Facebook and all sorts of social media have become a part of our daily life whether we wanted it to or not. The need to be “connected,” both sharing and looking at what’s going on around us has become increasingly addictive. However, when we do realize the degree to which privacy has been reduced and we want to withdraw from it, we find ourselves trapped. As humans, we feel the need to belong in a group and participate in social activities and if you don’t belong to any of the social networks available today, then you run the risk of missing out on the fun.
During class we discussed some of the negative outcomes of social media: loss of individuality, tones vs. actions, self-promotion, and violation of privacy. As we look over our friends’ likes and dislikes, we also develop a similar taste, thus creating a homogenized society where everyone is into the same things. But if there is nothing to differentiate us from each other, then we begin to lose our uniqueness. And if it goes farther enough we even become afraid of being different. Without variety and originality, though, how is society supposed to improve?
A second important point was tones versus actions, which is basically referring to how people write on social media and contrasting it to how they really are acting on the other side of the screen. It’s difficult to imagine who hasn’t ever used LOL’s or emoticons during their online conversations, but if you think about it, are you really “laughing out loud,” every time you write it? Maybe the farthest you even got to was a smile. Consequently, human actions are exaggerated and easy to fake through the Internet.
Finally, self-promotion and violation of privacy go together hand in hand. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…you name it. People upload statuses about what they’re doing, tag the people they’re with, and “check-in” to places where they’ve been. Why not add some pictures too? All of this is seen by your friends, and that’s fine, you did it by choice. But all of this content is now on the Internet and advertisers have easy access to it, and they can even make profits off of you.
So the question remains, should we keep our social media accounts at the expense of being completely public, or should we keep our privacy at the expense of missing out on what’s around us?