New World of Communication | Teen Ink

New World of Communication

April 18, 2016
By ElizabethL9 BRONZE, Lexington, Kentucky
ElizabethL9 BRONZE, Lexington, Kentucky
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Is change really a bad thing? As Jennifer Brannock Cox, professor of Communication Arts at Salisbury University, once wrote, “Love it or hate it, social media has become the next ‘big thing’, revolutionizing how humans communicate…” No matter what a person’s view is on the subject, it’s obvious that social media has created a ‘new world’. There is no stopping it, which may not necessarily mean that it’s unwelcoming to our society; it has helped shape the way we live today.  Without the technology that we have today we still would have been able to function, but one thing is for sure, it has helped us in a variety of ways. Social media has helped our ability to communicate effectively by connecting us with people both near and far, allowing us to make a change in the world, and is expanding our knowledge to help us educationally.


Social media is opening up many new doors for how we talk to others. Breakthroughs in technology have allowed people to connect with others, whether that be family or friends that live far away. From personal experience I know that it’s nice knowing that you can still stay connected with people that don’t live close. When I first got my iPad I would FaceTime my cousin that lives in Bardstown everyday just to talk to her and ask about how everything was going. This allowed me to stay connected with her and the rest of my family even without communicating face to face.Besides FaceTime there are other ways that people communicate with each other.There are many social media sites that allow for this type of communication. Most claim that the reason for using these sites is to stay in touch with family. Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project shows that “roughly two thirds (67%) of social media users say that staying in touch with current friends and family members is a major reason they use social media sites.” Social media is a key part to keeping families connected and without it some may not be able to talk to their loved ones as often.


According to Cox, giving “users the ability to connect based on shared interests rather than proximity”   is helping to create new relationships with people that you might not have known before. Social media has now been known for creating new relationships since there is no limit on how far a person can be. Other sites such as Facebook and Instagram allow people to share pictures and comments with others. Studies show that these sites are responsible for many friendships/relationships. Specifically, “more than half [of teenagers] are making friends online. Fifty-seven percent of teens have connected with someone on social media or through online games that they wouldn’t have necessarily met in real life,” according to a Teen Vogue article discussing how social media has changed the way we communicate. Many friendships can start from a simple ‘like’ of a picture or tweet; we see it all the time. This shows that social media can help make new friendships and connect us with others that we aren’t able to in real life.


Social media opens many new doors and opportunities. However some may say that “social media sites offer us the opportunity to express ourselves in new ways, but they also create potential for us to harm ourselves”, as stated by Jennifer Brannock Cox, or that these sites create an easy way for people to get ahold of others personal information since there is that choice of sharing it online. This is true, but there many ways to prevent this from happening. Social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) give the user the option to make his/her account private to where they can control who sees the stuff they post and who doesn’t. In fact there have been many studies that show that most people online have a private account. Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project shows that,  “26% of teen social media users say they post fake information on their profile to help protect their privacy…” and that “60% of Facebook users are private (only family/friends).” This shows that there are ways to keep your private information private and that over half of users choose to keep it that way. Also it always depends on how a person uses it whether they want to share that information or not, you can’t just make the assumption that social media is harmful based on how few people use it.


Social media has other positives besides just how it connects us socially, it has also helped our ability to spread news/information quickly. The minute something good or bad happens almost every social media site blows up including every detail of the event. The spread of news has also given people a chance to have a say in the world or even the power to make a difference. One of the most noticeable stories that shows how the spread of news can give people a voice is when the people of Egypt used social media in order to come together and make an effort to overthrow the government. Jennifer Brannock Cox states that “when dissidents’ opposition to leadership regimes were silenced in public, they took to sites like Twitter and Facebook to spread their messages and organize protests that eventually toppled the governments in those countries.” The spread of the news about Egypt gave insight to others about what was happening in that country and eventually gave citizens that lived there and opportunity to speak out and voice the opinion about the government. Without social media there would have been no voicing their opinion and trying to change the outcome of their country. Cox also states that as Egypt went through this time “the rest of the world followed issues they didn’t even know existed and watched the revolutions.” This shows that not only did it change Egypt, but it also influenced other countries by just informing them about what was going on around them. Sharing information among countries helps them understand others better, which could also help them improve their own country.


Beyond even the window of opportunity given to the people to voice their opinion, social media is also responsible for expanding our knowledge in a way that is educationally helping us. Some say that social media has caused them to write with incorrect grammar based on the limiting factors on Twitter. However, in reality grammar is said to change based on how things around us change, so it makes sense that the way we write is changing. In fact studies have shown that social media has actually improved writing in new ways. Connie Elbe, an English professor at the University of North Carolina states that “contemporary tongue do not think that bad grammar is necessarily destroying the English language. Instead, some posit, it may be making the way we talk and write more vibrant and relevant.” These changes that are considered incorrect can actually help the reader understand the writing better and they may be able to relate to it more. Isn’t that what matters too? Writing should be easy to understand anyway, so whether the grammar is ‘correct’ or not it shouldn’t matter as long as it is understandable. This modern phenomenon of writing has also caused people like, Simon Kuper, a writer of Financial Times writes in her article “How Social Media Improved Writing”, that “we’re now in the most literate age in history.”


Social media shouldn’t be associated with its negative reputation as much as it is when there are many ways that it has helped us. Many of the negatives people argue against it have to do with the choices that people make, but you can’t judge something such as the power of communication that social media has based on that. Without social media people wouldn’t know what to do. We wouldn’t be able to know what’s going on around us or keep in touch with the people that aren’t in our proximity. Overall social media has helped our world more than hurt it and is still evolving how we go about our daily lives. We should just accept that it is going to stay and take into account the remarkable things it has done for us.

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