Information and communication technology has changed rapidly over the past few years with a key development being the evolution of social media. The development of mobile technology has played an important role in shaping the impact of social media. Social media is being used in ways that shape politics, business, world culture, education, careers, innovation, and more.
Candice Lawrence is a counsellor at Fanshawe College who helps students with personal problems while they are away at school. Candice has seen first hand how social media can affect the lives of students and the stress and anxiety it can bring to them. She reveals the student’s motivations of sharing personal information on social media.
“Social media is a way to connect with people and share your life with your peers. It has the capacity to show everything that is going on in one person’s life and most of the time, the younger generation feels it’s important to prove that their life is filled with only good things. It’s a way to gain popularity and praise.”
Thanks to the internet, each person with different views can see that they’re not alone. And when these people find one another via social media, they can create memes, publications and entire online worlds that can alter their worldview, and then break into the mainstream. Some argue that social sharing has encouraged people to use computers and mobile phones to express their concerns on social issues without actually having to engage actively with campaigns in real life. Their support is limited to pressing the ‘Like’ button or sharing content.
Ashley Bannerman is a student at Fanshawe College. She uses social media on the daily in order to keep up to date on news and school. Ashley explains why social media is significant in the lives of students.
“Being able to connect with friends is always important. Teachers are incorporating education systems like Kahoot in order to bring some fun activity into the classroom as well as other educational resources. I find that students are consumed in the world of social media in order to stay on top of what is going on around them.”
There is no question the Internet is a popular, convenient and gratifying way to connect with others. Yet, with the rise of social media, there are concerns that many people appear to be substituting virtual, online connections for real-life social relationships. Should we be concerned about a trend toward developing online network connections instead of having face-to-face relationships? As in most scenarios, balance seems to be the answer. No one should solely rely on media to befriend others, it not a healthy way to communicate. Instead, having the balance of talking with people in person as well as online can help one’s social skills in an equitable manner.
Christine Morgan describes how social media can hinder our relationships, both platonic and romantic.
“My generation would have to see individuals in person. We’d always have to communicate face-to-face as well as through body language. Many of those techniques have been lost due to the use of the social media dating sites. You may not even know who’s at the other end of that dating site.”
Online friendships, while certainly valuable in many ways, lack the ability to provide one with deep and lasting emotional closeness. One positive impact of social media is in the distribution of information in today’s world. Platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others have made it possible to access information at one click of a button.