Importance and Effectiveness of the Internet and Social Media in People’s Lives
The rise of the internet in recent decades has revolutionized the ways in which we, as people in different societies around the world, communicate. The technology has rendered international and cultural boundaries, which were major factors in communication at the international level, insignificant by enabling convenient, efficient, and real time contact. Internet-based platforms such as social media have become important tools in our lives in the society. In the following paragraphs, the author argues that the internet and social media have enhanced the capacities of individuals and groups to access and utilize diverse resources (educational, social, etc.) in the society, thus influencing convenience and efficiency in the achievement and furtherance of individual and group objectives and interests.
The internet and its media platforms have created virtual forums on which we can communicate and interact in real time, and hence efficiently, despite being members of different societies. This capacity on the platforms allows individuals from different societies to engage with one another and mobilize social support for various causes. Anderson and Hitlin (2) observe that Americans are increasingly using social media to seek the involvement and support of others in diverse causes and movements. The internet and its media platforms have become important tools in our efforts to mobilize members of the society, coordinate social efforts, and build social relationships, thus influencing greater efficiency in our achievement of social or group objectives and furtherance of group interests. Social media can serve as an important venue where groups of people with common interests share information and ideas (Anderson and Hitlin 2). The platforms also enable us to unite and mobilize the support of other members of the society around an issue of interest. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and others can assist us to draw higher levels of attention to particular issues or causes efficiently. This is possible because the media allow users to propagate a collective voice in the society. These advantages of social media have been evident in the abilities of diverse groups in our society to build strong conversations or debates at the national level in the U.S. in recent times, such as the Black Lives Matter movement (Anderson and Hitlin 2). This means that the internet and social media serve as effective tools for members of our society to build widespread awareness about issues that affect our lives and society.
The internet and social media have connected members of different societies across the world, fostering globalization, enabling intensive intercultural connections, and promoting deeper knowledge of others’ cultures. Social media enable us to generate, upload, and share diverse content (photographs, videos, messages, etc.) with others across cultural and international boundaries. Through such sharing on the social networks, individuals in one part of our society or world can obtain information and ideas or learn about the experiences of others in another in real time (Anderson and Hitlin 2; Rosen para. 3-5). This means that the media promote greater quality, intensity, and efficiency in the development of our relationships and learning.
Consideration of Other/Alternative Position
A potential argument refuting the value of the internet, and especially its social media platforms, in the lives of members of the society is that it undermines the wellbeing of users by increasing their loneliness. Hobson (para. 3-4) observes the results of a survey of 1,787 adults aged 19-32 that demonstrated that people who reported spending more than two hours a day on social media were more likely to experience perceived social isolation compared with those who spent less time on the platforms. The author argues that the replacement of face-to-face social connectedness with virtual interactions on the media increases the sense of loneliness among us, as internet users (Hobson para. 3). This is because we view the experiences of others as better than ours, influencing adverse perceptions about our own experiences in comparison. Nevertheless, this argument is unsound because the effects of social media on individuals and their wellbeing are dependent on how we utilize it in our lives. The way in which we utilize the internet and social media influences their effects on us. This means that a user has to make conscious decisions at the individual level about how he/she could utilize the internet and social media to add value in personal life. The effect of “loneliness” is dependent on the approaches of individuals, rather than a consequence of use of social media or the internet per se. Individuals who utilize the internet and social media for positive purposes or with positive objectives, such as educational, social networking, marketing, or social mobilization, are likely to gain from the platforms.
As the discussion above illustrates, the internet and social media have become important tools in the modern society, providing us with an efficient and convenient tool of communication and interactions across international borders and cultures. They have enhanced our capacities to access and utilize social, educational, and other resources in the society efficiently, thus influencing convenience and high productivity in the achievement and furtherance of both individual and group objectives and interests. The arguments by critics that the internet and social media foster loneliness and adverse effects on users’ wellbeing are unsound because such effects are dependent on how we utilize the technology in our lives.
Anderson, Monica, and Hitlin, Paul. “Social Media Conversations about Race”. Pew Research Center, August 2016.
Hobson, Katherine. “Feeling Lonely? Too much Time on Social Media may be why”. National Public Radio, March 6, 2017.
Rosen, Rebecca. “59% of Young People say the Internet is shaping who they are”. The Atlantic, June 27, 2012.