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?


  1. Amy Webley

    After watching both of these videos it made me realise how much social media has changed the way that we live. There are many positives otherwise none of us would be interested in social media. We are able to communicate with people all over the world, a power we didn’t have before. At the click of a button we’re able to see what people are doing right now.

    However, there are a number of negatives. When I wake up I check my social media the way people used to read the newspaper first thing in the morning. Except, instead of reading about big events, I am watching my friend’s Snapchat story from 3am about how they couldn’t fall asleep. We know which one matters more but we can’t help but prioritise one over the other. Also, we use social media as a way of proving that we have a life rather than actually focusing on having a life. If we go on holiday or to a party we post pictures so everybody knows we did.

    Even the way that we communicate has changed. A lot of the time, somebody tells me that they’re ‘talking’ to somebody when they only speak on social media and can’t have a conversation in real life. Being behind the screen of a phone gives us more confidence because we can edit the message or delete it and start again, like Sherry Turkle said in the video. We communicate on social media because we find it easier to be ourselves, we have more confidence.

    I use social media a lot, so I can’t say that I would happily give it up because it’s a big part of my life, but I can accept that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good thing.


  2. Amy Webley

    After watching both of the TED talks i realised how much social media has changed the way that we live. There are many positives otherwise none of us would be interested in social media. We are able to communicate with people all over the world, a power we didn’t have before. At the click of a button we’re able to see what people are doing right now.

    However, there are a number of negatives. When I wake up I check my social media the way people used to read the newspaper first thing in the morning. Except, instead of reading about big events, I am watching my friend’s Snapchat story from 3am about how they couldn’t fall asleep. We know which one matters more but we can’t help but prioritise one over the other. Also, we use social media as a way of proving that we have a life rather than actually focusing on having a life. If we go on holiday or to a party we post pictures so everybody knows we did.

    Even the way that we communicate has changed. A lot of the time, somebody tells me that they’re ‘talking’ to somebody when they only speak on social media and can’t have a conversation in real life. Being behind the screen of a phone gives us more confidence because we can edit the message or delete it and start again, like Sherry Turkle said in the video. We communicate on social media because we find it easier to be ourselves, we have more confidence.

    I use social media a lot, so I can’t say that I would happily give it up because it’s a big part of my life, but I can accept that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good thing.


  3. Lauren Hart

    Prior to watching these two videos, I was becoming blissfully unaware of the amount of time we spend on our smart phones scrolling through the many forms of social media available at the tap of a fingertip. Jon Ronson and Sherry Turkle have opened up an entirely new world to many of the people watching their discussions. It’s scary to see that it is necessary to listen for just 15-20 minutes of a speech before you can truly see what these small devices are doing to our lives. It’s almost as though we, as a generation, have had a veil over our eyes for the past few years and now we’re only just beginning to realise the consequences and seeing what is going on behind this veil. Jon Ronson has perfectly highlighted the vicious swarm of beings social media allows us to become when we are allowed to say whatever comes to mind there and then. Justine’s tweet wouldn’t have reached such a large audience without the aid of social media. It wouldn’t have even caught the attention of more than a few people within earshot had it been said in public. However, because of outlets such as Twitter, thousands and thousands of people had access to, not only viewing the tweet itself, but also freely expressing their scripted and probably somewhat influenced views online for the rest of the community to see. People can then easily feed from the power being created in numbers and delve deeper into the torture; it easily all becomes a vicious circle of lies and deceit. And where do we think this trend is going to go in the future? Sherry Turkle has pointed out that people nowadays find it difficult to be alone, to be without the touch of a screen. So, maybe social media’s impact on the way we communicate isn’t as positive as we all may have thought it to be.


  4. James Ward

    Before watching either video. I would say that social media has changed peoples lives for the better as it has allowed us to communicate with family and friends who are a long distance apart, as well as give people a platform to defend themselves on or call out someone who has done wrong. However there is always negatives with social media and that is stuff like cyber-bullying and posting inappropriate pictures/jokes. this is because anyone can easily screenshot it and send it to their friends or journalists where they spread the content causing the internet to turn into a pack of savages who can destroy peoples social life entirely.

    Firstly. Jon Ronson talks about how a simple joke can turn into a witch hunt and the dark side of social media. Ronson talks about Justine Sacco, a former News Reporter and journalist who made casual joke about going to Africa. However it quickly turned into a public shaming which resulted in her losing her job. He also talks others who had similar situations and how they have depression and anxiety attacks. In doing this. Ronson is highlighting the Bad side of social media, showing how a massive witch hunt can begin simply by someone making a comment that can be taken slightly out of context. Furthermore it demonstrates how platforms that were made to give people voices have turned into a battleground where the objective is to silence someone or group of people.

    In the Second video, Sherry Turkle talks about how social media has changed how we communicate with people daily and how social media has allowed us to talk to people who you may not see often. but then also explains that as technology and society becomes more complex, we as people should not use social media to the point where face to face contact and meeting up with a friend becomes almost obsolete instead opting to talk to them via Skype or Discord as this could make society very anti-social and stay in their own little bubble which they never leave.

    In conclusion, i believe the way we communicate with others is acceptable behavior and the use of social media has helped us reach out to new people; communities and has been very helpful in finding new friends, to say that social media has made a positive impact is an understatement. Social media has allowed to communicate with people we thought we never could and while there is dark side to social media, its the same as with many other things in life, there will be negatives but always look for positives.


  5. Matthew Powell

    Unlike the majority of my generation, I’d like to think I’m not as dependent upon social media as the people that the two TED talks are directed at. From my somewhat rare use of social media in comparison to some other teenagers of today, I still have an understanding of the benefits it brings to users. I thought I had a reasonable knowledge of the drawbacks it came with too, but after watching the two videos it is clear I was still in the dark about the extent of which these drawbacks affect people as individuals and society as a whole.
    Obviously social media is incredible in ways that allows billions of people across the world to communicate – something that would otherwise be unachievable with such speed/ease. The fact that social media can also provide a gateway for more negative things like bullying to spread past the realm at which it would usually occur and beyond was also obvious to me – for example from bullying at school, to everywhere else through technological communication. However I was unaware of how, on much larger scales such as the Justine Sacco case in the second video, we can be quick to collectively dehumanise a fellow human through the power that social media gives us. Having not experienced such atrocities myself, it is easy for me not to think about the dangerous possibilities social media can facilitate if in the wrong hands.
    More basically, the urge to be heard or noticed by others is unlocked by the abilities handed to us by social media. As shown in the videos, such desires can often consume a person, bring to them unimaginable amounts of unwanted attention, or completely destroy their life just from a small attempt at communication. In my opinion, social media has changed the way in which we communicate for better, but these platforms aren’t being used in ways that support this by everyone. Although social media has revolutionised communication and arguably improved our lives, we are ultimately the ones who decide whether it is used for better or for worse.


  6. Abbi Kavanagh

    Social Media is a big part of a lot of people’s lives. It allows us to connect to people on the other side of the world in one second, rather than in weeks or months via letters/ emails. However, it is currently dehumanizing many people as they are losing their ability to communicate in person as they are so used to talking behind a screen. Even though it does connect people, Turkle says that we are connected but, we are alone still, which conveys that we will always be alone if we are constantly on social media. Both of the talks allowed me to realise that social media is deteriorating the World, slowly but surely.
    In Ronson’s talk, he discusses the aspect of internet shaming. His talk illustrates how difficult it is for people to interpret something you wrote or did on social media, in the way you want them to. If done so wrongly, it can lead to a lot of misunderstood hate which can ruin someone’s life and can sometimes end in horrifying repercussions. Therefore, examples like this prove that people should have real conversations so that they can interpret something in the right way and it will not end up in ‘internet shaming’.
    Additionally, Turkle made some very significant points about the lack of conversation we have because of Social media. She also mentioned about how by texting, we can edit or delete something that we were going to say, however, in real life, once we say something, we can never take it back. This goes to show that we are not really saying what we really want to say, by texting, which therefore creates a fake outlook on someone which could end up being a negative impact when it comes to conversing in real life.
    To conclude, I think the way we are communicating right now is creating a bad impact on the world as we are creating a fake image and are missing out on opportunities that could arise when talking to people face to face. Social media has made a positive, but also negative, impact as we can now talk in a variety of methods and it is quick and easy but we are becoming less social and are often becoming more alone.


  7. Charlie McGowan

    Before watching these videos I knew that you need to be carefull online with what you post, but these videos have certainly made me more aware. The videos show that you need to think carefully before you put anything online, this is because even if you post something like a photo or a comment online, if you delete it straight away, someone could have seen it and even screenshot ted it or retweeted it so that the whole world can see what you have posted. Also the videos show that people need to stop being engrossed in social media and in what everyone else is doing, people should just live their own lives. Also people don’t go out and meet their friends as much now because they can just talk to them easily by texting them, this is making us lazier and less sociable.


  8. Kate Peach

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

    In recent years, technology and social media have together become a pillar that supports the everyday functioning of modern society. We use our phones to stay in contact with old friends and distant relatives with whom we would have otherwise lost contact with entirely if it wasn’t for the annual Facebook birthday reminder or occasional WhatsApp message. These sites have given us the chance to connect with strangers and people we know alike- but is texting and snapchatting friends an acceptable substitute for actually socializing with them in person? This is a question which Sherry Turkle explores in her TED talk. Turkle showed the audience a photograph of her daughter and her friends sitting together but with their eyes fixed on the screens of their phones. This sort of interaction gives the illusion of socialization but really it could be used as evidence in support to Turkle’s idea of being ‘alone together’. This type of social interaction is becoming the norm for some and this is somewhat disconcerting in relation to young people actually learning how to have a productive conversation.

