tends to use other forms and methods of communication in his daily communication practices.
Meanwhile, social media continue to evolve and adapt to the social and global agenda. As such, it is to be expected that their continued evolution will lead to even more significant changes in communication as such and in society as a whole. In particular, the increasing availability of digital technologies is bringing increasingly culturally diverse communities online. This catalyzes the acceptance of ethnic minorities and the spread of a culture of tolerance, which means that the society of the future can be expected to be more tolerant and loyal thanks to the development of digital communications. In addition, we can accurately predict that in the future, there will be a change in the culture of written and spoken language and new slang and borrowed forms will appear, which will further influence the evolution of language systems. Thanks to social networks, the news function in the lives of individuals will also become stronger, since even today, such platforms help us learn almost instantly about new events and share our opinions about them. On the other hand, societies are becoming increasingly critical as a huge number of fakes are discovered on social networks every day (Yankoski et al., 2021). Thus, it should be emphasized that the development of social media and digital forms of communication is significantly changing society, and this influence will continue in the future.
Duncombe, C. (2019). The politics of Twitter: emotions and the power of social media. International Political Sociology, 13(4), 409-429.
Jeresano, E. M., & Carretero, M. D. (2022). Digital culture and social media slang of gen Z [PDF document]. Web.
Meyer, M. (2021). Thus spoke the internet: Social media sociologists and the importance of memeing in making meaning. Irish Journal of Sociology, 29(1), 118-123.
Yankoski, M., Scheirer, W., & Weninger, T. (2021). Meme warfare: AI countermeasures to disinformation should focus on popular, not perfect, fakes. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 77(3), 119-123.