Shaping Society

Published: 2019-04-02 20:39:57
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Computer-based technologies 

Social media is changing how information is passed from one society to another and even across the globe. It presents a platform where people are free to create content, share it with others, bookmark the information and network at their speed and preference. There are numerous types of social media as Yu, Asur and Huberman indicate when they express "Examples include Facebook, MySpace, Digg, Twitter and JISC listservs on the academic side" (492). It is a form of communication that is changing how society approaches various issues that include politics, entertainment, technology and environmental issues. All these are attributed to the speed, the ease of use and ease of access that social media presents to its users (Yu, Asur, and Huberman). Therefore, the paper looks at what social media is, how it has evolved over time, and the positive and negative impact it has on today's society and a conclusion that gives a recommendation on the appropriate use of social media.

It is a collection of computer-based technologies the make it possible to create and share information, career interests, share ideas and also acts as a form of networking medium (O'Keeffe and Clarke-Pearson). It incorporates the use of web-based technologies including computers, smartphones, tablets and much more to create platforms that are highly interactive and where people, communities or organizations can share, talk about, change and co-create content that is user-generated or that which is pre-made as posted online. Social media has introduced diversity and substantial changes and advancement in communication between people, organizations companies and communities (O'Keeffe and Clarke-Pearson). There are numerous examples of social media including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, SnapChat, Pinterest and much more. Each of these types of social media is designed in a unique way which presents a unique form of application for its users. They can be in the form of video sharing sites, virtual worlds, blogs, microblogs, social gaming sites, social network sites, forums, product reviews, photo sharing, business networks and social bookmarking (O'Keeffe and Clarke-Pearson).

Evidence indicates that over eighty-four percent of adolescents in America use social media and especially Facebook. More than sixty percent of American teenagers aged between thirteen and seventeen have a profile on a particular type of social media, and these individuals will spend more than two hours each day engaging in social networking on social media (O'Keeffe and Clarke-Pearson). Those who use the internet will use most of their time in a day on social media sites than any other sites. Research also indicates that the use of social media especially on PCs and smartphones increased by more than ninety percent. It was from a total of sixty-six billion minutes in the month of July in 2011 to one hundred and twenty-one minutes by the same month in 2012. According to McIntyre "two-thirds of American adult Internet consumers used social networking sites as of December 2012, according to the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project" (6). The function of social media especially for content developers and distributors has changed from that of only sharing information to a level where these individuals can create a business and gain an income through the various forms of social media. It also presents career opportunities for many people in America and around the world. It is the reason why there is a noticeable and significant increase in social media since it was discovered up to now.

 

Online communication as it is now was sparked by the use of a dial-up Internet service that was paid of hourly more than forty years ago. Compuserve Information Services is recorded as the first significant internet service provider in the United States (McIntyre). The company had no serious competitors during its initial years. It was developed in part by an engineering graduate, Jeff Wilkins, from the University of Arizona in 1969. He would avail the access to a computer that was in his father-in-law's insurance company, and people would pay for the access because at that moment Americans did not own computers in their homes. Despite how to influence the product by CompuServer was, the company remained unknown the first ten years of business and only became recognizable to the public in 1975. It only became popular in the 1980s (McIntyre).

It only acted as an internet service provider and not a form of social media as described in the paper. However, its founders created programs that introduced computer and communication services to users (McIntyre). The company also created bulletin board systems and emails which were the foundations of modern day social networking and social media. In 1986, the company created email systems in conjunction with MCI Communications Corp. and the company recorded more than five hundred thousand subscriptions. It meant that the system was the world's largest interconnected mail network (McIntyre). CompuServer presented a form of online communication, but the development of UseNet introduced the creation of an online community. The company would create communities or groups meant for specific individuals in society and who were sure to join (McIntyre). These included activists, government officials and much more. It was followed by the development of social networking sites, and the first was Six Degrees which believed that everyone around the world had the ability to interact with each other through six people and thus Six Degrees presented the opportunity (McIntyre). It started with only one hundred and fifty people and a year after its launch the site had more than one million members across the globe. Other social networking sites followed suit, but the significant difference came with the attempt to target specific groups other than the general population. It was marked by the development of MySpace in 2003, and 2004 Facebook was developed students from Harvard, and the site surpassed the influence of MySpace by far (McIntyre). Facebook was followed by the development of more recently social media sites including WhatsUp, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and much more. Each of these social media sites targets as many people as they can and try to increase their influence among their users through the features they avail and the type of experience they give to their subscribers.