    Sitting behind a screen provides the protection of anonymity that has opened up brand new opportunities for ordinary people to get their voices heard- sometimes not in the kindest of ways. ‘Internet trolls’ is a term that merely ten years ago was not known by everyone because not everyone had been affected by them; the fact that they cannot see their victim makes it far easier for them to administer harsh criticism and even death wishes. The means by which we communicate has changed thus a new form of communication has emerged with its own etiquette and rules. Now, it is perfectly acceptable for the masses to persecute an individual simply for making a misunderstood joke, as Jon Ronson expressed in his TED talk about internet shaming. This sort of behaviour is adding ammunition to the arguments made by some individuals and groups that social media has had a negative impact on our society; these arguments are not made without provocation, as Ronson suggests, many lives have been virtually ruined by the type of merciless shaming experienced by Justine Sacco.

    However, in spite of all these negatives, social media is a platform that has allowed people on opposite sides of the Earth to communicate at the press of a button and individuals to advertise their talent to a wider audience than was previously possible. Social media is not just the home of internet trolls and negativity; sites such as Facebook and Twitter can bring groups of people together who would otherwise never have met. With the growing popularity of social media, communication has adapted and possibilities have extended but as long as social interaction is not limited to the internet we should not be so perturbed by it.


  9. Charlotte Jefferies

    Before watching these two videos, I always thought that social media and technology had a positive impact on the way we communicate. This is because it allows us to keep in contact with those around the world who we may rarely see and learn about places globally, it also gives a way of quick and easy communication with work colleagues and others we may need to be able to contact to quickly exchange information. As well as giving people the opportunity to share exiting and memorable experiences in their life with their friends and family.

    However having watched these two videos I now see that social media is in fact doing a lot more damage than is actually seen. It is relied on too often and too heavily for the wrong reasons, causing it to be misused. It gives people a sense of companionship al of the time so they do not feel alone however without social media, Facebook friends and twitter followers they in fact are still alone; by being constantly submerged in social media people are not communicating in real life, losing friendships and causing isolation. Children are also growing up seeing texting to be the normal way of communication and are unable to communicate face to face, leading to a lack of valuable life skills, that are needed for school, university and all areas of employment. It just shows how the overuse of social media is changing the world and standards for the worse and is doing a lot of damage in a lot of places.


  10. Victoria Hawkins

    What do you think of the way in which we communicate with each other now? Has social media had a positive impact?
    Before watching the two videos I feel social media has had a very positive impact on our lives. We are now far more up to date with the world we live in with information at a click of a button. We are also able to keep in touch with people which previously may have been more difficult. As the internet is almost immediate we are able to talk to a person which may across the world as if they were right in front of you. This is amazing for people like me who have family far away; this would not be achievable without social media.
    After watching both videos my view on social media has changed. I had over looked all the bad things that go on. That the world is sometimes a bad place. Instead of having innocent jokes many things are taken too far with lives been ruined. Things are said which would never be said face to face but because it is on a computer they think it is more acceptable. As well as people finding a voice which more than often negative people also become lonely. From my ow experience I know that whenever I can I check my phone. If I don’t want to talk you don’t read the message. People become lonely. From this loneliness people loose communication skills and become nasty and bitter.
    To conclude before watching the videos I had a very naive view of social media that it was all good and nothing bad happened. But in fact we are losing our society and becoming disconnected with people.


  11. Ella

    The two videos demonstrate the huge impact social media holds over our lives. It has become so natural, that checking your phone for texts or refreshing Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat have become involuntary responses.
    The first TED talk presented ‘shame tweeting’; this is a common theme among all social medias. People are quick to judge, and in the Justine Sacco case, quick to misinterpret sarcastic or ironic tones. It is common behaviour for people to mimic those around them, which is why it caught on so fast. Social media is built around the need to fit in. People will post pictures and tweets in the hopes that others will agree or ‘like’. If something funny happens, the instinct is the get your phone out and record it; if you are out for a meal, a picture is taken and uploaded to snapchat so everyone knows you are having fun and aren’t alone.
    However, I do agree that social media has changed our lives for the better in some aspects. Causes and news can be spread around easily, young people are becoming more aware of politics, natural disasters and war. Politics in particular has become more social media based. Candidates will gain the support of young people by relating to them in such ways.
    Social media can be a fun and friendly way to share aspects of your life with others, it can however leave us feeling unsatisfied or empty; we are living our lives behind a screen and aren’t living in the moment. Memories don’t last as long as photos but they are much more precious.


  12. Becca Martin

    After watching the two videos I’m aware how much social media has had an impacts on our lives. It was obvious before how generations had changed and overtime become more addicted, for example being more more bothered about how many likes they had on a photo rather than the important things in life, now i can see it’s completely changed the way we live compared to the past. People are very reliant on their phones. We can use them in so many beneficial ways such as news, keeping in contact with people, remembering events and so on. But no one really thinks about the negative impacts it has on peoples lives.

    Many people now care more about taking a good photo than actual enjoying the moment there in. There is also cyber bullying because its easier to insult people and say what you think while hiding behind a phone screen. Many younger children have also become attached and are missing out on having a childhood due to it. Also people are not learning things from first hand experience instead they read about it or text so aren’t learning any life skills.

    So overall even though there are positives to social media and technology the negatives show how much of on impact its had and how overused it all is.


  13. Jasmine Saadat

    Social media has definitely impacted on the way we communicate and the way we act toward one another in the 21st century.
    In the first video about ‘shame tweeting’ it demonstrates the way we act toward one another, we no longer hold our tongues or watch what we say. Twitter and other social media sites have allowed us the freedom to speak our minds, however, in this day and age we come to abuse this freedom. When we speak our minds we no longer care for the impact it has on the victim and we watch from behind the screen as we tear someone’s life apart. This behaviour would have been unheard of before social media but now it has become the norm as everyone only follows the crowd, afraid the same would happen to them if they were to defend the victim.
    The second video shows the impact of phones and emails on communicating. We find it much easier to send a text or email than have a conversation in reality. This is because of the different ways we can express our thoughts and opinions in a way we would never dare do in reality. In a real conversation we mumble and stutter whereas in a text you’re thoughts are easier and clearer to get across and people find this comforting.
    I find social media very intimidating as everything you say becomes public as soon as you post it and if it were to back fire you would have your life torn apart. However, texting has made conversing much easier and more young people are expressing their views and being heard.


  14. George Dax

    After watching both TED talks and listening to both Jon Ronson and Sherry Turkle, my entire view of technology and social media has changed. Firstly, I’d like to address Jon Ronson’s talk. Personally I have seen online shaming in many forms on the main social media website I use which is Facebook. The specific case of the unfortunate Justine was by no means just but I still feel sorry for her. I saw this tweet on Facebook, it was so huge that almost all social media websites saw it. In my opinion I think the hate and shame that she received was not deserved. Her statement was indeed vile and unjustified, however, as Jon Ronson said, we live in a democracy. Observing how most people reacted to Justine’s Tweet, there is no trace of this democracy that we supposedly live in. Why must everyone use hate as a tactic to remove someone’s morally wrong opinion? Could we not have gone about this whole manner with some decency to express why we believe she was wrong rather than cuss and scream her into submission? Surely a rational argument could have solved the matter much more smoothly than the prolonged viral sensation that some found this Tweet to be. So, when asked, “has social media improved the way we communicate for the better?” I would have to say surely not. This raises more questions to me, however.

    How do we return to an online society that shows much more reason, intellect and kindness? It has almost become normality to shame others on social media, as Ronson showed. Why are the shamers seen as the heroes? Surely by becoming just as bad as the person who made the initial error, you are just as bad as well. I think as a species that strives on teamwork, society and communication the invention of social media so far has stunted the growth of our ability to work together.

    Looking at what Sherry Turkle said about the way technology has affected communication, I would ask, what do you define as communication nowadays? Do you mean physical communication? Face to face? Or online communication? From what Sherry spoke of, I believe that online communication and communicating with technology in general has devolved. People have the ability to be cruel behind a screen. When presented with a conversation face to face, we always remember our manners and social skills we have learned growing up. I almost feel that technology has no social etiquette as people don’t associate any social boundaries with online communication because there has never been any since technology’s invention.


  15. alice

    In recent years society has become increasingly dependant on social media, our identities have become shaped around Instagram likes and wifi strength. Our demand for attention and recognition is sourced purely from social media. Prior to watching these videos I would’ve been completely defensive over the idea of me being reliant on social media but admittedly I cannot get enough. If I’m not refreshing my twitter feed then I’m bound to be snap chatting my friends, in fact the only time i’m not doing either of these things is when my parents have taken my phone off me. The truth is I simply cannot go without wifi, it will only end in tears and tantrums. The first video ‘shame tweeting’ brought up only one of multiple issues with social media. It suggests how it shapes our lives and causes us to put a persona upon ourselves to please others as well as it indicating how it has control over us. The second video follows similarly in that we are “alone together” the use of this oxymoron suggests to us that we ourselves our in our own world and what we do online causes people to make assumptions upon us. I do agree that social media can be used in a positive way however it is also misused greatly. Our lives are now shaped on social media and what we do is judged by the rest of the world, I worry for future generations as to how their lives will be affected by this.


