Over the last decade or so, the evolution of social platforms has both been hard to keep up with and understand. The turn of the century had seen the internet become a mainstream platform, with the creation of online chat messengers becoming commonplace across the web. Today, though, we have the power of social media – the websites that allow us to keep in contact with friends and family, and make new friends from all across the world.
However, for many, social media is a monster – one that won’t be going back in its box anytime soon. This is a major issue; as social development is going to be majorly dictated to by the evolution of social platforms. So, how does the development of social platforms have an impact on our daily lives? Is it possible that Facebook and Twitter etc. now help to determine the day-to-day existence of many people?
We’ve moved long beyond that period. In fact, many people believe there might be a pretty strong correlation between the rise of social media and the total change in the political sphere across the world in the last decade.
A New Political Climate
One part of everyday life that has changed irrevocably due to social media is politics. Today, if you spend long enough on political debate from the United Kingdom or United States is social media, you can find a few typical terms and phrases.
- “If we had social media, Iraq and Afghanistan could have been avoided.”
- “We voted for Trump/Brexit because of social media lies.”
- “The mainstream media does not inform us anymore – social media does!”
This idea now that we are being lied to by all mainstream media sources, or that the current political climate could have been avoided if social media was faster, is an interesting one. Many people now happily accept that they were lied to by government, and that this has been a major factor in leading society to where it is today.
With so many government lies and scandals being uncovered since the development of social media, and the implication of the media in many scandals, it’s easy to see why people trust social media over mainstream media. This has helped to shape a new, post-truth political climate.
More people than ever, it would appear, are engaged and interested in politics. The only problem is that social media has created a ravenous location for half-truths and full-on fiction be pushed.
Now, people prefer to listen to trusted social media accounts or people who agree with their general view of things. This leads us to another everyday social problem.
Filling the Echo Chamber
Now that many of us are happy to pigeonhole people into certain tags and themes, we can avoid talking to them. Social media, for all its positive function, has created massive divides in many parts of society. Whereas in the past we would be forced to be around people with differing and even uncomfortable points of view if we wished to be in public, social media changes that.
Now, we can be surrounded by thousands of people and have massive amounts of human interaction all day – with only the people we choose. This is a bad thing in many ways, as it creates the ability for people to deliver themselves to dangerous echo chambers.
These limit debate and stifle the truth of what is being said. When five people all meet on social media today, they are either in full agreement and wish to discuss how right they are, or they are polar opposites and are likely going to start abusing each other for being “deluded”.
This is the modern position of social media. We ignore and revile all those who sit on the other side of the fence of us. Unlike before, in reality, whereby we are forced to interact with people who have different or even opposite views, social media allows us to only speak to people that agree with us.
This is good for self-confidence, but bad for finding the truth. How can you be sure that what you are saying or thinking is going to be right when it’s come from a group of sources who completely ignore any opposing or alternate view?
It’s due to this kind of thinking that the rise of fake quotes, ‘memes’ and partisan social media groups has become a thing. If social media has eroded one thing besides from our privacy? It’s our ability to listen to opposing views.
The Raw Human Emotion
One positive aspect of social media, though, is that it allows those without the social stability or availability to be a major part of society. Many people now have large followings and have influence in their industry due to the awareness of social media. From campaigns to raise awareness for illness to a powerful story of overcoming fear and repression, social media allows those without a voice in person to have a megaphone to use online.
From there, people who had no social mobility or potential can use their sheer emotion and determination to make a critical difference. In the past, man people were not afforded this luxury and instead would spend huge chunks of their time hiding emotions and allowing them to fester inside.
Social media has opened a new age of expressionism. Whilst it can feel suffocating when on the wrong end of it, this kind of open-minded approach (especially for those without the capability to do so themselves) makes for an interesting new take on society as a whole.
If there is one thing that we can agree upon, it's that social media has changed the way that everyone lives. From how we consume media to the kinds of media we would even listen to or trust, social media has transformed how we think, how we feel and how we act.
Even if you aren’t on social media, its overall effect on society is so profound that you cannot help but feel changed by it.
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So ask yourself - and please comment - how does social media impact your life and what does this mean to you?