The impacts of social media on society

Social media has had a significant impact on society, and the effects are both positive and adverse. It has presented and increased the opportunity for people to engage in business and develop careers (Simeon et al.). The social media sites have led to the creation of online shops where people get access to goods and services at a fee. It also presents a platform where people can market their products and reach international markets. Social media has also led to the development of careers where bloggers only work online, and they can make money as bloggers who are a form of career in today's society (Simeon et al.). Social media has also simplified communication. Teachers can communicate and teach students through social media sites, for example, a class may decide to create a Facebook page where they can interact with their teacher and share information. People who are far away from each other including countries apart can communicate in a cheaper way through social media unlike phone calls which are often expensive (Simeon et al.). It has also modified how politics is conducted in today's society, and for any politician to gain popularity and stay ahead of his or her competitors, there is the necessity for a social media presence. Almost all presidents around the world are on social media, and they display the progress they make on these sites. It is because the sites are now accessible by more than ninety percent of the world population and thus present the best platform for political activity (Simeon et al.). It has also improved socialization where people can reconnect with old friends and family who may be distances away from them. People can share videos, pictures and the progress they are making in life with friends on social media sites.

However, it is not all positive for social media. These sites have brought about negative effects especially on security. People use these sites for cyberbullying and online harassment. In most instances, women and children will fall prey to individuals who are looking to hurt others through online media sites (Boyd). These people will harass members of the public emotionally and leave these individuals psychologically distressed. Many terrorist groups often use social media sites to communicate and plan their attacks. They will use social media for the display of inhuman acts like the killing of innocent people through sharing of these videos(Boyd). Many social media users will get addicted to the various social media sites and therefore their overall productivity is affected. Students may be in class, but their concentration is on these sites, workers may be addicted to these sites to the point that organizations ban their use to increase the productivity of their employees (Boyd). It also infringes on the privacy of people. An individual may share a piece of information on social media, and it could come back to haunt him or her. People may look so much into such an individual's life that information the person wanted to remain private becomes public (OtKeeffe and Clarke-Pearson).

The world has witnessed as social media advanced through the years and made communication easier than it was. The type of media has come with significant advantages that have impacted the lives of people in positive ways. People can now communicate and share information easily, businesses can be created and developed using these social media sites, and people can make money as they do what they love on social media. However, the use of these sites needs to be carried out with caution because they can have adverse negative effects on the users. There have been incidences of suicide due to cyber bullying and people suffering emotionally due to online harassment. People will use social media, but its access needs to be limited to a certain level.

Works cited

ADDIN ZOTERO_BIBL {"custom":[]} CSL_BIBLIOGRAPHY Boyd, Danah. Itts Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. New Haven, CT, USA: Yale University Press, 2014. Print.

McIntyre, Karen Elizabeth. tThe Evolution of Social Media from 1969 to 2013: A Change in Competition and a Trend Toward Complementary, Niche Sites.t The Journal of Social Media in Society 3.2 (2014): n. pag. thejsms.org. Web. 11 Apr. 2017.

OtKeeffe, Gwenn, and Kathleen Clarke-Pearson. tThe Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families | From the American Academy of Pediatrics | Pediatrics.t (2011): n. pag. Web. 11 Apr. 2017.

Simeon, Edosomwan et al. tThe History of Social Media and Its Impact on Business.t (2011): 79t91. Print.

Yu, Louis Lei, Sitaram Asur, and Bernardo A. Huberman. tTrend Dynamics and Attention in Chinese Social Media.t American Behavioral Scientist 59.9 (2015): 1142t1156. SAGE Journals. Web.

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