  16. Shane Thiara

    Social media can be a good thing as well as an evil thing as it allows you to connect to other people around the world and also allows you to be ridicule and become a victim of online bullying. In the modern world we use technology for different reasons but social media is one of the main reasons we use technology. Ronson at TED talks discusses how shaming social media can be used to ruin someone’s career and allow them to become victims of online bullying, as these respondents can be anyone, they feel as though they can say whatever they like no matter how disgusting and awful it may be.
    I felt as though having social media was a good thing but after watching both these videos, I can now see the naivety of some people and how something that they feel is so small can be something of epic proportion to someone else. Scrolling through our instagram and judge and check our snapchat and judge is an easy thing to do and everyone does it and takes part in the shaming either publicly or privately. Young people are so exposed to technology and social media that they are missing important parts of their childhood. Social media is a good thing as it allows you to see the what’s going on and connect people but it must be used correctly and not for shaming as this sets a bad example and can seriously affect the person you are shaming.


  17. Casey Clark

    What do you think of the way in which we communicate with each other now? Has social media had a positive impact?
    After viewing both TED talks, I have come to realize how much social media is impacting our communities, families, friends and lives as a whole. Even though it allows us to connect to those who we cant see, it also creates an unrealistic opinion on people. This can be due to things such as Internet shaming and cyber bullying. In the second TED talk, Sherry Turkle explains that we are connecting, yet still alone. This made me really think about how social media can be misused, creating drama and loneliness due to nothing but a misunderstood comment. Social media can also make people feel isolated because people think that inappropriate comments can be said through social media, when in reality it is just as bad as face to face.

    Personally, I have began to believe that social media is shaping people’s opinions. It makes people think that judging people for who they are is acceptable, and too many people’s lives have been thrown off track due to this. In conclusion, I have become more aware of how social media is controlling our society for the worst. additionally, the media can help us to connect, but can still ruin lives, so we need to be careful.


  18. Charlee Fear

    Before I started to watch these two clips, I knew exactly what was going to be said in them and I wasn’t surprised one bit. The first TED talk talks about how social media shows us how we are all sheep in a society, we all follow what others do to make us look like we fit in. The story about the woman who tweeted out about going to Africa upsets me in the way that the comment was made to show the American people about the bubble that they have, not the intention of being racist. Of course, it was an easy mistake of the media to think that she was being racist but in the end she didn’t have the intention. But the second someone on twitter retweeted it and showed it to there fanbase, it quickly got out of hand and people just wanted to follow the crowd to well most likely gain more followers themselves. It shows that we shame others to make ourselves feel better and we don’t understand what that message we send to that person can cause them as we just think its a screen.

    The second TED talk is where she talks about texting impacts the modern society and how it also is affecting families. She begins by talking about how her daughter sent her a text before she went to do the talk telling her ‘Good luck’ and how the message made her be in a much happier mood than usual. But then she goes onto how in the morning parents in some families will be always on there phone texting or looking at social media, and not giving there full attention to there kids and if they are little will get upset as there is no strong bond between them. Yet kids of older age also don’t give full attention to there siblings as they are always on there phone too.


  19. Rebecca Timson

    In my perspective society now appears to be mesmerised by the transcendent eidolons of social media. Daily I will check Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to view celebrities and friends post about their lives in a rather repetitive manner. After watching the two TED talks I’ve discovered how naive I have been to the routine of social media which has formed this generation.
    Sherry Turkle highlighted to me the problem with chatting to people online who you don’t know in reality with her ideas of the ‘illusions of companionship without the demands of friendship’. Our generation is ‘glued’ to their phones in order to become an erudite in social media, grasping for the most ‘likes’ in order to gain a sense of approval. Like Turkle I am perhaps now embodying the central paradox by criticising what I do regularly, yet even so I can see how social media may be eradicating the real life conversations between family and friends.
    Jon Ronson’s talk on the transgressions of twitter with artificial dramas really opened to me the malevolent surveillant society we have become, targeting people like Justine Sacco and performing the ‘cathartic alternative to social justice’ reversing the democratic society we are meant to be living in. Communication on social media has become inarticulate and jejune in some cases. Things are so easily broadcasted it is easy to ruin someones life. The materialistic and superficial people we have become due to social media has rather appalled me. Therefore I must say that social media has not changed the way we communicate for the better as it has derived us into eloquence lacking beings hiding behind a screen.


  20. Lauren Smith

    Social media is constantly perceived as the generation changer- the enemy in which is constantly shaping our society and creating new ideology trends for social media users to grasp on to, and become. Both TED talks give predominant and harsh feedback of reality in terms of how devices are disconnecting us from reality and making us appear as sheep, and not as individuals. Jon Ronson’s talk highlighted a hit of reality, the power that social media can have- a clear example of how efficient it can be to dehumanise someone so quickly and simply. It implied fully, how if one opinion is foreseen as correct, we have the power to completely destroy what we for see as wrong, and in this case turning Justine Sacco’s life into complete misery and loneliness without exploring all possibility and option of the situation. However if the situation had turned opposite, the tweet could have been seen in a completely different way and Sacco’s life could’ve been of much more success.
    Sherry Turkle targeted her audience from a different approach. Additionally, her presentation included a summarisation of how social media is beginning to bring us apart rather than together. Moreover, her approach was to magnify on how we communicate less on the very devices that are supposed to merge us together- how robots do not consume feeling and how we are venerable to the lies in which new technology bring us. Turkle was realistic and gave us thought of how we can improve our own communication and how to rely less on our devices, to teach new generations to come so their overall quality of life is better.
    Conclusively, these videos have portrayed how social media dehumanises us, how it shows one ideology for us all to follow and tears down individuality within us. Additionally it shows that communication as decreased, and that the one thing that is supposed to connect everybody, in fact disconnects us from one another.


  21. Eve Renshaw

    I myself cannot put my phone down for more than 20 mites in a row, and if I have its because I’m on my laptop. This is common to most teenagers and many adults nowadays as texting on social media has become second nature. As Sherry Turkle said Siri has become a ‘best friend’ to the media users as it feels as if people are listening to what you have to say, it makes you feel powerful and the social networks make you feel connected to everyone everywhere.
    However, you get ‘trolls’ who can, with enough followers, ruin someone’s life effortlessly with a few tweets or re posts. This is the dark side of social media. These trolls take over large parts of the internet and social media, doing things like commenting mean things on posts and calling people out who have said something that they believe Is wrong although I can be that they have read the situation wrong as many occurrences of this are the same as Justine Sacco, who instead of being an arrogant racist, had intended to make a joke about the way that arrogant racists see the world division and choose to see themselves as immune to the hasher side of the world. This s a good example of social damaging people’s lives as this intended joke got her fired and ruined her life, other people mentioned in Ronson’s ted talk went into hiding because of the shame and depression that the media trolls had caused them.
    Looking over this, the media brings people a sense of belonging and something to do when they would have nothing. It can bring people together from all over the world who enjoy the same things and show people new things that they may have been missing out on. Social media is a dark and beautiful place that can shape a person in good and bad ways.


  22. Jack Holliday

    By Jack Holliday
    Before I watched the video I thought of technology being a good way of communicating with other people. Helping us to connect with the people all around. But after watching the videos I felt as though I had seen the light. Technology has taken over my life. I have grown up with technology so I would be closer with it as it has become a normal way of life. As I am writing this comment with it. I agree with Jon Ronson because I have been a witness to the attack of someone on the internet. The best way to describe it is a rabbit seeing the headlights. If someone has said something that they hadn’t meant to be offensive and people have taken it and shared it to people with a mass following it becomes a virus throughout the internet which then spreads through out the persons life. It overpowers there life, because the internet and social media is a very powerful thing. It can change a persons life in matter of hours. It has the power to get someone fired as seen in Jon Ronson’s video. The internet is a powerful but dangerous place to be in. But it has a lighter side to it. It can change someone’s life for the better. The best story of social media was when a little boy in Afghanistan was seen with a plastic bag with messi on because he couldn’t afford a real shirt. And through the power of sharing he got to meet his idol and it changed his life.
    In Mrs Turkle’s video she shows through out her life how technology has changed the world and how the world has moulded round it. I agree with her on one factor of technology. She talks about how her daughter sits around with her friends on their phones. And that this is how we communicate when we around everyone. I can admit I have had a few conversations texting my mum while she is only in the next room.
    So in conclusion I feel that the internet and social media have some positives but they also have negatives and they can consume your life for the worst like the woman in Jon Ronson’s video and it can stop people from communicating face to face.


  23. Lauren Simmons

    As many people would agree, technology has drastically improved over the past five years and a majority of those people would say that it has changed for the better, myself included, as it allows us to communicate with people that we wouldn’t necessarily stay in touch with or see on a daily basis, just through the touch of a button. However, after watching the videos, my opinion has merely changed. Sure, technology has many advantages, which is why we all use it but many of us decide to ignore what it’s doing to society as a whole.

