Has social media changed the way in which we communicate for the better?

Here are two fantastic TED talks in which Jon Ronson and Sherry Turkle discuss the impact of social media on the ways in which we communicate in the 21st century.

Jon Ronson: When online shaming spirals out of control

Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone?

What do you think of the way in which we communicate with each other now? Has social media had a positive impact?

160 comments

  1. Will Shilton

    Before I watched the two TED talks I believed that everyone treated social media differently and that everyone had different reasons for using it. However, my view on this has changed now that I have watched these videos. I now think that in some way or another everyone is trying to show the most exciting, the most desirable, the most perfected versions of themselves. Everyone in the back of their mind is thinking the same thing before posting something on social media; is this good enough to post? Although I mainly use social media for inspiration or entertainment, when I do post I almost always think about if it is worth posting.

    A key point in Jon Ronson’s TED talk was that everyone wants to hear the same common idea or feeling towards something. For example, the response to Justine Sacco’s tweet was consistently negative and because this was the common response, everyone wanted to see nothing but that. So, when someone did stick up for Justine they too were also put down by the people who sided with the negativity. In the media-driven world we live in today, everyone wants to hear and see the same ideal thing. It’s as if anything new, different or outside the box is completely forbidden from the ideal world that we live in, because it is not what the mainstream wants to see.

    Some people have become so indulged into social media, that their real lives are becoming harder as they no longer understand how to have a conversation with someone in the real world. This was mentioned in Sherry Turkle’s TED talk, and it sparked this idea to me that some people have become so used to editing and deleting what they want to say in a message that when it comes to the real thing they freeze and have no clue what to say. I believe this is a growing problem in the younger generations as it is taking away their possibilities of learning and understanding from talking and interacting with other people in the real world.

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  2. Chloe Priest

    Coming from a daily user of social media, i feel as if my views are biased that social media is positive for teenagers and adults. However, after watching these videos it has made me realise the extent of how obsessed our generation are becoming to it.

    As we are typically ‘glued’ to our phones, we lose track of how long we actually spend on our mobile devices on either Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Hours go by when we don’t even realise as we are too busy scrolling. Our communication is slowly talking more on social media than in real life. People even use the computer screen to their advantage and say things that they wouldn’t typically say in real life, which could really diminish someones self confidence. Personally, i believe this is the worst negative of social media as you can easily be targeted.

    Arguably, social media does have various positives as you can keep in contact with family or friends overseas which you wouldn’t of been able to do back in time. You can easily keep up to date with news and information about anything. Additionally, it can be extremely beneficial when it comes to curing boredom due to the unlimited games.

    In conclusion, these TED videos have enlightened me to see the negatives in social media when really i only saw the positives. I have now realised that we are becoming more addicted to social media and we seem to be unaware. We are creating a society where face to face communication is less common and its all about talking on group chats. For future generations, they will grow up surrounded by social media more than ever.

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  3. Robert Tyler

    In this ever developing world in which we live in, the use of social media is no longer a choice but is instead a necessity. The ability to adapt is a trait that is founded through the evolution of humanity over generations, with the frequent use of social media becoming an adaptation that society has subconsciously made. It provides a world where people are no longer judged on their class or the quality of their upbringing, but instead gives people free licence to portray themselves in a completely different image to people who will never encounter them face to face. Social media platforms are based upon the notion of creating and improving a relationships, whether they business or personal. Therefore it clearly offers common and perhaps even mediocre people in the harsh reality of the real world, to create a better life for themselves!

    The ridiculing and demise of Justine Sacco in Jon Ronson’s TED talk is a clear and concerning revelation of social media’s ability to punish those who make the simplest mistakes. It is world without an undo button! Simply put, you can buy twitter a bouquet of flowers as a form of apology. However, for every unlucky person who’s live is devastated by the harsh brutality of social media, a new opportunity of a better career is offered to a person who has been given the capability to demonstrate their talents through social media. Social media has the impressive ability to highlight a persons deepest thoughts and feeling. It proves that social media is a tool to be feared but also to be utilised.

