However, with the positives comes its negatives. The way social media has changed our communication has also changed it in negative ways in which we can see on a day to day basis, or even experience. With a simple look at the television news or a scroll through articles you can see some of the negatives of how social media has changed our communication. There are number of them such a bullying, differing opinions, war, etc.
One of the most known we see and are even told is how it can make us more depressed and gives us anxiety. Since we are pretty much communicating with people through social media instead of meeting this person face to face for a discussion. Research was also done to prove that excessive social media uses can cause these problems in us, “researchers discovered that, in a sample group of teenage girls, excessive Facebook usage caused the sample group to be at a higher risk for depression and anxiety. A year later, the researchers re-valuated the group for any signs of depression or anxiety. The study findings proved that users who frequently discussed their problems with friends, through social media, experienced higher levels of anxiety than those who did not.” (Amedie. 2015).
Whenever I hear this it usually comes from my parents or even grandparents who catch me using my phone. That the longer I use it the more depressed I will become and the harder it will be to communicate with those around me. While I have not seen it happen to me yet since I haven’t felt depressed or suffer anxiety from excessive social media use, I have definitely seen it in others. Not to mention that social media also tends to make us more prone to being lonely as we have people we can contact instantly through messenger, “In the face of this social disintegration, we have essentially hired an army of replacement confidants, an entire class of professional careers.” (Marche. 2012). That’s something that can be guessed from social media use, online we can pretend to have people who care for us and friends but lack it in reality. Of course it will make us feel good but when they put the phone they can see the lack of careers they actually have away from social media. People I know tend to distant themselves from others and just share and like on Facebook, Instagram, or twitter constantly, and something that could be contributing to all this is spoken about in the next article.
Everything we post, like, comment, or share holds an affect in what we see on social media that can surely affect us in the real world. There is something called algorithms, which is a mechanism that advertises certain ads or posts to the user of a social media account based on their likes, shares, and things they have comment on. This can lead to them viewing certain posts that will interest them and hide whatever will not interest them. See the problem in there? If you haven’t this quote will explain it, ” Each time I liked an article, or clicked on a link, or hid another, the algorithms that curate my streams took notice and showed me only what they thought I wanted to see. That meant I didn’t realize that most of my family members, who live in rural Virginia, were voicing their support for Trump online, and I didn’t see any of the pro-Trump memes that were in heavy circulation before the election.” (Wortham. 2016). While Wortham goes on to say how the article isn’t about just algorithms, the algorithms are certainly a problem underlying most of these things.
The dangers of algorithms are what is causing our biggest negatives in communication. In social media, we are only seeing what we want to see, and not seeing the differing opinions of others or other ideas out there we might not have heard of at all. When it comes to us feeling lonely or getting anxiety it can be given through these algorithms just by simple ads asking you to join groups, advertise dating apps, or other messengers.
In Manjoo’s article (2015) titled ‘In the Fight for Transgender Equality, Winning Hearts and Minds Online’ they speak about transgender people were able to find groups of other transgender or people with the same views on issues as them. Here they leg in and converse with people on the daily. Pretty much in a way a safe space for them to be themselves and discuss topics concerning them. However, this can be a huge danger for them in regard to the mechanisms of algorithms. They tend to seek those with views similar to theirs and seek people with the same views as well. What’s going to happen when they meet someone with an opposing opinion? We would think they would have a civil discussion about it but that’s not the case. You can take a good look right now at these people yelling at each other from both sides, interrupting each other, not listening to the other side, not sitting down to discuss. When we’re not open to the opposing opinions it destroys our communication with one another. We won’t be able to argue with these opposing opinions and offering solutions and try to reach a good understanding that may teach those who may disagree. Nowadays we lack that ability, and it’s easy it due to social media and its algorithms.
Another negative is the issues of war across the world. Nowadays whenever something occurs in another country social media notifies us about either through hashtags or trending topics. We tend to look at social media in a small scope and tend to forget social media exists around the world and can connect us with many people. However, when it comes to the bigger picture of social media you can bit by bit see how it ruins our communication even for people on the other side of the world, “Within a circle of friends or like-minded acquaintances, social media certainly fosters connection. But the further one zooms out—to whole societies or the course of global affairs—the more this connection is marred by tribalism and mutual mistrust.” Some of these countries have their social media monitored by their government where they cannot voice their opinion. There are even issues where another country cannot trust others from another due to rising tension or political issues, so in social media these countries could be showing nationalism for their country and showing hatred to those opposing their views.
There’s also lack of trust with social media nowadays just because of terrorist groups using social media for their own means. Their means range from a number of things which has definitely made people more spectacle of one another, “Terrorism has been using social media for their benefit for gathering information, for recruiting members, for fund raising, and for propaganda schemes.” (Amedie. 2015.) Back then we used to be told not to trust strangers online, but over time that meaning kind of decreased as more and more people began to make friends online. Some even finding their boyfriend or girlfriend online. They even go as far to meet in person. Although, with the rise of Terrorism and terrorist group taking to social media to recruit people and promote their beliefs have made people way more cautious. Our big source of communication which is social media has been taken over be a very real and huge threat, just associating ourselves with believers or followers of these terrorists could put a big red target on us in the government’s eyes.