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Is Social Media Bringing People Together or Tearing Them Apart

Spy Phone at       Feb 24 2021 11:25PM

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Is Social Media Bringing People Together or Tearing Them Apart?

Social media is a core part of peoples lives. In less than a decade, social media platforms have become the primary way people communicate with each across in nation's across the world.

This is even more pronounced among millenials and GenZers. Millenials were the first generation that grew up with the internet. And GenZers have been raised alongside the growth of social media. These changes in how people communicate with each other are here to stay, and social media will continue to be how people primarily communicate.

Does Social Media Bring People Together?

The rise of social media platforms is directly related to how useful it is in people's lives. People who aren't comfortable with communicating face to face or introverted people can make friends online more easily. Those who find it difficult to find people they can relate to in real life also find outlets in social media.
Social media is also a great way to disseminate information among a large audience. If you have important news to spread, want to invite people over for a party, or even let them know how you're doing - social media is the perfect enabling tool for these.

Unfortunately, social media is also known for spreading incorrect information that hasn't been fact checked. While people can make amazing friends on social media, they are just as likely to encounter toxic people who often have a negative effect on mental health.
Social media absolutely brings people together. However, it brings everyone together, and this is where the problem lies. How people use social media is a personal choice.
Many people use social media to talk about things they wouldn't talk about in real life. Social media is place where you can engage with strangers. However, a small portion of them aren't good people.

Every coin has two sides - and this applies to social media use as well. It's the people who use social media platforms that determine whether they want to behave in socially acceptable or unacceptable ways. In fact, unacceptable behavior on social media is easy to get away with. If your account gets blocked, then all you need to do is create a new account. Then you can go back to engaging in unacceptable behavior on various platforms.
Cancel culture has also evolved as a way where like-minded people affect people's jobs and their lives should they encounter anyone that doesn't agree with them.
The problem here lies in how social media use is regulated. Until platform providers come up with ways to encounter negative use of social media, people can get away with certain behavior that they wouldn't be able to in real life.

But that doesn't negate the fact that social media has brought positive changes into the world. A person who feels isolated can go online and encounter someone they resonate with. This makes the person feel better about their lives, and they realize that they aren't alone.
Social media has helped people start awareness campaigns on social and environmental issues. People online often can, and do, point out mistakes in popular rhetoric that needs to change. Fundraisers, campaigns and a growing awareness of how the world is a global community is a powerful argument in support of the fact that social media does, in fact, bring people together.

Social Media: What's Real and What's Not?

The idea that people often lie on social media isn't new. People are more likely to post only that content that showcases their lives in the best way possible. Take Instagram for instance, it's full of pictures of people who are seen to be travelling, eating the best foods, wearing the best clothes etc.
What such content leaves out is that these pictures reflect only portions of these people's lives. It doesn't show them working, dealing with every day hassles etc. But for followers who aren't aware of this fact, they can be left feeling bad about their own lives.
This isn't anything new. Celebrities do the same thing all the time. But celebrities are already viewed as people living larger than life lives. For impressionable viewers who find their own friends and family living better lives than themselves, such content can be harmful for their self-confidence.
On the flipside, you also find educators, motivational speakers and high quality educational material online. These are designed to genuinely help you develop your career and grow as a person. Informative videos are the single largest category that most people engage with on YouTube.

Personal Lives and Social Media

The primary way in which social media tears people apart is when it comes to private social interactions. People, while they are building real/superficial connections online, often fail to maintain the real life connections they have.
Family, friendships and even romantic relationships are relegated to the background in real life, while the same people interact positively on social media. The sight of family members all using their phones while sitting around the dining table isn't unusual anymore.
During the dawn of the internet, people use it to get away from real life. Now, more people turn to real life experiences as an escape from social media.

The Dark Side of Social Media

Not everyone on social media uses it with positive intentions. There are communities dedicated to finding and exposing people like child predators online. However, it's a fact that such people can and do use the internet as freely as any other user.
And on social media, you can't always tell whose on the other side of the screen. Faking a social media presence and pretending to be someone else is often reported. Catfishing, phishing and committing other crimes are made easy thanks to how social media platforms are currently regulated.
This in no way implies that that can't change. Twitter, for example, has finally started to add a statement that informs people that certain tweets aren't fact checked, or that they relay fake news. Facebook similarly made provisions to ensure that people didn't disseminate incorrect information that could wind up being harmful to other people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Social media brings people together. But, the communities you interact with online are directly related to your interests and preferences. This happens due to social media algorithms that show you content and content creators that reflect your searches and interests.
Again, this is positive in so far as you can find an abundance of content you enjoy. You can find like minded people who can become great friends, and you can thrive and learn through positive community interactions.
However, this also removes the other point of view from your life entirely. After a point of time, you can start to believe that only your views matter and that that's how everyone thinks. This is far from the truth.

Social Media In Our Lives

Social media is a tool that enables communication and online interactions. To that end, it brings people together. How people use social media is different ballgame altogether.
People online can and mostly do form positive communities. But there's still a need to be aware of the negative side of social media. This awareness can protect you, your family and your friends from getting into trouble online.

Since millenials and GenZers are the largest users of social media platforms, this awareness should be a core part of their understanding on how to use social media. GenZers, a generational group that still primarily consists of children, are especially at risk from unacceptable social media behavior.
If you have a child, a younger sibling, or work with children, then consider downloading an app that focuses on child protection on social media.
It's important to understand that the dark side of social media is a limited user base that most people don't accept. With the right protection apps and awareness on who these people are and how to counter them, children especially as well as other users can be protected. With this, social media can continue to flourish as an enabler of global communications that brings the whole world together.

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