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. Will Shilton

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

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

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


  2. Chloe Priest

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

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

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

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


  3. Robert Tyler

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

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

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

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


  4. Ella Haworth

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


  5. Maya-Lily Wan

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


  6. Sharan Kaur

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

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

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

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


  7. Chasey-lain Willis

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

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

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

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

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


  8. sophie walsh

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

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


  9. Sion Pope

    Social Media has changed the way we communicate, for some it has made them more able to explore who they are and to communicate, for others it has made them more isolated. However, trying to definitavely say whether the whole of social media is bad is pointless because- like everything else in the world- it is not a black or white issue.
    For my Grandad say, it has lead to him reconnecting with old friends, seeing the world and learning more about it. Social Media caused him to learn about other cultures, appriciate other people and communicate more. He used social media positively and thus, had a positive experience and now is less isolated. There are people who have had bad experiences with social media that have caused hem to communicate less, but also through social media, lives have been saved. Whether it’s because of a self-defense video, a tweet about the himlich manouver or a post with Suicide Hotline numbers, social media has saved lives.
    I feel like people cherry pick examples and reach for stuff that appears new, but isn’t. We- especially in England- have been obsessed with appearing good and well-mannered to other people for centuries. Showing only you ‘best side’ is not a new thing, it just sounds like it because of the way we talk about social media. If you use it obsessively, and post for negative reasons- affirmation, revenge- then you will have a negative experience, but if you use social media healthily and post for the right reasons- to make others happy, to show something you’re proud of- then you’ll have a positive experience. People can grow and change and express themselves through social media. But, like everything else in the world, it’s not a black and white issue, just a disappointing grey.


  10. Elizabeth White

    My initial view of social media was that it acted as an alternative, almost paradoxical form of communication; how can something which seems to promote antisocial behaviour profess to be ‘social’? I did, however, marvel at the fact that online communication was breaking down barriers and giving us the opportunity to connect with others across the globe.

    I agree with Turkle’s claim that social media promotes a fear of solitude; I recognise in others, and in myself, that isolation is viewed as a problem, and what may previously have been a contentedness in being alone has now been usurped by a perennial craving for attention and approval – even in the most superficial forms. It seems to me that we feel almost as though we don’t exist without validation and connection. Equally, though, I feel that, to a certain extent, we also desire solitude – the safety of isolation – whereby we remain connected but only via a digital medium, to keep each other at arm’s length, which is certainly synonymous with Turkle’s ‘Goldilocks Effect’.

    Digital platforms provide the enticing opportunity for us to edit ourselves, presenting the most refined, calculated and perfected version for others to see, ironing out the flaws which, fundamentally, make us who we are. Many argue that this can boost self esteem, but I think editing yourself is not a successful way to reconcile yourself with your flaws – it simply “puts them to one side”, deepening the issue, as well as potentially fuelling our need for attention; ultimately, this seems to give rise to a ubiquitous and unhealthy egotism which now underlay our motivations for even our smallest movements online.

    Ronson also helped me realise that, while we can edit and perfect our online facades, social media seems to encourage animosity, revealing an extreme and reckless side to ourselves which perhaps would not have come into fruition without the outlet, the mask, of social media; the things we post feel indirect, so we become unfiltered, uncensored, and we disregard the consequences – examples of which were clear in aggressive Twitter responses to Justine Sacco’s faux pas. Another fundamental difference between physical and online interaction is that, while we pick which parts of ourselves we show, the things we post are far more permanent – chiselled into our feed – which can have damaging consequences, especially in cases like Justine Sacco’s. On the other hand, in conversation, indiscretions are ephemeral; they are easily recovered, easily forgotten and not universally accessible or available for free scrutiny.

    Overall, I agree with Turkle’s claim that digital platforms have the capacity to change who we are as people – usually in a negative way, however, I think if we remain in-touch with the “real” world and maintain self-awareness online, there is no reason why social media should not be used as a positive tool.


