Where will social media lead us?

by Manuel Melendez
Is technology improving society or is it the total opposite? Not many people think about
how technology, more specifically social media, has changed their lives. Most people sees social
media as a helpful tool to communicate, entertain themselves, and obtain information. Of course
this is beneficial, but there are also negative aspects of this new technology. People must know
how to use this tool for their own benefit rather than drawbacks in any possible aspect. Some of
these drawbacks can be seen just about everywhere, like people who stick to their phones instead
of having a conversation with their friends who are in front of them.
According to O’Keeffe & Clarke-Pearson (2011), social media helps to develop social
skills and to enrich ideas, but has risks such as cyberbullying and online depression (p. 3). Of
course these results can vary from one user to another as it is explained by Coorea, Hinsley, and
Zúniga (2010) that some variables such as gender, educations, age, and even income are related
to the effects caused by social media (p. 5). As it can be inferred, there are many variables which
define many different outcomes coming from the same source. This doesn’t mean that people
shouldn’t care about what they do, on the contrary, people must be aware of their actions in
regard to social media as much as with any other activity they do. In my own research, Claudia
Boyd, who studies in the field of communication, helped me to understand how social media
actually can change people’s cognitive skills and actions. Now-a-days a lot of people using their
phones, disconnected from reality, can be seen just about everywhere, some of them who are
actually dependent to their devices used for social media, without caring for their time or
obligations. A scene like this can be compared with a bad zombie movie, where the zombies
don’t even want to eat flesh because they are too busy chatting (via SMS, of course) with the
zombie at their side.

I don’t think I need some kind of proof to demonstrate that social media’s negative
influence is having a huge impact on society, we all can see this in our daily lives. Society is
greatly influenced by globalization, which controls what society likes and thinks, but that is just
an ad populum-argument, many believe that just because everyone does something it is good or
that they must do it also. This is why many people don’t bother to be skeptical about the issues
regarding social media. As mentioned before, social media can be good but also bad. Social
media users should consider these effects and learn what is better for them. Of course social
media is helpful to communicate, but it’s not good when someone spends 10 hours a day
procrastinating on it. I don’t want people to stop using social media, but to know up to what
point it is beneficial until it becomes the opposite, everything must have a balance in order to
work effectively.
People have changed a lot thanks to social media, which has only been existing for some
years, if this dependency, overuse and misuse continues, I really don’t want to even think where
we will end. That is why people must understand that social media is not as good as they think!
Be more skeptical and think about it and do not be influenced so easily by popular tendencies
and technology. People must not succumb to this “phenomenon”, they are destroying themselves
without even knowing and others just take advantage of this. That is why society must know how
to balance their use of social media, as well as learn how it is beneficial and how it may affect
them negatively.

Boyd, C. (2015, March 28). Personal interview.
Correa, T., Hinsley, A. W., Zúñiga, H. G., (2010). Who interacts on the Web?: The intersection
of users’ personality and social media use. Center for Journalism & Communication
Research. 26 (2) pp.8
O'Keeffe, G. S. & Clarke-Pearson, K., (2011). The Impact of Social Media on Children
Adolescents, and Families. Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. 127
(4), pp.5