Many saw the documentary The Social Dilemma on Netflix. People were outraged by the dark side of social media that the documentary exposed. Filmmakers blamed social media for a rise in teen suicides, the polarization of political parties and the growing inability of youth to communicate in person. Now I am not defending social media as a whole, but I do believe that the positives outweigh the negatives.
What I found to be so funny was that people went to social media to talk about the dangers of social media after watching this film. This act demonstrates how integral social media is in our lives. Why does this have to be such a negative thing though? Is it bad to have access to world news at our fingertips moments after it happens? Is it bad for algorithms to predict what content you would most be interested in? Is it bad to connect with people based on similar interests?
I doubt you said yes the first question. It is important to know current events to be an informed citizen and to be able to act accordingly. Social media also gives us the news through different perspectives which is also beneficial as it takes the power out of the media and puts it in the citizens’ hands.
You may have said yes to the second question because you may be unsettled thinking about an AI machine knowing you better than your friends and family. However, I think it is a good thing because then you are provided with engaging content. Yes, this does also include ads. I love that products I’ve been looking for come up on my Instagram feed. It makes it really easy to make quick purchases.
One drawback of having this personalized feed is that it may also push your political beliefs to become more radical but as an informed citizen you should always be fact checking and seeking out content from the “other” side to become more open-minded and understand your fellow Americans. Both sides are responsible for not being open to listening to the “other” side.
It is unlikely you said no to the last question. As humans, all we want to do is connect to each other. I can’t tell you how many times a meme has made me feel better about something I did that I thought was weird but turns out everyone does it! I love that social media has brought me closer to people.
So why the rise in teen suicide? It is not because of social media that teens are committing suicide, it is because of the bullying that occurs on social media. We need to teach users that it is never okay to bully in any form. Like I’ve said before, we just need to love ourselves and each other and then suicide would not happen. (Of course, I believe that if you are having suicidal thoughts you should seek professional help).
So why don’t the youth like talking to others in person anymore? Because we don’t stan for fake people. It has nothing to do with social media. We would just rather be on our phone instead of dealing with the fakeness of others. Now, is that always the best thing to do? Probably not, but again, it goes back to the need to connect. We would rather be connecting with others online than put up with someone we don’t like in real life. We now have options and we have more knowledge on what to do in different situations because of social media. We may even be able to connect with that person with a funny post that we both like. The point is that social media brings us closer and brings us knowledge.
In high school, I learned that we acquire more knowledge by reading a newspaper than a person would learn in their whole life in Ancient Greece. It blew my mind then but now with social media, especially Tik Tok, the [knowledge] is astronomical! I can go on Tik Tok for an hour and learn more than I learned in a whole semester of an undergrad class.
Yes, there may be some negatives to being users of social media, but the positives clearly outweigh them. The ability to document on social media gives people a voice who would otherwise not have one. The ability to share knowledge so quickly to such a large volume of people has never happened before. That reason alone is enough to want to support social media.
What are your thoughts?
Do you agree or disagree?
Let me know!
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