    It is undeniable that social media’s ability to connect people on a worldwide scale is beneficiary to all generations of people. 50 years ago if I wanted to contact my sister on the other side of the world in Australia I would’ve had to write her a letter which could’ve took a good few weeks to be delivered. Contrary to this, in the present day it takes me mere seconds to deliver a message to her which she can view immediately. Due to this, methods of communication such as letters are being consigned to being ancient and out of date.

    Nevertheless, it is painfully clear to see that this new enthralling part of our modern lives is causing us to lose touch with reality. Social has caused the deterioration of a persons ability to communicate verbally with others, a skill which is prioritised by employers and friends alike. Perhaps the blunt updates of birthdays and engagements which social media platforms such as Facebook allow people to share, could be instead be exchanged for a suffixal phone call to the person whom the update effects. In a world where eyes are fixed on to little black screens, perhaps if we lifted our heads we might realise that the people and the world around us are more important than the video of a cat running into a door which has popped up on your timeline. After all there must be a founded reason why the older generation refer to the pre social media era as the ‘good old days’!

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  4. Ella Haworth

    Before watching these TED talks, social media and technology was always something I brushed off or didn’t think that much about. Its always been a part of my life, I have never experienced a world where people didn’t spend hours a day on their phone, posting photos, updating statuses. Normality to me is sharing your world online, every moment liked or re-tweeted, every relationship posted without a second thought. Our world is intertwined with technology, we show the world ourselves, but to what extent?
    As a community we share who we want to be, with whoever we desire, so we can leave the imprint we want on this world. Positivity seems to be something we preach online and interfaces such as Twitter and Instagram give us the platform to share this message. Hashtags for body positivity and female empowerment bombard these types of sites everyday, strangers connecting over important issues, creating a seemingly harmonious community.
    Just as Jon mentioned, social media humanises us in way, we feel better about ourselves knowing someone is going through the same as you. On the surface, technology is a place of hope and prosperity to strive for greater understanding, when the fantasy of social media is met, nothing could get in the way. But suddenly when a comment arises that you and your online ‘companions’ don’t agree with, all hope is suddenly lost in a sea of aggressive replies, becoming sensationalised. Your one small voice becomes an echo of thousands, nothing is held back like there maybe would in a newspaper. This post reaches the entire globe, with millions of online communities persecuting one person. We do this because we feel comfortable, we know that others feel the same way too, we can’t be shamed because then the rest of the world would be too. As a human, we all know that if we were that one person who made a mistake, we would feel terrible; but because we hide behind a shadow, we disregard the consequences.
    Technology changes us, it gives us power we could never imagine, we can speak to who we want, when we want, without boundaries. We are connected to our friends but isolated from them in real life. We want each other, but at a distance- where we can control what we say and how it is taken- technology allows us to edit, delete and change any text, any comment, any post.
    Social media lets us share our life, but it keeps us from truly living.

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  5. Maya-Lily Wan

    I have never been a fan of social media and have only ever used it as a portal into the places in the world that I can reach and explore. Social media is also a connection to friends and a quicker way to get in contact with them if I needed.

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  6. Sharan Kaur

    Most teenagers, like myself, use social media daily and therefore my views are biased. However, i do believe that social media has positive and negative impacts that do affect teenagers, also the younger generation.

    Because of social media, teenagers are more likely to become antisocial due to lack of communication in reality. We don’t realise how often we are on our mobile devices throughout daily life. This means that we are wasting most of our valuable time just scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. Teenagers now communicate through mobile apps such as Snapchat or Twitter, this can be dangerous as anonymous people can hide behind the screens such as predators which makes children become an easy target. This can lead to the worst to happen such as online grooming, which is a main negative point to address.

