The Influence of Social Media on Communication – Essay Example

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The paper "The Influence of Social Media on Communication" is an outstanding example of an essay on media. The fast development of versatile technologies put its significant influence on practically all aspects of modern life today. In this context, social media and its effects on interpersonal relationships have been given much attention recently with people expressing concerns about the increasing role which social networking sites are playing today. Namely, people spend great amounts of time sending messages, updating their online pages, sharing photos, or changing statuses instead of choosing face to face interactions. Subsequently, the goal of this paper is to explore the way social media impacts communications and interpersonal relationships. 

People lose empathy, due to losing the great share of information that is usually perceived non-verbally, that is by means of facial expressions, eye contact, body language, tone and pitch of the voice, and other. In fact, non-verbal communication plays a vital role in maintaining relationships between people by means of providing additional information about both the state of an interlocutor and the message itself. For instance, facial expressions and the way a person says something is as important for understanding one’s attitude to the subject as the words said. In fact, there are numerous ways to say, for example, “Yes” and only one to write it. At this point, one can argue that the numerous emoticons can be helpful here, but this would be a mistake since among the main characteristics of non-verbal communication is that it is unconscious and unintentional whereas in messages a person can construct his/her attitudes or feelings him/herself. (Bull 644-647) This is why nonverbal communication should be regarded as central to interpersonal relationships. (Bull 644-647) Therefore, people lose empathy and their relationships become less strong because it is not possible to grasp the whole range of emotions of people while communicating online and emphatic skills much depend on the ability of a person to decode non-verbal messages which cannot be sent when communicating via social media.
Apart from relationships with people, the ability of individuals to be engaged in face to face communication and successfully express personal ideas is also affected. The problem lies in the fact that when the main mode of expressing thoughts and maintaining a conversation is written communication, the skills of oral speech become diminished. The following is especially dangerous for children, whose communication skills are in the process of development and they only start accumulating their positive experience in interacting with people. According to the Pew Research Center, near 60 percent of teens use social networking for communication with friends, (Lenhart, Purcell, and et al ) This exemplifies that online interactions take the significant share of the overall communication. As a result, there is a threat that children will experience anxiety and awkwardness in social settings as well as will not be able to express their thoughts effectively. In addition, maintaining face to face conversation can also be a challenge due to the fact that communicating online one has more time to think before giving a response while the pace of live conversation is faster.
At the same time, it is possible to delimit a positive outcome of social media, which is a variety of opportunities to make new friendships and maintain relationships with the diverse force of people on distance. The following brings several major benefits for individuals. Firstly, social networking sites can help to find people that share the same endeavors, hobbies, and interests, which can result in the “expansion of connections” and “enhancement of collective and individual creativity” as well as the feeling of belonging to a particular group of people. (OKeeffe, and Clarke-Pearson 800-804) As a result, individuals can get the precious experience and feel like being supported in a certain activity. Secondly, due to social media, there are no boundaries for international communication as far as the Internet exposes individuals to different people, in contrast to the live communication, which is mostly centered on meeting people from community or neighborhood. Subsequently, people have an opportunity to raise their cultural awareness and know-how to find a common language with people from different backgrounds without any stereotypes or prejudices. Therefore, the ability to maintain international communication successfully becomes strengthened.
To sum up, the issue of the influences of social media on communication and interpersonal relationships has been subjected to the increased interest of both common people and specialists. As a result, it became possible to delimit some of the crucial areas of life where the adverse impact of social networks is visible. Among such are interpersonal relationships, which become less intimate and less strong due to the lack of nonverbal communication and diminished development of empathy. Moreover, people also lose the ability to communicate orally and express personal ideas effectively. On the opposite, as a strong side of social media should be named strengthening cultural awareness and having the chance to build relationships with people living around the globe. 

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