  11. Evie Biggs

    Social media is perceived to either be a curse or a blessing and the way you use it determines your view- supposedly. We are made to show our better attributes and our greatest achievements all in the hope of gaining acknowledgment. Sherry Turkle mentioned this in her TED talk, she noticed how everyone had a ‘perfect’ life on the internet and negative things were only shared to gain sympathy. She also discovered this is closing human interaction and people are now choosing to avoid it; this eradication is making relations wanted to be avoided and awkward. This is a prominent issue for the younger generation, but it is also affecting the older group too. People used to see each other and make time for one another but its now seen as acceptable to send a text every couple of weeks to ‘check-up’ on someone. A text doesn’t show effort and it only emphasises the divide social media has created.

    Being a user of social media myself, I see the constant need to have the most likes and post the best pictures on the internet. Teenagers use social media to show off their lives- they choose the best pictures they can and occasionally edit themselves in them to gain more likes. This approach is destroying the self-esteem of some teenagers, but others see the toxicity and choose to avoid it. This therefore makes those people talk to others in person and they don’t want to be caught up in the game that is social media. Thus, in some respects, the toxicity of social media has improved communication for the better but what does that say about the way we view communication? It’s regarded as a last resort for when we don’t want to be engulfed in social media and the pernicious effect it has.


  12. Grace Horton

    Social media communicates a diverse range of views, judgements and debates upon topical agendas which may or may not necessarily need discussing. This platform allows people to voice matters for others to react to, share, and create a great feeling of solidarity between themselves. But this unity of agreement, this notion of newly voiced ‘power’; doesn’t force suppression of other’s equally entitled opinions … right?

    Even though many significant topics are shared, for example: charity donations, safety awareness and health issues; most topical opinions deliberated are prejudiced from the influence of other comments made. Users take it upon themselves to mould a preconceived view upon others and situations, based upon what they have heard. Not who they have heard it from- almost as if they are being brainwashed by the social media community. Jon Ronson explored the notion of how the positivity of solidarity and agreement has been eradicated by social media overtime, and how the great concept of artificial interaction has been misconstrued from its own intentions. He embodies the notion that people get so caught up in the content feeling of doing the ‘right’ thing that they misjudge the effect their words can have upon somebody else. Comments intensify with hatred and hurtful phrases, which creates a vicious cycle of upset flowing through the centre of social media. Tens and thousands of people feel the urge to share their own opinion on situations they have inferred, just from the tap of a screen.

    Personally, I think that the concept of being able to communicate with people on the other side of the world is efficient in many ways. I think that social media allows people to build knowledge of the world that surrounds them and the current affairs that are significant at that moment. On the other hand, I feel that many people take advantage of social media platforms and abuse the kind of democracy that it is built around. People adjust and change the way people view them, in order to make their lives seem ‘perfect’, hiding their reality behind a screen. As Sherry Turkle said, this can cause a feeling of solitude and isolation for those people, and forces them to think they can’t communicate their true selves because they aren’t good enough. The idea of being ‘alone together’ suggests that the more people share their ‘perfect’ lives with everyone else- the more alone they truly feel.


  13. Chloe cartwright

    Social media has became a huge part of our daily lives, so much so it would be very noticeable if it was to just disappear. The use of social media has given people a voice who once never had one. However, it is how people use that voice that decides if social media is having a positive or negative impact on our lives. We find ourselves getting more and more engrossed in the online world. Even more so than the real world around us.

    In Jon Ronsons Ted talk, he discusses how the impact of social media has on our lives. “It gave the voiceless people a voice” he says. Ronsons uses the example of the tweet from Justine Sacco. The users of Twitter were fast to jump on the defence of people suffering HIV, so much so that they forgot about the effect that their actions was having on Justine. We almost had a pack mentality that everyone must agree that what she did was wrong. Anyone that disagreed with them was also wrong, leading for them to get turned on too. As everyone was all on the same page it was very much like they were getting mutual approval and making themselves feel good, whilst destroying someone else. But would we have reacted the same way if we were face to face?