    The average person spends 3.9 years of their life hiding behind the screens of their phone maybe because they believe that it helps them connect and gives them a voice, as said by Jon Ronson, however it’s ironic that the touch screens make us lose touch and ignore those around us. Technology has made us separate and selfish as we live our lives ‘for the photos’ and spend more time worrying what people think of us rather than enjoying ourselves. I personally find myself checking what my friends are up to from their snapchat stories or instagram posts rather than going out or learning about the real world. It seems that people do things for the sake of it and if they have to post about it, surely they’re doing it for the wrong reasons? People shouldn’t have to depend on other people or what other people think of them to be satisfied with how they’re living their lives yet somehow, we are. Social networks are actually anti-social networks as we use them to hide behind and save ourselves from having to have an actual conversation with one of the thousands of friends or followers we have, who make us feel like we have so many friends when in reality, most of us are lonely. We sit at home measuring our self worth from the number of likes we receive or the number of people that want to ‘talk’ to us, ignoring the people around us. We can’t get through conversations without abbreviation and try to fit our whole lives in to pictures and 10 second videos.

    It would be hypocritical to tell everyone not to use social media or go for days without their phones as we have become dependant on them, however you can take control and realise that we are not as dependant as we thought. Don’t spoil a moment by recording it with a phone so that everyone knows what you’re doing, keep them and tell the ones who care. The way social media has impacted our communication makes it easier for us to dehumanise people as we find the words on our phones that we wouldn’t have the confidence to find in real life. But the times when we have low battery, brings us one step closer to humanity.


  24. Beckie Embley

    Beckie Embley

    The way in which we communicate today is different to that of twenty years ago. Advances in technology and social media have allowed us to communicate with others whilst being completely alone, with apps such as Instagram, snapchat and twitter simplifying all the skills of real life communication.

    Social media has both positive and negative impacts, especially on the new generations. Children are spending there free time on their devices, growing up in the virtual reality of social media. This means that more and more people are lacking the basic skill of face to face conversation, and the cognitive development that stems from this. For example, during the second TED talk Sherry Turtle showed us a picture of her daughter with her friends. The three girls where together, however isolated from each other, purely focused on their phones. With the growing normality of everyday phone use, the art of real life communication is becoming endangered with many people becoming afraid or unable to have a face to face conversation.

    Social media enables us to talk to anyone, anywhere in the world in seconds. Its an easy way to keep in touch with friends and family who live miles away, and share important events and occasions. It is also a great way to make new friends and feel more united with people around the world. However it is also a easy platform for bullies and negative people to group together and pick on others, feeling safer in numbers and hidden behind screens, they use harmful words to tear others down, just like the case of Justine Sacco.

    Although social media has many positives, I believe it is effecting the way our generation communicates, and can have a negative impact on peoples basic social skills.


  25. Chloe d'Araujo

    Today, through my eyes, I see the social media captivating and successfully dominating the lives of those who are living in the 21st century. Turning what once was the key to unlocking endless possibilities to explore and interact, into something no other than a repetitive addiction, that is filled with dependency and weakness.

    As Jon Ronson mentioned, a gift that once gave ‘voiceless people’ a voice has been destroyed by an unknown sea of tweets and texts that has ‘misused their privilege’ to the very core. Yet, what I see is a mesmerised society remaining quiet beyond the secure, unreachable place located behind the safety of a screen.

    Subject to its power myself, I’m also defeated by this worlds transfixed routine of social media, repetitively scrolling miles and miles through apps such as twitter, facebook, instagram and Snapchat, just too see what my friends and celebrities are up to, definitely living up the the phrase ‘glued to your phone’. However I feel this interest, is almost becoming a necessity, a habit rather than a hobby. A hobby for those who hunger for the most likes in order to feel socially valued, in a world of words.

    However this loop of communication causes too many lives to hang by a thread, as all it takes is something as easy and inessential as a comment, tweet or post to destroy another human beings life in a simple click. Therefore after viewing the influential TED talks, I believe that social media hasn’t changed the way we communicate for the better, it has given us a cloak that acts as a barrier between ourselves and reality. This mental wall that we hide behind causes the line between this illusion and reality to grow finer and finer as we sit tapping behind a screen that blocks us out of what deems most important, life beyond that cloak.


  26. Will Gibson

    Prior to watching the video, I knew what to expect. I feel like this sense of pre-judgment spawned from the fact that there is a stigma around social media and how it dominates our lives. Unfortunately, I was correct, but only in the case of the second video.

    The first video to me was very familiar ground. I personally have a rather dark sense of humor relative to most people, so I resonated with Justine Sacco. This is because I too have been in the situation where I’ve said something in a FaceBook group chat, entirely as a joke and it has been interpreted very wrongly. Only one person challenged it a first but there was a sort of ‘snow ball’ effect. I agree with Jon Ronson in that people seek for ‘a pat on the back’ online and I think ganging up on one person, about a subject that you aren’t particularly bothered about is an easy way to get one. It’s a shame because it’s almost as if social media is taking away people’s sense of righteousness. As well as this, I understand that it is very hard to interpret the manner or tone that one speaks in over social media, so in a conversation, it may be easy to pick up on something as a joke, whereas over text it can be difficult. I think it is important to mention that the first video captivated me much more than the second video. I suppose in some ways this shows the human nature of taking interest in ‘gossip’ or ‘drama’.

    The second video, I thought was quite hard hitting and I do agree with Sherry Turkle that people are losing the ability to sustain a face to face conversation. I think that these days, people feel the need to resort to the comfort of their phone, where the conversation takes little effort and can be ignored if needs be.

    Personally, I think that social is an amazing tool which enhances the way we communicate and keep in touch, but I also think that it’s important that people still make an effort to have a face to face conversation.

    Will Gibson


  27. Jessie Mundy

    Personally, ive always seen social media to be a unexplainable passage into interaction with the whole world, something in which majority of people use daily and a privilege that previous generations never got to experience, it has helped to develop globalisation and induce education but also has obvious negative aspects which may progressing to a concerning stage.
    After watching both the videos I came to the realisation about how much time people put into technology and a virtual world instead of real life and that it can give people confidence or the ability to anonymously comment behind a screen and say things that they wouldn’t face to face. Social media seems to be a platform in which people thrive off which makes it easy to be influenced to join or follow other peoples actions for example the situation in the Jon Ronson video which is an extreme case, however every young person is warned about the dangers of social media and rightly so, unfortunately it isn’t unknown that dark comments that are carelessly said online can have a huge impact to another life resulting sometimes in suicide, no one should ever be able to wish rape or suicide on someone and the fact that people feel they have the right to comment on other peoples misfortunes or looks also portrays the type of people they are and that they most likely lack self esteem which they gain from reducing others.
    The second video also arose some valid points which reflect a lot of traits of humanity of that they lack the effort to prioritise simple things such as a conversation when an easier option is available which enables you to have 5 conversations in which you can edit you response without having to interact physically with another human being, in my opinion is sad and which only create issues in social skills for younger generations to come. Social media is like a disease which has infected the minds of people, it is sad to think that some children can swipe a page on ipad but be physically unable turn a page in a book, that is a representation of how much our society has changed due to social media. Thinking of the obsession people have over social media and the amount of likes and followers they gain isn’t something that should be valued in life,or that people instantly decide to video their entire lives to put onto snapchat rather than enjoy the moment and that some peoples first response is to video an accident or injury that may occur rather then to help the person in trouble, all these things are why i agree that technology is incredible yet has a vast sacrifice to the addiction we all posses.


  28. Emilia Muntoni

    Similar to the majority of my generation, I single-handily use a vast amount of my time obsessing over social media. Although I already knew that social media has a negative impact on daily life before I watched those TED Talks, I never did realise just how much of an impact this has become over the years until now. I have finally come to terms with the naivety of our minds and how our phones somehow ‘possessed’ us. People are becoming more and more reliant on communication virtually rather than physically. Having said that, social media can be the pure reason that people have friendships due to long distances.
    As Jon Ronson stated “social media gives everyone a voice”, this power however can be abused which can in some cases lead to publically shaming and dehumanizing others. A prime example of this was the case of Justine Sacco which was mentioned by Jon. Justine had tweeted something which in her head was funny although, the tweet became misinterpreted as ‘racist’. Though her twitter account had only 170 followers, it took just one to report it to someone else. This was then spread so much that it became a trend on twitter. Thousands upon thousands of people then started to shame her, calling her very unpleasant names. These were people who had no idea who she was yet that didn’t stop them from joining together in hope to ruin her life. Without social media, this won’t have happened to Justine and the people attempting to make Justine’s life a misery would have most likely kept quiet as they wouldn’t obtain the ‘power’ of hiding away behind a screen. This is a clear example of how social media has negatively changed the way we communicate. Also after being shamed on social media, it can change the way people communicate completely because of physical and virtual isolation.
    Sherry Turkle then touches on how social media can negatively “change who we are”. This not only shows that social media can affect our communication but also our personalities. People have begun to text during inappropriate times such as meetings which causes more anti-socialness due to the denial of full attention. We get the chance to customize what we do and say by editing and deleting things which then impacts un-pleasantly on communication as it does not allow people to get to know one another completely. We now expect more from technology than actual people. Social media has secretly affected every one because it allows us to constantly believe we are not alone, which then makes being alone without a device “feeling like a problem that needs to be solved”, we need constant communication.
    In conclusion, I personally will not stop using social media however, I have now become much more conscious over the effects of how it can change the way we communicate. I believe that we should not put all our devices to one side and remove social media from our lives completely but we should take Sherry’s advice and create casual rules on a ‘no device zone’ such as the dining table. Social media has a negative effect on some people more than others due to the abuse of the ‘power of the voice’ but if this can be controlled then it can have a positive effect on people by increasing their confidence and branching out their friendship group.


