Based on the materials presented in class and your own background knowledge and experiences, do you think social media has overall had a more positive or negative impact on the world?
Social media continues to prevail as one of the most heavily debated topics to this day. Though it is used positively for the purpose of communicating and connecting with others, I strongly believe that the downsides to social media undoubtedly outweigh the pros. For example, as mentioned in one of the class presentations, and as observed since the beginning of the creation of social media platforms, cyber bullying is as infamous as ever before. During Rebecca’s presentation, she mentioned that cyber bullying affects over 39% of teenagers with social media accounts. Even more so, the cyberbullies involved in these situations feel empowered to do what they do, based on the fact that they bully behind a screen. As the saying goes, “Hurt people hurt people”. Essentially, this means that cyberbullies are generally known to be insecure, and so, they inflict the pain that they feel upon other vulnerable people. For the bully, it is an unfortunate and vicious cycle of unhealthy defense mechanisms. As for the victim, it is a lifetime of self-doubt and insecurities.
Similar to the idea of cyber bullying, Mythili and Maria spoke about LGBTQ+ issues throughout social media platforms. For example, on Twitter, searches containing “#Gay” or “#Bisexual” provided no results. After the issue went viral, primarily throughout the LGBTQ+ community, the Twitter team replied and insisted that it was an “algorithm error” meant to censor out “inappropriate content”. It outraged many LGBTQ+ individuals, revolving around the fact that people wondered what was so inappropriate about voicing your sexuality on a social media platform. With that being said, however Twitter managed to adjust and resolve the “algorithm” issue.
From my own experiences in the past, I can honestly say social media has overall affected me negatively, just because I almost feel dependent on it some of the time. For example, more significantly in grade 9, when I was studying, I would always reach out to my phone to distract me from the stresses of school. I was constantly tempted by it, however it was my fault that I keep my phone so close to me whenever I was studying. I just wanted to keep up to date with whatever was happening online, or what my friends were doing. Recently, however, I have gotten better at resisting the temptation, but no doubt, it is still there occasionally. Additionally, when I was younger, I experienced a bit of cyber bullying, unfortunately both as the cyberbully and the victim. It had a lot to do with the fact that I had a Twitter account at 13-years-old, and so I was very impressionable and childish. So, essentially, there is something called “subtweeting”, which is a Tweet that is clearly directed at an individual, however mentions no particular name. A girl and I would subtweet each other back and forth, about why we “disliked” each other, or why we were mad at each other. Eventually, however, our parents found out about it and made us talk throughout everything. Fortunately, though, her and I are friends to this day, and our friendship has only gotten stronger since our childish dilemma. In essence, the situation helped us in becoming better friends afterwards, however in the moment, at 13-years-old, the idea of subtweeting actually being a thing on Twitter forced me to succumb to the trend. Overall, with moderation and consideration, social media can be beneficial in forming connections with others. However, as more commonly seen in the real world, social media inflicts many negative affects upon the many users and their lives.