The Good, The Bad, The Ugly of Social Media

With the increasing access to technology, it has become extremely easy to develop different forms of communication rather than the good ‘ol face to face interaction. Social media has grown into the fastest way in which people can share their thoughts, information and opinions. Social media has amazing benefits in terms of networking, spreading ideas and news. It is a great way to raise awareness, to market a business and to promote projects. Overall, social media is a new and innovative way to get information out to various audiences of people. There is no limit to who social media can reach. However, as much as social media has positive outcomes, it is also being abused and overused as a means of communication. Many people are replacing real life physical communication with the touch of a finger. Just like smart phones are replacing clocks, calendars, maps, even penmanship, they are also replacing people.

It’s not exactly just smart phones and social media but cars, computers and other technologies that make day to day things easier are becoming much more valuable than simple mundane things that require little effort. In this new age of technology, we have become increasingly dependent on the easy accessibility of technologies’ various functions. It’s a force to get some people to walk to the corner instead of driving their car. It’s a force for someone to actually use a pen and paper rather than taking out their phones to type something in. It’s a force to sit at a dinner table with friends without someone, if not all checking their phones or referring to it a dozen times through out the course of a meal.
One of the most important elements of any human society is the ability to communicate, and the lack of it, worries me the most. I am an avid social media user. I hold an instagram, twitter and facebook account for various purposes. I have always thought social media was a way to bring people together but what I am seeing is that the abuse of social media is actually driving people apart. Whether it be the growing incompetence of being able to fully communicate in person or the misinterpretation of a tweet, text or picture captions, social media seems to start a whole bunch of unnecessary drama than it was created to. Out of all the social media accounts I have, Twitter is by far the most beneficial and frustrating one. I’ve seen campaigns against street harassment, raising awareness of issues going on in places such as Venezuela, Nigeria, Ferguson, Gaza and other amazing ideas such as promoting positive body image, spread like wild fire. I also witness bashing of women of all ages, dirty laundry being washed and hung to dry, and the occasional argument that escalates too quickly, unfold on twitter.

I try my best to refrain from ever getting into debates or attempted discussions on Twitter because what I have found on many occasions is that if you don’t agree with someone, they are gunning for you anyway possible. Of course, every one is entitled to their own opinion but everyone also has a right to disagree and respond to something, not to start any trouble but to understand each other’s thought process. There is a story behind every opinion. However, Twitter, much like every other social media gives people a platform in which they can say just about anything and everything they want to. I’ve seen a user’s tweets range from what they wished they had for breakfast, how much they hate their job to policing of women’s bodies and how to determine who is a “thot” followed by the girl’s sexual history. Just writing this, I’m asking myself, “Is this even real? Do people actually do this stuff?” and yes, it is real, we’ve all seen, we have either participated in such cruelties or pretended to ignore it but bring it up in a conversation after.

Getting to my actual point, recent events reminded me exactly why I don’t engage in discussions on Twitter. Some people use Twitter to validate their lives and anything that goes against it is an insult. The problem with discussing any matter on Twitter, is that your tone is never received the way in which you actually meant it. First of all, you cannot determine a person’s tone through a tweet or a text. No emotions, unless you outright declare them should ever be attached to something so insignificant as a tweet. How can one person read a tweet and without any doubt determine that there is more to intepret than just the words they read? Some people, those who depend on twitter as they would their morning coffee, enjoy jumping in front of a bullet. They seek any situation which will allow them to both be offended and the chance to offend someone. A discussion between two people or a group of people should and can be done without offending and being defensive. First, you must disassociate your worth from the amount of followers you have and the retweets you receive. Second, understand that a disagreement is in no way attacking your personal character. Finally, your twitter reputation is not in jeopardy if someone either corrects you or shares an opposing idea. The fact that anyone has a twitter reputation is sad and a little pathetic if you ask me. But you don’t have to ask me, isn’t that the negative and positive of freedom of expression and social media?

Twitter seems to be it’s own unique little world. It’s like the world’s biggest chat room, everyone is talking at once. Everyone is trying to get their point across. And most people are just saying things for the shock factor. I still think Twitter is the most beneficial and frustrating methods of social media. Twitter allows great things to happen, great dialogue ad exchange of ideas. Twitter also allows people to create an image of themselves that is just not them. It allows people to feel somewhat superior than they would be in real life yet, their alter egos are much more fragile then their actual personalities. Let’s just say, the front is real.

Social media can downright create amazing opportunities but some of it’s users need a bit of an attitude adjustment. The same fools, the ones who tweet to create chaos, who tweet for the shock factors give social media it’s terrible name, and somehow they seem to get the most attention and following. Put your energy into somethng that deserves the attention, there are plenty of events and topics relevant world wide that could use that wasted energy. Remember, you are what you tweet, so be careful what you choose to put out, who you choose to engage with and what you choose to say, because social media can cost more than an unfollow or a block, now a days, it’s costing people their jobs, respect and integrity which is worth a lot more.

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