  29. Finlay Lacey

    The way in which we, as a human race, communicate has changed and developed drastically over the last few decades and it continues to evolve. Texting replaced phone calls; private messages on Facebook or Snapchat replaced texting. What next? App developers are constantly creating new ideas of what to replace the last communication fad with, all with the intention to simplify the way we chat to one another. Personally, I think the simplicity of communication in the current era of technology is something I cherish. I have family in Australia that I am able to keep in regular contact with through social media platforms like Snapchat, without such platforms I would struggle to keep contact via phone calls due to the drastic time difference between Australia and the UK. This ability is a privilege that I am extremely grateful I am able to grow up with.

    Despite the benefits of being able to communicate simply, the simplicity does remove the intimacy of a proper and continuous conversation. As Sherry Turkle said we are experiencing “little sips of online communication” that don’t string together to form a proper conversation. We are becoming the generation that would rather “text than talk” and that is not okay. We need to shape ourselves into people that don’t take advantage of the platforms we have access to, we need to use them to aid and improve our lives rather than overuse them leading to the destruction of our lives.

    I believe that social media has had a positive impact on the daily lives of everyone who uses it. They are able to communicate simply with friends and family even when they are unable to see them. As Jon Ronson said it has given “voiceless people voices”, showing the power that social media grants to each and every one of us. It gives us an escape from reality. However, a misuse of that power can lead to the downfall of other people, such as Justine Sacco as discussed in Ronson’s TED Talk. Social media gives us access to millions of other people all across the world and so that access can be used in the wrong way and cause serious, negative backlash.

    As long as we respect one another and each other’s opinions, even if they clash with your own, then I believe social media will remain the haven of communication that it is today. We rely on social media nowadays an I think that the majority of people would struggle to live without it, even if they can see the negatives of its abilities.


  30. Harrison Pepper

    Before watching either video I didn’t think about how technology was impacting so many lives and isolating so many people. This current generation has been brought up beside it and so we don’t compare it to what it was like when our parents where growing up. Technology has changed drastically over the years, everyone knows that, but because we are surrounded by it, many would say it’s ruining our lives.

    After watching the first video by Jon Ronson, he gave you a real example on how the internet, within hours, can change and manipulate someone’s life just from one accidental racist tweet. However at the beginning of his presentation he says that it allows ” voiceless people to have a voice”. This is true, but anyone could make the same mistake. Jon said that Justine had a small follower count, but it only takes one person to retweet who has a much larger follower count and then it’s out of control. In other words, Jon was just saying how evil the people on the internet are about these situations, because depending on what others do next, can have a massive impact on that single persons life. Jon said in his presentation “that we may all be blinded by what people are doing or saying and not realise that our actions could have been worse”. This goes to show, that many people on the internet just follow the larger crowd to be apart of it, even if they have no clue as to what the whole situation is about. However, going back to Jon’s comment that “voiceless people have a voice” is a huge advantage to getting your opinion or ideas out there into the world, because there isn’t one person that can’t see that comment or text on the internet. You just need to look for it.

    Lastly, after watching the second video by Sherry Turkle it made me realise how blinded I was personally that all this modernised technology was keeping me isolated in one room, with no one around me but a screen. This video really shown me the whole picture on what I have been doing with my life and I do admit I have sent messages to people who are even in the same house as me just because it was the “easier” option. Sherry Turkle said that technology is so “psychologically powerful that it can change who we are and everyone around us”. This goes straight back to me feeling like I’m islolated because whilst I’m maybe communicating with someone via my phone, they’re also communicating back to me in isolation.

    In conclusion, I feel that technology has had a tremendous impact on my life as well as others but we shouldn’t use it to disrupt or injure anyone else’s lives due to some mistakes. I believe that it should be used to be enjoyed and aid others who are seeking for help. I also think that we should use social media or the internet as a way to talk to people over long distances and not use it in a way to talk to others who are about five minutes away. We need to start leaving our technology alone for a while and start experiencing the real world and get out of the virtual one. I’m not saying to never use them but to use them less so everyone can be social and not use “social media”.


  31. Alice Crowdell

    Watching both these videos has really opened my eyes into seeing the reality of social media. Being able to reply to this has taken me extremely longer than expected due to continuous notifications that I can’t help but look at as I am deceived into thinking that every story on social media is true and I ‘must read’ it as it will benefit me to know what’s happening around me in the world. That already proves it has had a negative impact to my life. Some how social media pulls you in and makes you feel connected and involved in everything happening around you .It lets you voice your own opinion and people will listen to you. Your not alone when you’re behind a screen.
    The danger of social media is increasing as younger generations are beginning to have permission to use social media. Which explains why both videos didn’t have a massive impact on my decision to continue using social media. I have grown up in a society surrounded by it and I don’t know any different. Growing up surrounded by technology is all I really know and I think it has had a slight positive impact towards my growth and knowledge. Television taught me to watch and listen. What’s so negative about that? However I am blinded as it is an addictive distraction.
    Social media also has many positives such as having the power to communicate with people all over the world. Family and friends can now stay in contact no matter what distance. This gives us all a reason to be online. However having this power behind a screen also may lead to online cyberbullying. Cyberbullying effects many people life’s which is what the person behind the screen does not realise. When you type you control what is said, you can say what you want with no judgement or no one to correct you. Having the power to do that may make an individual feel so much more better about themselves therefore it becomes normal to abuse others online hiding behind the screen.
    The way we communicate now is very different to before. Plans can be arranged and cancelled with in 5 minuets at the most. It takes one text message or phone call and you could be doing something completely different to what you thought you would be doing 5 minuets before that text message was sent. Real life Communication seems very dull these days as we save all our enthusiasm for our online posts and messages. I could be with all my friends and we wouldn’t really speak about our own life’s as we have already seen what each other get up to on a day to day basis through texting and posts on social media. The way communication is fading may lead to negative impacts on the relationship between you and other people. Or it may even effect the individuals communication skills.
    Communication is a very important skill required for an occupation on the outside world. Being dragged into social medias slang may effect the opinion other people have on you. You may not even realise if you are changing the way you present yourself as it may feel normal ,or you may for pressured in to being someone you are not. Social media has this idea of ‘role models’ and younger generations may feel obliged to look a certain way or act a certain way. This may effect the way the child would think of themselves as they would find it extremely hard to find their true identity.
    I agree with everything that was said in both videos, however I think social media has had both positive and negative impacts to the world. I think the negative impacts would be very hard to fix as we are all addicted to the positives of social media.


  32. Jamie Rolison

    The impact of social media has completely changed the world that we live in today, to say the least. Thanks to technology radically improving nearly every day, and more and more people signing up for social media sites, the impact is getting more and more immense. There’s no doubt that social media has good and bad effects on us, but is the overall impact positive?
    Without a doubt, it’s had a positive effect on every generation, the fact we can talk to loved ones on the other side of the world within a touch of a button is obviously unbelievable or how we can express ourselves by posting pictures of us and our friends on sites such as snapchat or Instagram certainly helps to boost self-confidence. But like anything, too much of it can be harmful and that’s equivalent with how we use social media today.
    The story that Jon Ronson told us in his TED talk, about Justina Sacco’s tweets and how twitter, ‘took over her life’, is a microcosm for most teenagers today. It’s the same for me, I am on social media constantly, scrolling down news feeds of Instagram, Facebook and twitter for miles and miles, texting my brother who is in the room next to me. I know I am addicted and there’s no getting out of it because its normal. Its why the first thing after opening your eyes in the morning is to check your notifications on your phone. The fact that the number of likes shows how popular you are or how many retweets shows your self – worth is not true, but that’s how so many people born in the 21st century think. It’s a psychological problem that’s affecting a whole generation of people. After watching sherry tuckle’s TED talk, I strongly agree that we are losing the ability to speak to each other ‘face to face’ because when we are behind a screen we have much more confidence but we are alone at the same time.

    In conclusion, I think social media is terrific as it gives us the power to talk to others wherever they are in the world and it also gives us the ability to boost our confidence through posting photos. But mainly its ruining our ‘face to face’ communication skills which we all need for when we are older. However, the positives outweigh the negatives and this addiction will never stop this generation.


  33. Chloe Hodges

    Countless times I have been reminded of the danger lurking beyond the screen but never of the danger that is the screen. Ask my friends, family or anyone that knows me and they’ll say that my phone never leaves my hand; I don’t make time for myself because I’m too busy attached to, essentially, a machine and this drastically effects the way I communicate. Without the interaction or conversation being face to face the true tone and what someone really means is lost.

    Personally, I believe someone’s intentions can become distorted when the communication is simulated, likewise to what Jon Ronson mentioned within his TED Talk. Justine Sacco became the face of how a joke can be easily misconstrued because it was told through social media and then continue to have consequences in real life. Hundreds of thousands of people saw her tweet and dismissed it as racist before she had the chance to explain herself which, I believe, is the real issue. Because she was on a flight, Sacco wasn’t able to clarify what she really meant by the tweet whereas if it had happened in everyday conversation she could quickly say she intended it to be a joke about her own privilege. So, if I was asked whether or not social media has improved the way we communicate after hearing her story, it would be a resounding no.

