By: Leilah Doran
Ryan Kahn, career coach and television personality, has said, “Content is fire, social media is gasoline.” It could be said that social media leads to issues like drama, decrease in self-esteem, and so on, but is this what we really see? Or, is social media actually providing the people with valuable information?
How is social media defined? If you ask Google, it will say, “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.” Social networking is key to our generation. However, it is taken advantage of and causes disruptions. Luis Torres, junior, mentions, “I know some people who are addicted to social media and it kind of controls their life… in a negative way; it makes them want to be someone they’re not.” Social media is very addicting to some people, which leads to other issues because it takes over your ability to control. “... that impulse control is the tricky thing,” says Aimee Bilderback, Assistant Head of School. “Control is an issue with social media, but if we knew how to control ourselves, then would social media have more positive affects? Opinions and perspectives on this topic have pros and cons, so do the neurological and psychological impacts that have been researched. Brain researchers at Rutgers University, Newark were featured in Social Media On Your Mind: The Neuroscience Behind the Hype, investigate how social media affects the brain. It states, “What is known is that social media is now firmly part of our society and we have the choice to control it or not.” Dr. Mauricio Delgado brings up how social media is used in daily lives. If it’s distracting you in class, causing you to not remember what was said in class, then you need to realize if it has become a compulsive behavior. Especially this generation, we are attached to our phones. To the point where it literally needs to be touching our bodies
Social media isn’t all that bad. Students aren’t really going to sit down and watch a presidential debate when they could be watching trending dance videos. But, somehow they are still aware of what is talked about. How is that? That is because social media keeps them updated and aware. So, maybe social media does have a positive impact. For example, Luis Torres brings up, “... it depends on who uses it. Like, for example, some people may post inspiring stuff to inspire other people or … people like ISIS, using social media to promote their propaganda.” Social media is the perfect outlet for people to bring awareness or promote ideas, even if they aren’t the best ideas, but it allows ideas to be expressed and gained. Bilderback expressed that, “Social media has made our lives more convenient in a lot of ways… you can learn about something you didn’t know about, it gives you ideas that you didn't think about before…”
Social media has successfully been able to provide us with more beneficial impacts, while also providing us with useful information that we can apply to the real world. Social media can teach you to be more aware of the choices you make and enable you to obtain more knowledge. For example, after watching the election, Torres says, “I went to social media to see how people reacted to the election and then riots started. So, it really took over the general population.” Why would we need to know about these riots? So we would understand what is going on around us because you may find yourself encountering this issue. Some other movements that are brought up on social media include the Black Lives Matter movement, the North Dakota Pipeline, environmental issues, and much more. Our generation is very fast pace and social media accompanies that. Bilderback mentions,“I thinks it’s the instant gratification of it [social media] and the quickness of it..” Also, Bilderback pointed out, “I heard there’s a study that we are reading more words than we used to read, but we do it in shorter pieces of snippets of things and it just adds up to more words that we are reading.” This is great because we need to read, and reading leads to more knowledge.
We can say that social media has proven to be a “friend” because it provides you with useful information, helps us connect, and enables us to discover. So, friend or foe? Based off of these points, social media is a friend.
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