TheGradyJournal: Social media’s effect on communication

Story originally posted to The Grady Journal on Nov. 17, 2011

By Nicole Peterson

Do not get caught using a “flip phone,” CD player or updating a MySpace account around the University of Georgia campus because in today’s society, one is a part of the in-group as long as they have the most updated smartphone and an account with a popular social networking site. The avenues to communication have expanded and the majority of communication now takes place online.

Communication has become simplistic and quick but the big question is: What is social media’s impact on the quality of communication? There are many advantages within the realm of social media but it is also important to be aware of the sensationalism and superficiality behind the many “virtual faces.”

Even as one of the most influential leaders in social media, users consider Facebook both good and bad. “For better or worse, it has distorted everyone’s view of each other. I can make myself look very well on Facebook by posting positive comments with good pictures. People may think my life is awesome,” said UGA senior John Wilke.

Statistics show the more time spent on Facebook could cause people to feel more insecure about their own personal experiences or achievements. Users create images they wish to portray on their profile page but there is more to the person than what is being displayed.

Another craze in the world of social media is Twitter. Millions of tweets are posted and read each day and many Twitter users have thousands of followers while others only have a few. One common misconception within social networking is overestimating the intimacy of a relationship and what now constitutes a real friend, versus a simple follower.

LinkedIn is an additional resource to make contact with employers or people within a field of interest. This social networking site provides an easy way to share work history and career goals with colleagues and future employers.

Along with the knowledge of how to take advantage of social media, users need to take into account what they are saying. Is it more appropriate to send an email to a professor discussing an absence, instead of talking to them face-to-face after class or during their office hours? Or should a guy ask a girl out on a date through a Facebook message, instead of asking her in person? Truth be told, there are times when it is best to approach someone instead of relying on an email or Facebook message.

About Kate Spencer

Kate Spencer is pursuing a Master of Science from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in the College of Communication and Information.

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