A Look Inside Social Media’s Impact on Society

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By Diana Pope, Staff Writer

Everyone nowadays seems to be obsessed with one thing: social media image. Social media has an undeniable presence in American society, and it is one of the most accessible commodities in the world right now. Anyone can open a Facebook account or start an Instagram — the beauty of social media is that both the lonely middle schooler and the President of the United States are able to access it. However, the easy accessibility of social media comes at a great cost: those using it are often subject to anxiety about how the world is looking at their online accounts.

In college, social media is especially important as a tool for jobs, dating, friendships and information.

Before social media, you’d have to go to a party, the local bar or a club in order to find someone to date. Now, social media and dating apps have made the process of dating “easier” on all fronts. But has it really made dating less difficult?

Now you have to worry about whether the person you’re talking to over text, Facebook, or Tinder is really who you think he or she is. For all you know, you could be meeting a kleptomaniac or codependent person over social media. People can cower behind their screens with a freshly polished selfie or a five-year old prom picture in order to hide their true character. Social media has the potential to bury a whole host of questions about the person behind the profile.

At the same time, you have to worry about whether your friends are approving of your daily Facebook statuses or Instagram posts. Whatever you do on social media will be scrutinized and judged by your audience. The new “selfie culture” has spawned a whole generation of teens and college students who are obsessed with how their image is portrayed on social media. If you’re eating dinner out with your boyfriend, the whole world has to know about it through social media. Today, people who lead “private lives” are those who don’t resort to social media for a daily update about whatever’s going on in their lives. After all, do you really have a social life if you don’t post anything on social media?

Social media has also transformed how everyone learns about politics in our country. Today, people can learn about the news through sensational Facebook posts or 100-character tweets. Everyone reads their own version of the news through their Facebook news feeds — whether that’s hilarious Buzzfeed articles or RightWingWatch. Social media is now the backdrop behind “true” journalism in modern society. After all, if a news story doesn’t have at least a thousand shares on social media, then it really doesn’t have any market value or veritability.

Even President Trump uses social media to disseminate his version of  the news and share his daily political commentary. When you open NPR in the morning, you are almost guaranteed to find a front page news story on the President’s newest tweet. It’s true that the American public would probably still be transfixed with coffee-stained newspapers if it weren’t for social media, but at least they would be reading from sources that actually do their research.

Social media may be twenty-first century society’s most accessible convenience, but it is also our heaviest burden. Middle schoolers, college students, politicians, businessmen, even parents are all obsessed with how others look at them through the social media lenses. Social media impacts every interpersonal aspect of our life, whether you admit it or not. It is undeniably the most inconvenient convenience of modern-day society.  

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