    In Sherry Turkles’ Ted talk she discuss how that through social media we are more connected, but also making ourselves much more isolated. We are lacking the communication skills to hold formual conversation. The younger generations would much rather text than talk. She says “we get to edit, delete what we say”. Directly off this is proves that we feel less in control holding a face to face conversation than over text.

    The human race is losing our empathy as a result of the amount of time we are spending on social media. As a young person myself I believe that we should all spend time away from our phones and from the toxic environment of social media. It connects people and brings us together, however it can also divide us and make us even more alone.


  14. Charlotte Smith

    Before watching both TED talks, I believed that there was no one way that social media was used, and that different people used and treated social media very differently. However, I now believe that, although some peopled use social media more positively than others, all social media users use it to show the most desirable, and best parts of their lives. On the other hand, I still believe that although social media has brought some positivity in the means of communication etc., yet there are also people who do not use it positively, but put negativity into people’s lives.

    After watching Jon Ronson’s TED talk, it showed me that social media can turn a simple mistake into some extremely negative – and once a significant amount of people agree with this option and publicly express their opinions about this, it is very hard for others to turn the situation around. For example, once thousands of people had seen Justine Sacco’s trending tweet, there were thousands of opinions on the matter and even if others tried to support Justine in any way they’d be attacked by others over the social media platform. It is clear that nowadays everyone wants to hear the same thing – or just what they personally want to hear – and if they don’t they will happily upset, offend etc. these users all behind their computer screens.

    In addition, I believed that the use official media was brilliant for communicating to others, whether they are close by or far away. However, after watching Sherry Turkle’s TED talk, my opinion quickly changed. Yes, social media has completely changed the way people communicate and help people stay connected; but it has also changed the way we communicate in real life. Many people now, especially the younger generations, do not know how to have proper conversations in real life due to being used to doing it over social media and on technology instead. This has changed and negatively impacted the way people act and cope with real life situations.

    As I am a social media myself, I see the need in receiving all of the likes and comments and am not used to a life without these platforms. However, I can clearly see how it has positively and negatively impacted on lives all around the world. It has improved communications around the world but had worsened the way we actually talk to people. Social media has also released a kind of hatred into peoples lives that wasn’t thought possible before the creation of social media platforms.


  15. Charlotte Evans

    After watching both of these videos, I now understand the true reality of social media. I understand and have seen the topics brought up and may have also been apart of similar circumstances. These videos have made me realise how caught up you can get in the world of social media and how it can make you unaware of the danger it may bring. Has social media changed the way in which we communicate for the better? Well, it all depends on the person.

    Social media is a powerful tool. You can get engrossed into the world of the internet but be oblivious to what the consequences may be. Jon Ronson has a great example of this. People can forget about other people’s feelings and how it might affect someone. People can also misinterpret what someone is saying and it may have not been what they originally intended. This can cause unnecessary negativity which can cause people to say unpleasant comments they may not necessarily say in real life. Hthis is an example of the power of social media.

    However, the world of social media is so much more then negativity. Meeting new people, reuniting with friends and family, etc. I use social media to contact friends from all around the world. I love having that social interaction with people without needing to take the time to visit them. I check my phone the minute I wake up until the time I go to sleep. Social media has become a part of my daily routine. I couldn’t imagine a life without it. Although social media has its negatives, it has improved and reinvented the way we socialise.


  16. Emilia Gatt

    Social media enables the communication between people in society that may normally feel isolated and cut off from their immediate community. Having access to these communities helps people know that there are many other people like them who are going through the same struggles; they aren’t alone. However, I also believe social media, and the way we communicate through it can be damaging as we are constantly forced to compare ourselves to the millions of people online. But it does enable people to finally be heard on the same level as any other person, irrespective of popularity and power in the ‘real world’.

    Ronson identifies this idea of online communities, and ordinary people being given a ‘voice’ through these platforms, but from my perspective he chooses to focus on the negatives of social media. He describes this idea that we are anonymous online and that perhaps this can lead us to be more destructive as we don’t know the people we victimise. In a way social media allows online bullying to happen guilt-free as we don’t have to face that person. He explores the issue of a statement being misinterpreted, and in the case of Sacco, how this can lead to a public shaming – which is where these aforementioned communities are dangerous.