    Sherry Turkle’s TED Talk resonated with me slightly more than Ronsons. I believe this is because she raised the point about how we have the ability to alter and edit ourselves so we can change the way we’re perceived. I’ve deleted a text I was about to send more times than I can remember and this emphasises how much control we have over who we want to be online.

    So to conclude, there are obvious positives to social media like long distance interactions are made quicker and easier through apps like Facebook and Snapchat, it provides entertainment and it allows people to make new friends. However, avoiding the popular negative aspects like cyber bullying and the danger of online predators, I do think we need to reconsider how we use social media as well as how often we use it.


  34. Chloe Tribe

    It would seem that the widespread popularity of social media has totally innovated and therefore dominated the way people communicate with each other. It’s true that many people have found their spotlight in voicing their opinion on twitter and such liberal environments. Twitter allows a person to release their statement to the world with a limited word count. The same could be said for the concept of social media itself: it would seem that people’s lives have become public yet limited, limited in a way that ‘socialising’ using this platform gives way to people becoming vain and self-conscious due to judgemental eyes criticising every move one should make, so to speak. It’s true, social media has allowed individuals such as ‘trolls’ and ‘keyboard warriors’ to emerge. The negative incidents which involve these make for a negative aspect of social media. In reality, anonymous trolling would be impossible so therefore, social media has bred an unnecessary upheaval for people.
    Studies show that depression figures in girls have risen by fifty percent in the last twenty years such that two in ten girls aged between thirteen and twenty-one now experience depression of some sort. Therefore, there is strong correlation between the rise of the internet and social media no the statistics of teenage mental issues. This may be because of the superficial stigma behind the way women are judged on such social media as instagram and tumblr. These photo-sharing outlets are mainly female populated and therefore young women find themselves comparing themselves with others which they deem better than themselves. This is another way that social media had negatively impacted the way we interact with each other as people: people have become obsessed with personal vanity such that receiving comments about ones personal beauty leads a girl to value herself based one what others say, a negative mindset. Similarly, social media leads to people feeling solitary and isolated as they compare their lives to the more ‘exciting’ or ‘busy’ lives of their peers. This can also generally impact people’s mental health as one can feel inadequate and insubstantial. Much like Justine Sacco and her lust for attention. A desire for attention and validation for others can cause serious trouble or at least just attain the wrong type of attention, therefore leading people to feel even worse than they did before.
    In a more positive light, social media had led to a more educated youth who are generally more literate when it comes to current affairs and politics. Figures show that during the general election campaigns, Jeremy Corbyn achieved a greater following of young people because of his social media activity and interaction with them. This makes for a less ignorant generation and that’s generally a positive thing, even though, social media definitely has its negatives.


  35. Louise Mawby

    Coming from a teenager’s point of view, who often spends time with her phone at reach and messages at a click, my opinion is initially biased in saying that I view social media as a beneficial platform, for both young people and adults.
    How would we proceed the daily routine of connecting and interacting with people from all over the world without it? Social media today is a powerful communication tool, with social networks being one of the most dominant ways we now communicate.
    Despite this, since watching the two predominant TED talks, I can undeniably say that social media is psychologically powerful, although people do not necessarily consider this perspective. This has made me realise that we expect more from technology and less from each other humanely, as Turkle stated, where our generation is overstimulated by media.
    Social media is an illusion of alliance, to be found no further than in our pockets. I’ll even admit that I easily tend to check social media more than several times a day.

    The average person is known to spend 4 years of their life looking down to their mobile phone. Devices nowadays are disconnecting us from reality rather than connecting us, therefore leaving humans nothing but vulnerable and powerless. We are consequently losing people social interaction and communicative skills, becoming slaves to the technology we mastered.
    Sherry Tekle mentioned the fact that we detach ourselves from the outside world and go into our phone. Our minds are totally addicted to a fake sense of friendship and security where we have unfortunately created a sense of urgency and a need to share.

    From a general point of view, social media is to me an incredible tool with the potential to fulfil needs which were not feasible years ago. However, I also see the obsessional side of it, as well as how it is affecting us as a generation.Social media is a double-edged sword. It’s easy to have and can really help us in everyday tasks, but it also alienates us from reality…

    To conclude, after viewing both prestigious TED talks, I believe that social media can segregate and isolate people from each other. It’s a psychological shield from reality, in which people feel they have a fully protected voice where editing and control are simple and easily accessible. People can choose how they want to appear on social media, a world of self-image, self-interest, self-promotion, where we all share our best bits and leave out all the dejection.


  36. Mae Evans

    If you asked me, I would be the first to admit that I spend a vast majority of my time on my phone. Almost the minute I wake up I find myself turning it on and checking all the social media accounts I have, as if it’s an addiction. I’ve always known that there was two sides to the internet and how easily available it is to everyone, but not until watching both TEDtalks did I realise the extent of how mobile devices and modern-day technology is affecting our real lives as well as our online presence.

    Having access to social media has meant that you can communicate with people that live on the other side of the world whenever you want to, it gives us the ability to remain in contact with friends and loved ones no matter how far apart we are. I have a friend that now lives in Norway, and thanks to the accessibility of online messaging, we still talk to each other everyday. Social media gives, as Jon Ronson said, “voiceless people a voice.” On platforms such as Tumblr and Twitter, like-minded people can discuss their shared interests, and this gives people a sense of community that they might not find with their peers that they see on a daily basis. Social media creates a safe space for people that may be ostracised elsewhere, and a lot of people take comfort in knowing that online there is a group of people in similar situations that can support them and share their own experiences.

    The extent of the amount of time which people spend online, particularly younger generations, is borderline obsessive, an invasive addiction. Have you ever been to a concert and looked around the room only to notice that nobody is watching the band with their eyes, but instead watching vicariously through their phone screens? We spend so much time documenting our lives that we never truly live them. Children are growing up surrounded by technology that is making advances everyday, and having everything at their fingertips could begin to inhibit cognitive development in young people. As Ronson talked about, the internet can also be a place of hate-mongering, especially on social media and online forums. Because you can live behind an anonymous private message, people start to believe they can say whatever they want without consequence. There are people on the internet that’s sole purpose is to intimidate and harass people, even those that never did anything to prompt it. And while freedom of speech is a human right we all have and deserve, it doesn’t mean we have the right to abuse this freedom. As shown in the case of Justine Sacco, one misconstrued comment can have severe repercussions. I can see the way that her tweet can be seen as offensive, and it is, but it didn’t call for a worldwide online witch hunt. It just proves how influential of a place social media is because although it was actually a tweet mocking the way people with white privilege can be ignorant, it was taken seriously and the internet took it upon itself to deathstar her whole life, purely because one person retweeted it and labelled it as offensive.

    So to conclude, while there are a lot of positives about the availability of social media and the way it’s changed the way we can communicate with other people, a lot of us are still looking at it through rose tinted glasses and can see only the positives and not the way it’s impacting the way we live our lives outside of our internet connection. Yes, we have any information we could ever want at the touch of a finger, but as Sherry Turkle said, we’re sacrificing conversation for connection.


  37. Lauren Wright

    It is not until you take the time to sit and properly pay attention to videos such as these that you question whether social media has a positive or a negative impact on human life. Both videos portrayed social media as dangerous if not used sparingly or thoughtfully which, personally, I completely agree with. Countless hours of our days are spent communicating with others through technology however it often does take a strong realisation to persuade yourself to put down your phone, computer or other means of communication and live in the moment. For the younger generation, we have been brought up around improving technology and therefore do not know the difference however marketing has changed the mindset of the older generation who are now just as bad as their children. Parents are very much unaware of a lot of the matters going on in their children’s life due to the fact that their attention is elsewhere when their children may need help, therefore suggesting that social media is causing families to be further apart than ever. Technology allows people to feel disguised by a username or a filter, they believe they can say what the like due to the ‘words will never hurt me’ quote however this is the complete opposite, their words will hurt, instead they don’t have to see the physical impact of them making it much easier to not feel guilty.

    However, both TED talks do not highlight the way technology improves lives. It allows us to meet new people or to stay in contact with people from a long time ago. It does give individuals the feeling that they are being heard and have someone there to listen to them. It is also slightly ironic that the comments all the students are leaving now are through technology to their teacher instead of on a piece of paper, it shows that advances are happening in every aspect of people’s lives; including their education which therefore suggests it can not be escaped.

    Technology is an issues that will always be discussed but will keep advancing due to the fact that it is an addiction and although we know the dangers, it will not alter the time we devote to it.


  38. Cat Wall

    I enjoy social media, but probably for the wrong reasons. I enjoy sharing what I want people to see and editing my photos to look more vivid, more exciting, and more desirable. I enjoy that I can take 20 photos of myself and share the one I look best in with millions of filters on top of it. I enjoy it, but I’d like to think that I’m self-aware of the unhealthy nature of the whole thing. I understand that, by putting across this false exaggerated version of my life, I will always be somewhat dissatisfied by the real thing.

    In my case, it’s minor. I understand that this filtered and selected version of my life will never be a reality, but there are people whose whole perceptions of themselves have been permanently damaged. Take body dysmorphia, for example, a horrible mental illness where a person sees themselves in the flesh in a different way to the reality. This has increased in recent years, and I believe the correlation with increased social media use is anything but a coincidence. Models and celebrities are posting photoshopped images of themselves with features physically impossible to achieve. For someone young a vulnerable, these images can have disastrous impacts. People begin pining over these impossible bodies and despising themselves because they aren’t photoshopped to have a half-inch waist.

