Social media has changed the way we live our lives. As Shelley Turkle states,“ The little devices in our pockets are so psychologically powerful that they don’t even change what we do, they change who we are” (TED Blog, 2012). For some, that may be viewed as a good thing but when you look at all the things it has changed I think we have lost a lot more than we have gained. Things like privacy have almost become non-existent and social networks have become a place where people don’t have to be themselves, and in some cases can become a completely different person just because they can. Personal contact has been completely thrown out the window, no longer do you have to call someone to talk to them and entire conversations can happen without even seeing the person face-to-face. Everything in today’s world has become so digitalized that we have become two different people. While texting, emailing and sending messages online we are able to edit the things we say, think about it before we send them and become a better version of ourselves. When faced with meeting people in person and actually having a real conversation, we don’t get to edit the things we say and can’t take a day to respond to a question while we think about what we are going to say which has become a challenge for some. I think it’s almost ironic that we call it ‘social’ media because we seem to be losing out social abilities and skills when it comes to the real world. Sherry Turlke mentioned in one of her articles that a young boy of 16 once told her “Someday, someday, but certainly not now, I’d like to learn how to have a conversation” (Turkle, 2012). We are no longer having conversations but simply connecting (Turkle, 2012).
I have to admit that I am not innocent in all of this as I have conformed to society and have accounts for the major networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Although I have a multiple account for these different social networks I try to stay true to the person I was before the big bang of social media. I don’t use them to have an outlet; I believe that if you would not say it to a person’s face or could not talk about it in a real conversation then it should not be posted online and if you would be embarrassed to show your boss the pictures you post then to maybe think twice about posting them. I am a minimalist when it comes to posting things online, I don’t think it is necessary that everyone needs to know what I am doing at every moment. There is also the privacy issue. It is hard to have any type of privacy when you are involved in social media; the only way to really obtain a very private life style would be to completely avoid social networking. Even just to sign up for an account such as Facebook you are asked to fill out a list of things about yourself that aren’t always necessary, at least in my opinion. Even if you try to keep the things you post generic, there is still the problem that it will be on there forever. Boyd argues that “there is often a disconnect between students’ desire to protect privacy and their behaviours” (Boyd, 2007). People may be aware and concerned about their privacy but their actions do not equal up. There are only so many privacy setting you can apply to your account but the reality is that there is no such thing as privacy on the internet. If someone really wanted your information, there is a way. Everyone needs to start being more aware of what is being posted and come to the realization that things can come back to haunt you. We must be smart about social networking in an attempt to protect ourselves and our privacy.
Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship danah m. boyd Nicole B. Ellison Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication Volume 13, Issue 1, pages 210–230, October 2007
Places we don’t want to go: Sherry Turkle at TED2012
Sherry Turkle. The Flight From Conversation. New York Times Sunday Review. April 21, 2012