    Turkle acknowledges straight away that there can be positives to communicating on social media. But what’s interesting is that she explores the notion of social media leaving us feeling isolated, even with access to this vast community of people. We begin to rely on these messages that boost our mood, and the constant checking of phones becomes our security blanket, so much so that we avoid real life contact and communication in favour of hiding behind a phone screen. She seems to highlight throughout her talk is our ‘want’ to call someone, evolving into a ‘need’ to text – highlighting our growing dependency on social media.


  17. Jamie Fenton

    Before I watched these two TED Talk videos social media to me was just a platform where everybody would keep in contact and share things they want other people to see and promote themselfs. It is after these two videos that I now realise how destroying social media can be to someone’s everyday life and the effects it can have on a person as the world turns against them. It is easy for us to misinterpret what a tweet or post is saying as we don’t know the context of how or why that person decided to post or tweet what they did.

    In the Jon Ronson video he displayed how easy it was for the world to turn on a singular person and make the target seem evil for a simple mistake. Once the story had become popular many people decided to express there feelings and opinions. This lead to Justine receving no support from anyone. Which meant anyone that tried to defend her was also being shamed. This shows that everyone wants to read and hear the samething or people are afraid to stand up as they will get shamed for standing up for someone who people think has done wrong and go against the mainstream of people.

    In Shery Turkle’s video she describes in detail how we as humans are using social media in the wrong way. Sherry talked about how we are loosing the art of conversation due to other means of connection. An example of this was an 18 year old boy that told her he wanted to “learn to have a conversation”. This shows change happening because the younger generations are texting which allows them to “edit, delete what we say” which then gives us the feeling that the receiver is empathising and connecting with us when in reality there not and we are isolating are self’s and becoming more dependant on technology.

    Finally as a young person and a social media user myself i belive that social media is a positive thing as long as its used correctly and responsibly by the user. It has allowed us so many great positive possibilitys but at the same time so many bad possibilities and isolation and shaming are only a few. Social media is apart of my regular life as i connect with freinds and family threw it and it would be hard for me to connect to thedse people without social media.


  18. Mansi Sudra

    Social media. We use social media every day, it has become embedded into our everyday lives, a necessity to do so; whether it is to check Instagram, to check the news to keep updated with current affairs, replying to an email or text. Whatever it may be we can all admittedly put our hands up and confirm we use social media. However can we all undeniably put our hands up and say we use social media positively and appropriately?
    Before watching both TED talks, and being an active and daily user of social media it was fair to say my views were biased. I believed that the platforms were there to provide people, to discuss and voice their own opinions, to narrate their own judgements, and for others to share and relate to one another. To feel connected. To not feel alone. However my thoughts and attitude towards this matter has now changed. I believe that we as a society use social media in a positive way, however a seen in Jon Ronson’s TED talk, many people misuse their power and privileges to have a negative influence on peoples lives, rather than for the better. We find ourselves so engrossed in random people lives, that we have found on social media; however one simple tweet, 180 characters is all it take for a miscommunicated “joke” to spiral out of control. These random people now have all the power to dismantle and crush your whole world.
    We live in a world where as technology is developing, so our lives are. Where sending a text is equivalent to knocking on someone’s door and speaking to them face to face. Social media has transformed some of us, however I am unaware in what way now; as we as a society are finding extreme difficulty to start a conversation with someone. It has had an immense impact on the way we communicate. On the other hand social media has bought us so many amazing things, we are able to communicate and stay in touch with family and friends from all over the world, where it is not as easy to knock on their door and have a chat. What made a significant impact on me was that we use social media to disguise our real lives, into editing and deleting whenever we like. We can prepare and plan out what we say, only post pictures which represent our best lives. It is equally as important to gain the “desired” and “significant” amount of likes and comments. For us to feel connected and relevant in todays society. So now in this present day and age, where people are finding it difficult to start a conversation, to be obsessed with numbers, glued to our phones, I can only imagine what the future will bring.


