Digitalization is guiding the modern world, affecting various spheres of everyday life, from finances to art. Many studies and conversations related to the new technology have been focusing on social media, and for an evident reason. These platforms facilitate immediate opinion exchange and allow people to grow their contact networks to include their friends from all over the world. Yet, at the same time, social media has been a double-edged sword ever since its establishment. Negative and positive consequences of the social media usage alike have been affecting real-life communication skills and processes of its users. This paper aims at examining how exactly social media affect face-to-face conversations today, focusing on the negative factors.
The main risk associated with social media when it comes to real-life human communication is universally known, since it shows up in any debate on the digital social politics. Researchers are concerned with how the widespread popularity of social networks can decrease the amount of face-to-face conversations and weaken the personal bonds that get formed in the process. Many, if not most, social media can easily become addictive due to its ability to tailor content to a user’s interests and stimulate their self-esteem. Such addictions and lack of enthusiasm towards human contact offline is often linked to users having developed an online persona they like more than their actual self (Subramanian 71).
In more severe cases, Internet addiction leaves the person unable to separate virtual world from reality, whereas in milder unnecessarily active social media users have conversational difficulties. It is a well-known fact that accepted behavioral norms on social networks are significantly less strict than offline. The sense of anonymity, of being hidden underneath a profile picture, allows one to get used to liberties they would not allow themselves in real life.
Studies have also found the correlation between active usage of the social media and unstable self-image and decrease of self-esteem. Social networks connect variety of different users between each other, helping individuals to get exposed to everyone’s lifestyles. Naturally, sometimes said lifestyles differ drastically, which can lead to a sense of inferiority in less socioeconomically advantaged users (Jan et al. 335). On a different side of things, social media users, particularly young women, use the networks to determine their attractiveness and compare it to the attractiveness of their peers.
Most of the times, the pictures they use as a guide are edited and filtered, and when the result of a beautification programme is perceived as a natural human look, it can be traumatic for one’s psyche. Both of these factors combined frequently traumatize active social media users, contributing to their insecurities and self-image issues. When applied to communication, these may lead to awkwardness, fear and even deliberate social withdrawal, caused by the unhealthy environment of social networks.
Structurally, social media has played a major role in the establishment of the quick international communication people now days are able to enjoy. It facilitates rapid conversations with people one has never met before, which may lead to interesting conversations or even friendships. Many online friendships are known for its’ intimacy, honestly and richness, since an online relationship is less likely to be one of convenience. Yet, the negative impacts of these platforms are significant, prevalent and difficult to deal with, which is why it is important for these topics to be consistently discussed.
Jan, Muqaddas, Soomro, Sanobia and Ahmad, Nawaz. Impact of Social Media on Self-Esteem. European Scientific Journal, 13(23), 2017, 329-341. Web.
Subramanian, Kalpathi. Influence of Social Media in Interpersonal Communication. International Journal Of Scientific Progress And Research, 38(109), 2017,70-75. Web.