    However, social media does have positives such as you can use the internet for contacting family and friends that live overseas. Therefore, this makes it easier for communication as video calling on applications such as Skype enables individuals to video call. The internet can be useful for things such as online shopping which makes it easier for people such as the older generation. Another positive impact of social media is that it may help boost an individual’s self esteem and confidence, for example, when they receive comments or likes on selfies.

    In conclusion, i believe that after watching the TED videos, i have realised many of the negative impacts of social media which has made me believe that the amount of people on social media will keep growing throughout the years in the future as each generation will get more addicted. This will affect how we all communicate with each other as more people will become antisocial because of lack of conversation in reality.

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  7. Chasey-lain Willis

    What do you think of the way in which we communicate with each other now? Has social media had a positive impact?

    Prior to watching both TED talks I was unaware of how much we depend upon social media in our daily lives. Whether that is to post a snap on snapchat or to tweet out our feelings to the whole online world on twitter… Scary. It’s crazy to think that 10 years ago I would have been sat at home colouring, playing with toys or messing around in the garden. Nowadays, at the age of 6 children are engrossed with technology; it’s the easiest way to keep kids entertained. However, growing up from such a young age with technology is damaging.

    Every day social media is becoming a bigger and bigger part in our lives and society itself. You can’t walk around school nowadays without seeing the majority of people on their phones texting, snapchatting or calling their mates. Most of us are unaware of the positive and negative impacts social media has on us. After watching Ronson and Turkle discuss the impacts and the way we talk to one another online, has helped to open my eyes and make me understand that if we don’t change the way we communicate with one another now then we never will. It will continue to get worse. Social media is to blame for the poor behaviour and manners we have to one another. Twitter is seen to be a powerful site, people admit their ‘shameful secrets’ to the world and then twitter (the ‘mutual approval machine’) does its job and finds people that approve of your thoughts. It’s so powerful it even made ‘voiceless’ people realise that they had a voice. Ronson discussed how dramatic and immense the impacts of social media can be. This was discussed via Justine Sacco’s tweet. It shows just how quickly something can be perceived in the wrong context and spread around the world just at the click of a button. Once the whole world knows everyone gets together and acts like a barrier, firing hurtful and damaging comments at you. It dehumanises people and makes them feel worthless.

    Our devices are so psychologically powerful that they don’t only change what we do, they change who we are. Sometimes social media changes you for the worse. You’re often put into a situation where you say something to someone that you would never say to someone in real life. This leaves you with a lack of self-confidence and self-worth.
    Once we snap back into the harsh reality.. we find ourselves stuck in conversation because we can no longer think nor control what we are about to say. Social media gets the best of us. The majority of us are lonely but we’re afraid of intimacy, So social media appeals to us most when we are vulnerable.

    To conclude my overall opinions, I think we have poor communication online with one another. Social media has a huge impact on this. We are fooled into believing what is wrong instead of what is right. The videos have helped to highlight the key impacts that social media has on our lives and have shown how poor our communication skills really are; leaving us in a situation where we can live without social media. But really… we don’t want to.

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  8. sophie walsh

    Before watching the TED videos my opinion was that social media could be considered a positive outlet for people allowing peers to see each other in the best possible light whilst also giving them control over how they portray themselves. After viewing these videos I have seen how people’s control can be completely taken away from them when it comes to one small comment being misconstrued and then swept up into a media storm for the pleasure of other people to watch and judge. I feel the amount of exposure people have to social media today has made people become less attached to making genuine human connections and people often need reminding that even though their words are on a screen they still carry the same amount of power to them.

    Everyone has fallen guilty to saying something about someone online. Whether it be in a private message or on a social platform allowing others to see but with the availability of things such as screenshot words can easily be spread allowing others to pass judgment on you without knowing the full picture, this is what I would consider the danger to social media and it can be one of the most damaging things to happen to someone. For example, Justine Sacco made one thoughtless joke however she lost her job and everything she had worked for all before she had even gotten off of her flight. This to me clearly demonstrates that social media needs to be given less power as if we carry on living in this internet ruled society things will only continue to escalate.

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