  19. Ellie Beeby

    I believe that after watching both of these videos it has made me realise so many different interpretations with the use of social media. It is positive in the way that people can talk to others and communicate so easily. However, It is negative in the way that it draws people in and they don’t realise how anti-social they are becoming in the real world and when having a conversation becomes difficult as there is little time in thinking and there is no delete button. Furthermore, I now believe that people can become so engrossed within social media and that they are unaware of the danger and uproar it can cause.
    Jon Ronson explores this and demonstrates how other peoples feelings are affected in a pessimistic way and usually people are guilt free of what it might do to others.
    Turkle does explore the positives of social media, however she highlights the fact that people are becoming more and more attached to the internet and social media and their phones in general. People struggle to leave the house without and mobile phone glued to their side. Turkle highlights the fact that accessories such as Siri are becoming ‘like people’s best friends’ and they are more comfortable with talking to their phones rather than actual contact with people. She says that it is because people know that Siri will always be there to listen when people in the real world may not be.
    Overall. I believe that social media demonstrates a lot more negatives than it does positives.


  20. Jenna Moore

    In recent years, social media has grown to be a huge part of everyone’s lives and as a result, there is bound to be a variety of consequences. It isn’t such a black and white issue as social media has had a wholly bad impact or wholly good one, or it has solely improved communication or worsened it. There is a range of advantages and disadvantages to it and before watching the talks I was firmly under the impression that the many benefits outweighed the negatives. Even though growing up I was always told there were many dangers and negative aspects to social media, it always seemed to be a much more positive space that was really useful for communicating with people you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to meet and becoming more aware of global issues all over the world. Having never been directly at the receiving end of a mob of negative comments like Jon Ronson discussed in his TED talk, it is easy to be oblivious to the incredibly damaging effects social media has had on many people and can make us lose touch with real people as Sherry Turkle talked about.

    Social media makes it alarmingly easy to lose touch with how real people work as everyone is constantly trying to present the best versions of themselves online. Real people make mistakes, they say things in real conversations that they can’t just delete or edit like they can online and as a result, the way people act on social media isn’t an accurate reflection of how they act in real life. If someone posts something that someone else doesn’t agree with online, they feel it’s easier to post hate comments and threats because they lack empathy for the other person as online they aren’t a real, flawed human being like they would be in real life, they are just a profile and it’s so easy not to think about the person behind that screen who has to take the psychological damage of all those hateful comments.

    Overall, I think whilst social media has allowed communication on a vast scale unlike anything we have seen before, the type of communication has worsened with how easy it has become to hate, threaten, and pressurise people over social media.


  21. Natasha lee

    Both TED talks highlight the negative side of social media; however, there is a positive side to social media as well.

    The obvious benefit is being able to keep in contact with friends and family who don’t live nearby. There is also a more overlooked benefit in that you can find a community. We can often grow up and live in a small area our whole lives where we adopt the views of those around us. Online we can find people like us and can create change in the real world. There is a community for everyone online; whether that be talking about your tv interests to the more significant movements such as body positivity, me too and the acceptance of all sexuality’s and genders within gay pride.

    However, as Jon Ronson said people will also find communities in hating on someone and tearing apart their career which can lead to their whole life being in pieces under the name of ‘social justice’. Often, people won’t have checked their information and created their opinions based on other’s twisted words rather than their own ideas from a balanced source. These cases show how toxic social media can because millions of people can attack very quickly. This is only possible because of social media. There is a more open communication which means people say things they wouldn’t normally say and is often less efficient communication as it’s negative and hateful rather than constructive and careful as people tend to be in face to face conversations.

    Shery Turkle talked about how we have an increasing dependency on our technology and how it is replacing real-life interaction. We often use our phones as safety blankets in unfamiliar settings so we can look busy and unapproachable. This has lead to everyone living in a world full of ’perfect’ lives when it is actually a highlight reel. We have become attached to the idea of living our perfect life rather than real world conversations. This has meant many people have lost social skills in the real world and communicate less effectively than people who don’t use social media very often.

