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Rebecca Stewart
J. Carty
UWRIT 1102-31
24 November 2014
Social Media Influence
There are over seven billion people in the world today, and over 1.2 billion of them have
a Facebook account, more than 550 million subscribe to Twitter, and over 1 billion visit
YouTube each month (Fajardo 4). In todays society people have hectic lives and do not have
time to call their family members everyday, go to the store and buy a CD, or look at restaurant
reviews. Luckily social media allows people to do all those things in their free time through cell
phones/smartphones, laptops, tablets, or etc. Social media can be defined as forms of electronic
communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas,
personal messages, and other content. A major change in how social media has been used in the
past decade has made it more influential to society and the way people live their lives. It is often
debated whether social media has been beneficial or harmful to society overtime.
Over the past few decades social media has become more complex with its different type
of genres. Before social media became an everyday necessity, it was used to being a small group
of people together (compared to the amount of people we are able to communicate with today).
For example, social media was originally used for businesses to communicate (using bulletins)
(Lvheim 29). Some popular genres of social media are blogs, forums, social networks, news,
image and video sharing,
In the 1990s, social media was not popular because of the lack of access and simply
because it was inconvenient with peoples schedules (Lvheim 28). As we all know, technology

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is not hard to come by anymore. In fact, almost anywhere you go today you will see someone on
their smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Today, the issue is not so much access but the lack of option
not to access - the opportunities to disconnect and not network have narrowed down (Lvheim
28). Meaning, why would you give up your smartphone when you have access to online banking,
your music, your friends/family and work at your fingertips? It is extremely difficult for people
today to not use social media without falling off the grid.
The availability and usage of social media has skyrocketed in the past few years so much
in fact that social media has been referred to as addicting or hard to part with. Psychologist
Kimberly Young helps todays youth with their addiction to social media (Boyd 77). Young
states how social media can be like just any other addiction; its hard to wean yourself [off of].
Social media has gotten teens uncontrollably hooked simply because their social life depends on
it. I just kind of remind myself that its just a social networking site, says Andrew, a teen who
discusses his addiction with Young (Boyd 78). Teens who dont use social media often feel
disconnected or not up to speed on social activities and find making new relationships
challenging (Boyd 77).
In 2006 Mark Zuckerberg, cofounder of Facebook, said, by giving people the power to
share, were making the world more transparent (Lvheim). Social media has become a natural
part of everyday life, making the separation of online interaction and communication/real life
almost nonexistent (Lvheim 26). Not to mention that social media expands the audience/the
people we are able to interact with. Social media increases opportunities, such as meeting people,
jobs, getting involved with the community. Today, people share information and exchange ideas
through social media, which is the central concept: to bring people together.

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Social media has invented to idea of identity construction and identity security.
Security has become an issue with social media because people can pretend to be someone else
and also with the amount of information people post online. In the article Social Networking
Sites, Literacy, And The Authentic Identity Problem, Gilpin states that identity construction is a
sense making process by which people selectively organize their experiences into a coherent
sense of self. With social networking sites asking for your birthday, hometown, where to go to
eat, siblings, and pictures of you, it makes it extremely easy for someone to come along and
pretend to be you on a social networking site. Facebook, a social networking site, has recently
been associated with both identity construction and a lack of identity security by MTVs show
Catfish. Catfish is a reality/documentary show that shows the benefits and (mainly) the
dangers of online dating.
Overall, social media has become an important aspect of everyday life so much in fact it
has been referred to as addicting or "hard to part with." I chose social media as my topic because
almost everywhere you go someone is on some type of technology checking their email,
Facebook, or listening to music. Society has gotten use to relying on social media for several
reasons such as meeting people, jobs, getting involved with the community.

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Works Cited
Bauerlein, Mark. The Digital Divide: Arguments for and against Facebook, Google, Texting,
and the Age of Social Networking. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2011. Print.
Boyd, Danah. It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. , 2014. Print.
Fajardo, Jana K. "Virtual Influence." Military Review 94.1 (2014): 4-14. Academic Search
Complete. Web. 28 Oct. 2014
LVHEIM, MIA, et al. "Social Media." Approaching Religion 3.2 (2013): 26-37. Academic
Search Complete. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.
Kimmons, Royce. "Social Networking Sites, Literacy, And The Authentic Identity Problem."
Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning 58.2 (2014): 93-98.
Academic Search Complete. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.