Social Media Essay

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Social media and social networking seem to play an imperative part of peoples lives around the world. There are some who debate whether it is improving or crippling communication skills. Sitting behind a computer communicating with cyber friends can be easy and fun but can weaken a person's verbal communication skills. I will not only focus on the negative impacts on communication because there are some positive impacts on communication through social media. I will explore how social media and networking strengthens and weakens communication.

Communication is defined as the act or an instance of communicating; the imparting or exchange of information, ideas, or feelings. (Collins, 2009). Communication involves the transfer of meaning or information from one person or group to others. (Baack, 2012). It is an integral part of everyone's life.

"All communication areas are significant in that each area represents a system that operates within a broader system of destination management, and contributes to its overall efficiency. However, each area of communication has its own characteristics and the knowledge of these characteristics will ultimately help establish an efficient communication pattern. There can be no argument that technology has had a major impact on the world and how people communicate." (Omrcen, 2009)

Accessibility that one has to the internet through smart phones, tablets, computers, and other mobile devices has made accessing information and connecting with people a touch away in some cases. People are communicating almost all day every day through texting, e-mail, and the ever-expanding social media. Because it has had such a modern explosion in popularity and usage, social media has become the new norm when it comes to communicating everything from huge life events like engagements and the birth of children to minute particulars like what one ate for dinner. Social media has had one of the most substantial impacts on how people communicate within the past decade.

The internet has a greater impact on people today than ever before. It has been a continual source of news, entertainment, and education for users around the world for more than 20 years. However, the most innovative of its technologies, social media, did not achieve mainstream popularity until about ten years ago. Facebook, Twitter, and similar services are becoming the most visited destinations on the internet. These websites allow users to quickly and easily share pictures, links, ideas, and messages with other users; theoretically facilitating social interaction. These services, through a combination of accessibility, simplicity, and intuitive design promote positive social behavior by encouraging interaction among friends, relatives, and co-workers; facilitating communication between individuals, and fostering a profound sense of community.

Social media is a rising trends in the world today. Communication skills are exemplified by use of social media networking. Social media networking allows for a communication outlet. Social media is being utilized by students, parents, businesses, and religious organizations. It is being used in many forms by many different platforms for many reasons. The transmission device is anything that carries a message, including sound waves, light waves, pieces of paper, mobile-phone signals and screens, the Internet, computer monitors, billboards, radio and television signals, and an endless number of additional carriers (Baack, 2012). Social media is employing many transmission devices, including mobile devices and computers.

I am interested in the role social media plays in communication because I use some form every day and notice that it is becoming a rising trend. I have found myself checking my Facebook page without even thinking about it. I have also noticed that some friends post frequently and tell everything they are doing via status updates. The social network, Twitter, appears to be one of their first choices with celebrities' tweets being the topic of many news discussions. At the bottom of nearly every commercial, there is a Facebook/Twitter link.

Social networks like Facebook and Twitter have always encouraged their subscribers to come up with an online persona. They then build a personal network of friends that connects to an open worldwide community (Griffith & Tengnah, 2009). Information is now shared freely between the two. These parties can communicate either publicly (writing on 'walls') or via the more discrete personal messages.

Apart from connecting to a network of friends, a subscriber can join community groups with a specific interest. Here, the subscribers discuss different issues touching on that interest. More often than not, events are created where physical meetings are arranged. Briggs found out that an average Facebook user is connected to around 80 community groups (Griffith &Tengnah, 2009). Most of these groups encourage the subscribers to give suggestions on how they should be run and to engage in debates. They also provide a social forum for members to interact amongst each other and with the leaders of the groups.

There are other social sites like YouTube that give users a platform to upload and share videos. Here, users post videos of themselves for other users to view. YouTube has been a great platform for musicians and film producers as their fans can easily access their music videos. Other social sites like MySpace have also given users the platform to post videos on their profiles. Such sites enable easy access to a variety of videos like music, sports, documentaries, and movies.

Social media has lessened the use verbal communication and increased the use of online messaging. People nowadays can have 'phone conversations' over their computers. This has been enabled by the development of social sites such as Skype. Here, people that are connected will communicate by word of mouth. This is unlike Facebook and Twitter where the mode of communication is by writing.

Most of the social sites have now incorporated webcams for their subscribers. Webcams enables 'friends' to have a one on one conversation while at the same time watching each other. This communication is more private and very effective as subscribers get to see each other. There has really been an increase in popularity in webcam conversations.

