Sociability is defined as the instance of being sociable. Since the days of MySpace the use of social networking (otherwise known as social media) has increased drastically. Today it seems everyone has a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Social media is great for those who want keep in touch with old friends. News corporations also take advantage of the power of social networking to spread stories faster. However, with all of these advantages come disadvantages.
More or less, talking through social media websites is almost to equivalent to talking to a wall. There is no face-to-face interaction. It’s becoming the norm in younger generations to prefer an online interaction. It’s more like anti-social media. “You get the same information just as if you were in a conversation, but it’s just a few clicks away and no actual conversation takes place,” said Jesse Gillette, a junior at the University at Albany. “It can’t replace real human interaction in its current form.”
There is information that should be expressed face to face. “If you have news you’d like to share with someone and do it via social media, it’s not as personal as it would be one on one,” said Lauren Gravagna, a student at Suffolk County Community College. “I found out my cousin was getting married within minutes of seeing it on Facebook, which sucked.”
The power of today’s technology has many people constantly updating their feed on the go. Most of us know at least one person who’s constantly updating their Facebook more than once a day. When does social networking become too much? It’s as if we’ve begun to think if it’s not posted online, it didn’t happen.
Websites such as Instagram and Twitter give people more of an advantage to create a false persona. “I believe social media helps you connect to a larger audience in an easy and convenient way,” said Sam Rodriguez, a student a Suffolk County Community College. “It can consume an individual’s life and users are free to be something they’re actually not.” As a user’s follower count rises, so might their ego.
Let’s face it; most of us use social media because we’re bored. We stare at a screen looking for some kind of entertainment. Way back before the Internet was even popular people went outside and interacted with their peers, now that interaction has been cut short with digital screens in out way.
There seems to be this perception that if a posted photo or status doesn’t get enough likes or any at all then the users post simply was not “cool” enough. People tend to rely on social media as a means to feel good about themselves. “I think social media can be good for connection to people and sharing ideas,” said Nicole Klohman, a junior at the University at Albany. “Although it can be distracting and used for the wrong reasons.” Does the world really care about all the fancy dinners your boyfriend takes you out to or how many likes you get on your selfies? “We require updates constantly on information that doesn’t affect us at all,” said Jack Celuch, a junior at the University at Albany.
Life’s meant to be enjoyed at the expense of the individual. Why do we feel the need to share each and every moment online. It almost takes away the personal value of some of the things we encounter. Why do some rely on the opinion of others to determine whether or not their post is cool? Just because your post isn’t as popular as someone else’s, shouldn’t define how you reflect back on it. “I think that they cause us to become obsessed with the public image we present to the world,” said Celuch. “For example due to the app Instagram, I believe we no longer capture an event for what it really is.”
For news corporations such as CNN and MSNBC, however, social media is a great way for stories to spread instantaneously to a large audience. With every upside there is always a catch. This may cause some of the information to be false or misleading. “News reporters could tweet something that they received from a source without first checking it with another source for verification,” said James O’Hagan, a senior at Ithaca College.
Following breaking news stories is useful for those who want to keep tabs on what’s happening in the world; however what happens when that information is inaccurate? Inaccuracy in the news has been known to cause panic and distress in society. “Immediacy is convenient, but without premeditation, it can cause some concern,” said O’Hagan. This may cause some social media users to be cautious of the news they read on websites such as Twitter, even if the tweet comes from a reputable news outlet.
Have we as a society become so infatuated with ourselves we feel the need to post every moment online? With social media getting to know somebody becomes too easy, and almost impersonal. Future generations are learning to communicate better via social media than face to face, which is a problem. “I think people need to get off their computer and start interacting with people, disconnect to connect,” said Rachel Kukuliev, a Resident Assistant as the University at Albany.
Social media may have its benefits, but at what cost? Is it really as necessary as we think? Take a look at past generations, before the Internet existed. There were no such things as “Selfies” or “Likes,” people communicated with each other over the phone or in person. Social media certainly has and will continue to affect the way we communicate.