Artifact Politics- Social Media

How many of us have spent hours surfing our social media pages? Whether it is mindless scrolling through random selfies and song quotes, planning the next big social get-together, or posting about a recent life changing event, social media has changed how society functions. Social media technology may not be tangible in itself, however it does create somewhat tangible positive and negative consequences. There are many different kinds of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even dating sites, which all function differently and are tailored to suit different audiences. However, most all social media is connected by one common interest: communication. Social media allows millions of people to communicate ideas, feelings, pictures, and even have conversations in just a few clicks of a mouse. This increase of communication has drastically changed how information is spread through society.
The technology of social media has allowed information to be conveyed to a mass amount of people in an instant. “Social networking sites like Facebook, Youtube and Twitter are fast becoming a constant source of alternative news for Internet users, and also becoming a channel in which users can direct the focus of national news media” (Mason). This has been absorbed by politics and celebrities to influence a mass amount of people. However, social media has improved communication opportunities on a smaller scale as well. In addition being a record of someone’s past, it can be used to efficiently plan events for the future or even a medium for personal conversation. Either through group chats, direct messages, or creating a “group event page”, plans can easily, quickly, and even personally be communicated to multiple individuals. This replaces past methods of looking through a phone book to call each individual, or even writing letters. This saves an immense amount of time and thus makes it easier for people to contact their friends or family to have social interaction.
Social media is typically thought of as the classic Facebook and Twitter posts, which are updated records of what happens in an individual’s life. This creates an archive of such person’s life, which can be very beneficial. Personally, I enjoy being able to keep in touch more easily with friends or family members that I haven’t had direct contact with in a while. Scrolling through my Facebook and Twitter feeds can be entertaining and helps me know what specific people are up to. My relatives have often commented that they enjoy knowing how I am doing and being able to keep up to date with my life even though I haven’t seen them in a very long time. It is also a way to express feelings and store actual images or videos. This versatility for communication however comes with a great cost, privacy.
It concerns me to some regards just how much privacy this generation has lost through the use of social media. As a potential law enforcement officer, I have researched how social media users’ information can easily be tapped into and exploited. However, one big problem (or solution depending on how you look at it) is that most of us simply don’t care. As a society, we have become accustomed to being public and lacking privacy. It has become a social norm to publically share private matters about our lives. In fact, sometimes not being public about one’s life leads to social criticism. Social media in this sense creates a social hierarchy based on how many “followers/ friends” someone has or how much they post/tweet, etc. Our definitions of “friends” becomes much less personal when we have over 500 of them, most of who we have rarely ever talked to in person. None of the less, as a society we crave having influence (politics) over others, and having more followers and posts leaders to greater influence. Although most of this influence is backed by pre-determined social hierarchies, such as celebrities, social media still promotes this authoritarian political system. Twitter even has an “official blue check mark” which indicates that someone is of a higher social class. It also creates division among those who have access to social media and those who don’t. As the number of poorer countries that gain access to the internet and social media increases, so does the influence that certain groups begin to have which leads to more social change. “We will only continue to see social media directing world events, building awareness and breaking news. It’s the voice of the people, speaking to the people. Everyone is now a reporter, and that’s an empowering feeling when the pen is mightier than the sword” (Mason).
Yet, social media does have a Democratic aspect. Since it does allow such mass communication, this communication CAN be utilized by all. In many ways, social media breaks social class divisions by allowing this free communication. If I wanted to, I could say something to my favorite celebrity, just by tweeting them. With normal social barriers, I would never be able to so easily contact those of higher social class. Social media opens doors and increases opportunities for interaction, communication, and expression.

Footnotes
1.Mason, Lisa “Impact of Social Media on Society: 5 Times Social Changed the World” SocialMediaSun.com
2.http://greatfinds.icrossing.com/how-to-leverage-paid-tactics-in-social-media/ (image)

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5 thoughts on “Artifact Politics- Social Media”

  1. I completely agree with your argument and understand where you’re coming from. With a simple post, we can spread our thoughts to so many people, and it’s easier than ever. In this way, social media can be seen as democratic. I think the topic is very interesting, not only based on it’s ability to influence people, but the ways it has changed, and will continue to change, communication and life altogether.

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  2. I agree with what you had to say about social media. I think social media is an interesting topic. I feel like it has become something essential in our lives now a days. I check my Facebook when I wake up. Although we believe there are many reasons why social media is bad for us, I think it is very helpful. Like you said, I use Facebook a lot to plan events and advertise events. It is also a very good way to keep in contact with people that live far away and there are no other way to see them. I feel like I am still in contact with them when I see them post pictures.

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  3. I strongly agree with what you said about the hierarchies in the social media. Although everyone who is using the social media nowadays can communicate with celebrities (that’s pretty difficult before the social media became a significant part of our daily life), what these celebrities post can be more influential than others because of their social class division. I see it on Twitter often. Celebrities still have more influence on social media just like what celebrities did in the history when they tried to say something on media, but comparing the social media with the communication in the past, social media is more democratic. No matter whether you are a celebrity or not, just log in. People are linked together by the social media. Although the social media is not perfect, I think we lived in the time which offered us a great opportunity to share and create something by the social media. This situation has never appeared in the history before.

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  4. I really enjoyed reading your post. I agree with your post when you said that social media is a way to keep in touch with family members. Like you mentioned you can create a group event page which saves so much time, then sending out personal invitations. Another great point you made was that you can connect with your favorite celebrity which we would have never had the chance to do before.

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  5. You really did a good job at exploring the effects of social media on the different aspects of life. Really great detail, I agree that social media is the source of the decline of privacy in our generation. You explored both the pros and cons of social media thoroughly and presented your views clearly.

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