Facebook, Twitter, and Skype are popular social media platforms millions utilize daily. It is extremely rare to come across anyone in today's society who does not have an account on one of these platforms. Social media is not only people used by people but by businesses and organizations, as well. Most sites that I visit online has a link to their Facebook page,

Qualman, 2009 states:

"Social media touches nearly every facet of our personal and business lives. In business, it is not just for Marketing and Public Relations department. Rather it is imperative for social media to be a part of the company's overall strategy. Social media is living and breathing and it touches every part of a company from Customer Service to frontline sales, even Human Resources and Information Technology." (p.13)

With the rising growth of social media networking, businesses are turning to it as a means of advertisement. It allows businesses and organizations to reach millions of users on a platform they are using on a daily basis. Businesses and organizations reach numerous users on Facebook by creating pages and offering promotions and discounts to get fans. If there is someone on your page who is a fan of their page, your friends can share post that are displayed in your newsfeeds. This allows the business to reach the fan and the friends of the fans.

It is important to realize that as social media evolves the realm of communication changes. The technological advances added to social media changes the way we communicate with people on daily basis. It has made communication quicker and more efficient. Social media sites like Facebook send daily reminder of friend birthdays. Instead of picking up the phone and traditionally wishing someone birthday greetings, you can simply type your birthday greeting on their page. This has eliminated the need to make a phone call or send a greeting card

While receiving a birthday message from your friends online is okay, it feels impersonal. The feeling of opening a greeting card and reading a message someone picked out for you, fills my heart with warmth. That personal effect is not felt from a message left on a page I have created online and in most cases, I do not read them.

Almost everyone young and old use social media in some fashion. Twitter is popular social platform for celebrities. I often watch the news and there is a story of what some celebrity tweeted to their fans or other celebrities. The use of social media and networking has elevated communication to a higher platform. It has helped social organization, businesses, churches and individuals reach audiences in which they could not reach before. It has even be used in politics with President Obama using twitter to keep Americans posted on what is happening in the government,

The negative effects of social media on communication are the effect it can have on kids through cyber bullying and unwanted exposure. Younger people are using mass communication without the without realizing the consequences. (Wallis, 2012). There has been instances where young folks have committed suicide as the result of negative things that have been posted about them on the internet, Parental controls are available to ensure website are access that are inappropriate for certain age groups but they cannot protect young folks from what is being posted by their peers. Social media and networking is often used as an outlet and peers can post things that are potentially hurting to others.

With the emergence and growth of social media there are benefits and disadvantages to the way communication is impacted. The real question is whether the benefits surpassed the disadvantages. I believe that the benefits of social media are helpful to the world and we communicate. As with anything, there will be disadvantages and it will be used to do things that it was not originally intended.

Inmates in prison have access to social media and networking allowing them to stay connected to what is happening in the outside world. The television is slowly becoming obsolete with Facebook, Twitter and other sites providing news at faster rates then the local news at 10pm. The news station and newspaper also have Facebook and Twitter accounts that provide new stories, as they are unfolding.

The ability to access social platforms via computers, tablets, and cellphones allows you access at all times throughout the day. The convenience and ease of access leads to social media and network addictions. Anyone who has a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account have seen the user who is logged in all the time. There are some users who post everything they are doing throughout the day, which can be dangerous.

Facebook also lets you to make groups, have applications and have as many friends as you want - this assists you with getting in touch with people who like what you like, play games online, and make additional friends. One thing it lacks in is security from pedophiles. There is no 'report button' to report users, even if they are irritating you. It also has a social bookmarking websites, allowing you to keep your favorite websites in one place, as well as all your friends. Another wonderful idea only integrated by Facebook is the friend finder. It permits you to find friends in an instant, allowing you to connect to friends.

If you page is not private and can only be accessed by your friends, when you post your everyday activities it allows users to know your location and what you are doing. If you post that you will be going on vacation for the next couple of days, it lets potential burglars know that you are not at home and can lead to your home being broken into.

There is no general rulebook on the do's and don'ts on how to effectively use social media without making yourself vulnerable. Privacy has been become a rising issue in social media and networking with the addition of locations and gps tracking. Recently, Facebook has made it easier to understand and adjust your privacy settings but it is up to the user to ensure their privacy is protected.

The best way to protect your privacy is to be mindful of what you post and who can access and view what you are posting. I suggest not posting anything on the social media and networking sites that you do not want broadcasting to everyone. Although you believe your family and friends are viewing what you are posting, anyone can access it.

Communication has improved greatly by emerges and continual growth of social media. Everyone from churches to schools use it to communicate with users. Social media has evolved communication to new heights. The ease of access and growth makes it very beneficial to everyone from pastors to politicians. As social media evolves, communication will improve and continue to soar to new heights. The positive impact on communication definitely overcomes the negative and makes it very beneficial.