    The two TED talks highlight the communicative issues social media brings, such as forms of cyber bullying and lack of real-life human contact, and these issues are important. But when life for many young people is becoming a constant effort for photo opportunities to show off a fake life, we lose touch of the people we truly are behind a shiny black iPhone screen façade.


  39. Hannah Lacey

    Having watched both of these videos, it has allowed me to see they way in which communication today as drastically changed due to our use of social media. I can see ways in which social media can be both positive and negative, as shown in Jon Ronson’s TED talks video, some messages or posts may be misinterpreted causing further implications to that persons image. The ease of communication over social media platforms has taken over our lives; a message can be sent across the world in a matter of seconds, this is what makes it so easy for people to comment and in many ways attack others for information that may have been misconstrued. A positive way in which social media allows people to communicate and connect would be the ability to speak to people that live overseas this is important to many people including me as some people no longer live close together. An example of this may be someone that lives in Australia speaking to someone that lives in the UK, a platform such as Snapchat or Facebook allows you to freely message a person without the charge of a text that lives so far away. Also people travelling may use social media to keep in touch with friends and family whilst they are away.

    Although communication is made easy it may also be seen as a ‘lazy’ because as seen in Sherry Turkle’s TED talks video some people have lost the ability to hold a conversation in real life. When you are sat behind a screen it allows you to have a false confidence making it easier to deceive those you are speaking to. I found I empathised more with this video as it focused more on the everyday events of using social media rather than focusing on its ability to allow cyber bullying to take place. However the confidence you have to speak to someone from behind a screen also allows what happened to Justine Sacco to take place.

    I understand that sometimes peoples online intentions can become twisted much like Justine Sacco’s situation. When something is put onto social media and causes such an uproar it is hard to make people understand what was truly meant. People on social media do become stuck in a bubble like Justine Sacco explained to Jon Ronson and when an idea such as accusing her comment of being racist is made, people believe it automatically, in this case it caused serious implications to her career.

    To conclude there are obvious positive impacts of using social media such as the ability to interact with people across the world however social media can be used to cyber bully people and attack people. Our dependancy on social media today shows me that we need to use it, we just need to reconsider how in certain situations.


  40. Calum Davies

    The way that we use the internet has changed drastically over the years. Everyone’s lives revolves around the internet in some way or another and I do think this can become a problem to many people’s lives. Children now grow up with IPhones in their hands and explore their own digital world rather than exploring the outside world.

    After watching these two videos, it has come to quite a surprise how much social media impacts people’s lives today. The first video didn’t surprise me as much as the second one, I knew very well that so called ‘internet trolls’ exist and that social media can change people’s lives for the better and for the worse. I think that Jon Ronson highlighted perfectly the reality of social media; people are much more comfortable to say not always appropriate things behind the screens of their phone and behind the identity of their Facebook and Twitter profiles. A lot of people would never say those types of things in public so why should we say them at all?

    The second video was a real eye-opemer for me. When Sherrey Turkle mentioned that we want to be connected yet we want to feel isolated, I felt that I could relate to this myself. Often when my friends and I meet up, we subconsciously isolate ourselves from our surroundings and enter our own little digital world. It almost seems as the human race has evolved and lost the ability to have a conversation which is a shame. I do feel guilty when my grandparents say ‘you’re always on that phone of yours’. And I am, in fact I use my phone excessively, I use my phone to look on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat to name a few and not a minute goes by where I don’t pick up my phone despite not receiving any notifications. This has become a reality for most teenagers my generation and it starting to become a problem for the future.


  41. Megan Griffiths

    Like everything, social media has both positive and negative factors. Social media opens many opportunities for us to stay in contact with people who live far away from us. For me, that is a great feature of social media because I have recently moved away from friends and family. Social media will allow me to stay in contact with them easily. I also think that social media opens many doors for businesses to be able to expand. If a business is able to set up social media accounts, they can promote their products to a much wider variety of customers.

    However, is the fact that social media allows us to do a lot of things a bad thing? When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I think to do is check my phone, I will interact with people over social media before I interact with my family in my house. I’m sure I’m not the only one. We constantly wish for a notification to appear on our phones so that we have an excuse to check it without being told off by parents for being rude or anti-social. Although, they can’t really say much. Everyone in my family has a smartphone and facebook or some other form of social media and my parents spend just as much time on it as I do. So it’s probably not the first thing they check when they wake up, but it is the first thing they check when they get home from work or when they’re going to bed. Social media has not just affected the way that teenagers live their everyday lives, but it also effects our parents and grandparents. Has social media become so addictive that we would now rather have a conversation through our phones than face to face?

    Social media can cause a lot of people to get hurt, it allows us to have opinions on and judge people we have never met. Is that a factor that is making us a rude generation? We are allowed to write messages or comments to people saying stuff that we would never say to their face, just because there is the idea that we have a computer or phone screen in front of us to protect us.

    In conclusion, social media can keep us connected to people far away, it also isolates us from the people who we are close to. In think that social media is a good thing to have, we should just try to limit the amount of control we let it have over us.


  42. Emily Brailsford

    Without watching the TED talks, I am a strong believer that social media allows generations of people to communicate freely to each other. Coming from a teenagers point of view, social media is a key part of our lives and we’d be lost without it due to our upbringing into this type of society. Although I consider the negatives to it, the positives certainly outweigh them. From someone who uses social media a lot, it has unquestionably benefited me as I share a long distance friendship with a girl who lives overseas. Social media such as Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook have allowed me to contact her easily when ever I want therefore we can keep up to date with each other’s lives.

    After watching these videos, I have started to reconsider my opinion on social media. I still, however, feel that it is a great way to communicate to a variety of people from different cultures but it’s time for us to realise that we must keep our opinions to ourself and respect others when posting on social media. Not everybody has the same judgements or beliefs or view points, we’re all dissimilar. What is not realised is that one comment can change one persons life. It only takes that one comment for somebody to read, to keep re-tweeting and judge as well as despise it for it all to just blow up out of proportion and leaving you feel de-humanised.

    Social media, from my point of view is perfect for communicating with people that you know, on the other hand, there are billions and billions of people in the world who have extremely biased and different opinions to you. Through social media, we all feel like we can finally express ourselves and are given a voice on social media but unfortunately for us to put ourselves out there, there is always consequences.

    To conclude with, on balance, the world we live in has become based around social media. It can give people opportunities and careers, contrasting with that, it can de-humanise and isolate people from their society and friend and family around them. Overall, social media has made it easier to communicate to people all over the world as well as learn about different societies and cultures and become more educated, therefore, in my opinion, social media has most definitely changed the way in which we communicate in for the better.


  43. Katrine Vavere

    The technological advancements of social media and communications over the past 10 years is without doubt incredibly impressive, exciting ,beneficial and contributes to the majority of people’s daily life. We behold a device – small , practical, portable…something so seemingly insignificant, yet, what it contains inside is an entire world of knowledge; you are quite literally open to submerge yourself into anything that is possibly imaginable.

    The effectiveness of reaching out to a friend to meet up through text, or to call a parent to come and pick you up , or let someone know you’ll be absent from school or work , is so convenient of course. The pleasure of posting a nice holiday scenery photo to Instagram, the ability to express your thoughts on your favourite TV series finale on Twitter , is all so very enjoyable along with many other aspects. However, my thoughts revolve around the downside of our modern world, I believe the negatives outweigh the positives by far , and if we don’t act upon It soon , I wouldn’t want to picture myself living in the futuristic inhumane world dominated by technology.

    I am one to admit that quite easily, more than an hour could pass by of doing nothing but scrolling through Facebook and Twitter, and why would that be surprising? It’s entertaining and amusing , obviously that’s the more preferable thing to do than challenge yourself to something meaningful like reading or exercising.

    But the darkness of social media reflected onto our reality is that our generation are beginning to waste potential time that could be used for so many other beneficial activities, by being so concerned if our Instagram feeds look ‘aesthetic’ , creating artificial online dramas, or looking at photos of other people who seem to be having ‘the time of their lives’ and so we instantly feel like we’re nothing in comparison to them. Popularity is often measured through the amount of likes you receive…and if that isn’t enough to make you want to forget about the existence of social media for a while, I don’t know what will.


  44. Emily Culpin

    The best way to describe social media is it’s like two sides of the same coin. On one side is a world where people can express their ideas, opinions, be creative and do amazing things like contact someone instantly even though they could be on the other side of the world; but, on the other hand social media is having a great negative impact on certain aspects of some people’s lives – such as social skills.

    Sherry Turkle mentioned the development of social skills from a young age and how social media can impact this. Learning to have a conversion is something you don’t really think about and it’s a simple skill the majority of people gain growing up. However, I believe younger generations won’t have the chance to do this even when they are young social media will begin to impact their lives and they’ll be stuck behind their screens from then on. Personally, I feel as though I lost this skill of simply having a conversation with someone, whenever I see friends I’ve noticed some of them are glued to their devices and pay more attention to the people they are ‘talking to’online than they are me, then when they meet with someone other than me they talk to me online and do the same to the other person and this is something I’ll never be able to understand. Mental health problems are increasing in young people as well, for example anxiety and relating to this – social anxiety. Like i mentioned before simple skills such as having a conversation become really hard for some people and it becomes so bad that tasks such as going to the shops or even going to school can become so stressful and nerve racking that it begins to dissolve someone’s life and this can stem from social media. All the small things: eye contact, having someone’s attention, speaking to them, we don’t do these things anymore and when they’re not put in to practice properly it can impact some people very negatively and they begin to lose the ability to do things like this. Other problems, such as cyber bulling, have also occurred as an effect of social media as certain people abuse the privilege of talking to people online or sharing your opinions freely.

    Following on from this, social media some great benefits and it’s amazing to see how technology can do things for us that we never thought we’d be able to do. One of the biggest or most obvious benefits of social media is contacting someone whose far away. Technology allows us to contact someone who could be in a different country or place and they instantly get the message you send to them, you can have a conversation with someone whose not physically with you at that point in time. It’s also a platform to share moments from your life and your family and friends can be involved this way, seeing what you’ve been up to, commenting on your posts. During his Tedtalk, Jon Ronson said that social media is a place where ‘voiceless people have a voice’, you can share your opinions and ideas and it can give some people more confidence and help build their self esteem. Social media is also a great way to go about sharing our talents and for some it can even help with get them noticed for their work. With platforms like Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, etc. some people have been able to make a career out of what they enjoy whether it’s signing, dancing, vlogging/blogging, or something else.

    In conclusion, I believe social media has both negative and positive effects and it has definitely changed the way we communicate but you can’t judge it by looking at the wide picture – It has impacted some people for the better and some for the worse. Personally I think social media is great but should be used less and not from such a young age, we need time to be social in the real world and realise what’s going on around us, not just online.


  45. Lydia clarke

    I, myself have always used social media from a young age, as I would expect most of our generation will have too.

    It wasn’t apparent to me how much social media was impacting our lives until I watched both videos, how isolating and dangerous it can in fact be. Social media has changed the way we communicate significantly, especially in the last 10 years. Rather than communicating face to face like we used to, we now just need to click a few buttons on social media or text message to interact with the same people, which unfortunately seems to be preferred nowadays as it is quicker and more convenient for us.

    Ronson spoke about a simple misunderstood tweet and how something like that can just so quickly destroy someone’s life, and how the hurtful replies can so easily depress someone. Do we think about the consequences of our tweets/general actions, and how they might impact someone in such a negative way?

    Arguably, social media and technology in general is most likely the best thing ever to be invented, it enables us to easily access almost any information you need or want from wherever you may be at whatever time. However, just like anything it has its faults.

    The TED talks gave me a better understanding of why and how social media isn’t good for us. Unfortunately, the negatives seem to outweigh the positives. Social media can be blinding. It makes us feel more connected to eachother but in fact it disconnects us from reality, and makes us more alone and isolated than ever. This became so clear to me watching the second TED talk video, ‘connected but alone?’ However, because social media is such a big part of our lives now, many people would feel lost without it, and would struggle to stay sane.

    Even though social media is such a large part of our lives and has such impact on us, it developing may not be such a good thing as it is not as healthy as we may think.


  46. Dylan Clarke

    Today’s society has fully integrated social media; the idea that they are a ‘fad’ is now considered foolish. Children are born into a world that is fully immersed in the workings of these networks. But as social networking changes into a normalised exercise, the way we use it arguably takes a step away from its original values.
    Ronson tells a message I can agree with, using the example of twitter, where he claims you could formerly share any opinion. Now, it feels like Twitter becomes an echo-chamber in which we only hear all the same opinions. Justine Sacco perfectly exemplifies this. Everybody all clubbed together against her, and any (different) idea that it could just be a satirical comment was crushed. As an extension of this, it feels as if social media takes away balance in the viewpoints we receive. On twitter, we only follow what we agree with and Facebook finetunes the content to what we want to see – arguably detrimental to objectivity.
    On the other hand, Turkle expresses ideas with which I cannot fully agree. Whilst I do acknowledge that increased usage has change the way in which we communicate, arguably for the worse, nut I just can’t fully agree on the sentiment that being alone and away from social media is somewhat of a cure. For many people, I would feel this is true – it helps get us back in touch with reality and what’s truly going on. But Turkle fails to acknowledge those suffering with mental health issues, and the great work it’s done for them. Finally, they have an outlet where the protection of a screen makes them feel less scared to talk. Turkle argues we should change the way we use social media; I could potentially agree with this, but we also need to look at the positives that come with it’s modern usage first.


  47. Luke Gulliver

    Before viewing the two videos, in my opinion I would of have said that social media is a positive thing in peoples lives and has changed our every day lives for the better due to the vast amount of sites there is and how easily they are to access for people of all ages and generations. However, Jon and Sherry make valid points to contradict my opinion and show the negative side of people on and using social media in that people need to be careful in how they conduct them self on social media and how they use it. For example, when posting a comment which may be deemed harmful and offensive, you can’t just delete it and think that the comment will disappear. It is on the internet forever.Much the same with photos, people need to think about what they post. In addition, posting inappropriate may be the unfortunate reason someone may not get a job all because of one post. Social media is there to be used responsibly and people, especially the young people of our generation should not be taking advantage of using social media for the use of negativity or so freely. On the other hand that is not to say that social media is a bad thing, it is an overwhelmingly positive thing when used properly.


  48. Joe Butterfield

    After watching both of the TED talks, I have become enlightened on the damages that social media are increasingly having on us, myself included. Both talks share different stories with different essence, but I believe they both hint at a similar idea, which is that we crave perfection, and cannot cope with imperfection in anything anymore.

    Sherry Turkle talks about conversation being the bedrock to human development, it allows us to learn off each other in a much more effective way than text communication; but why have an in time conversation when you can edit a response to perfection over text? We have become used to seeing the best of people through social media all the time that we are coming to see imperfections as something to exclude. however the perfect world we see through our screens has mostly been touched up to it’s max.

    We are so used to processing several pieces of information at once that it has allowed us to share our attention to several different things constantly, making it difficult to devote to ourselves to one thing, be it a person or meeting or meal; We’ll dive for our phones when we become anxious of the imperfections around us and this leads to our phones becoming our sacred place.

    Our craving for our own perfection makes us want to prove this constantly to others, whether it be through a tweet, instagram or Facebook status. So when an opportunity comes to shame someone online to prove our superiority, we are ruthless. Justine Sacco from Jon Ronson’s TED talk demonstrates a prime example. This shaming hunt doesn’t allow us to listen to other people’s opinions and ideas, as we are plagued with the struggle to keep our own ‘perfections’ visible to others.


  49. Tegan Jones

    Ask an average teenager if they enjoy using social media and their face will light up before replying with the tired phrase – ‘yeah, I couldn’t live without it!’. But ask an average teenager if they believe using social media benefits their quality of life, you’ll most likely be met with a vacant expression and a blunt response or a shrug of the shoulders. Being the archetypal sixteen year old who wouldn’t chose to spend a day without scrolling aimlessly through Instagram explore, I can relate to this. And I can’t help but wonder whether the concert I went to last month or the party on Friday night, would’ve been significantly more enjoyable if I had spent less time trying to capture Snapchat worthy shots.

    Social media gives us the liberty of painting our lives how we want them to be viewed. We spend time, energy and money trying to create masterpieces that we only pray other people will appreciate, to then sit at home waiting for the next person to double tap. We realise that not everyone admires the Mona Lisa, but we still spend unhealthy amounts of time trying to compose a classic that everyone will approve of. It’s as though each like someone else has that you haven’t, is a personal insult and an instant depreciation of our self esteem. What’s even more foolish, is that the apps that are designed to bring us together, only result in separation due to jealousy, fragile egos and strayed focus.

    These videos have enabled me to understand how delicate we have become. They’ve highlighted our inability to find self worth, and our damaged real-life communication skills. It seems as though we can’t live with it, but now couldn’t live without it either.


  50. Matt Cook

    Over the years, the way we communicate has changed hugely. Social media influences everybody lives, whether it’s checking Facebook or reading eMails. Children are now growing up with Snapchat and Instagram instead of toys and games which changes their whole lives. This influence is both positive or negative.

    The internet and social media means we can now communicate to anyone anywhere at the touch of a button. People can make contact with others across the world, people they wouldn’t otherwise get to talk to. Platforms like Twitter allow us to see the opinions of others and to speak to those we share an opinion with. Social media allows us to share anything and to gain the approval of peers.

    However, with this ability to share things at the touch of a button comes risks and negatives. As shown in the first of the two TED talks, often small jokes made can spiral out of control, often being taken out of context. All it takes is one person to share it, and suddenly their friends see it, then there friends after and so on. And with sharing comes the problem of perspective. While one person see the tweet as a harmless joke, another will find some kind of offensive meaning to it; that is just what people do. They then spread this offensive meaning, and suddenly the original person receives hate from every direction for something they didn’t do. this hate can sometimes lead to dramatic actions, like being sacked from jobs.

    There is no doubt that social media has enhanced people’s lives through the way we can now communicate. However, you could argue that it has also regressed the social skills of young children compared to kids from 15 years ago. Nowadays, we are so used to having time to conduct the perfect text message before we send it, in conversational situations where that time isn’t available, many become stuck and lack the ability to have long conversations like people used to. Social media has also become such a big part of many people’s lives that it is almost like an addiction. People are losing their morals to the internet. We now have no problem with checking Facebook or Snapchat at work, at restaurants, in meetings; you name it, people probably check their during it.

    So, the two Ted talks have shown that while social media has ‘enhanced’ people’s lives, it also has many negative effects and can damage the lives of it’s users


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