    Overall, there is positives and negatives to using social media because it has made our lives easier. Instead of writing a letter, we can now pick up our phone and send a text instantly but social media had also allowed us to be hateful to people without thinking about it as we turn to a virtual world and away from the real world.


  22. Molly Habbershaw

    On one hand, for me, social media has made me become much more educated on current, important affairs in the world. It also offers a platform to be able to communicate with others and to express pride, positivity and awareness. It allows us to communicate with people that have common interests with us and that can be a very positive thing. A more obvious point is the benefit of it giving us the ability to keep in touch with people such as friends or family by something as small as just a short text.
    Ronson discussed the effects of online shaming and it made me realise even more that social media can be very toxic at times. When I saw the tweet that Sacco made, I was disgusted. However, as Ronson continued to elaborate on the situation I started to see it in a different light and surprisingly felt a sense of empathy. For one tweet that she probably didn’t think twice about before her flight, her career was ruined. Not excusing Sacco’s tweet, it makes me question whether the people expressing such hate online are just as bad- or even worse and it scares me the way some people choose to communicate online.

    I agreed very much with Turkle in her TED talk that people are getting so used to texting that they prefer it to physical conversation. In some ways, this could be causing damage to younger people especially, because conversations are seeming more complex and intimidating. This links to the ‘Goldilocks effect’ that Turkle mentioned. By texting and using social media, you can ensure that everything you say is just right before you hit send. Therefore in some ways, social media is making us less confident in actual conversations and many people much prefer talking digitally where less mistakes can be made. You could argue that this is making people more lazy or intimidated by verbal communication but on the other hand, if we have the privilege of using social media, maybe it’s not a negative thing that it’s how we decide to communicate.

    Overall I think that social media has many positive and negative aspects to it- just like most things. In my opinion, the positives outweigh the negatives. However, I wouldn’t agree that social media has positively changed the way we communicate in person for many of us. Social media is a positive thing as long as people use it in the right way.


  23. Sarah Aiken

    I believe that the way we communicate has completely changed. It has got to have changed as we are now in a world where we are connected to everything that we want and we can know about something that happens across the world in an instant. This is bound to change how we as a society communicate and how we react to new situations as we are able to know and understand facts in so much more depth than our ancestors.

    This change to our society should be a good one and should help us communicate and help others for the better. To contradict this, Ronson pointed out we direct this new found power to crow over others as we claim superiority because we seemingly haven’t made the mistake of putting our errors and misjudgements on the internet. In Sacoo’s situation, her tweet was misunderstood and this misjudgement circulated the internet and the whole social media bubble was discussing her misunderstood tweet. Today’s social media allows for any communication to take place; positive or negative. Ronson does, however, touch on how social media does give a voice to the voiceless and is able to unite people in communicating about issues they relate to each other about. This is a positive aspect on how social media can change how we communicate.

    Turkle, on the other hand, talks about how social media has become the ‘unempathetic’ life support as people are unable to live normally without it. One boy even wanted to ‘learn to have a conversation’ as he had grown up so involved with social media that he was unable to talk face to face with other people. Turkle talks about how people want to be ‘together but also elsewhere’. How people want to communicate with others but only at certain times and not when it gets tough or difficult, then people can escaspe to the land of idealism that is social media.

    Finally, I want to touch on how Ronson called social media a ‘mutual approval machine’. This to me shows how we as humans all crave approval and how social media creates the perfect platform for this approval to be granted. This changes the way in which we communicate online as we only show and talk about the things that gain us this wanted approval. This creates a platform that is fake but most of all shows “fakeness” off as a good thing. This is why I can not say that the impact that social media has had on communication has been a positive one, it has some positive aspects but overall the negatives drown the positives out, the way we drowned all hope in Sacoo’s life and the others that we have affected just like her.


  24. Kian Burrell

    From personal experience, social media has contributed largely in various situations in a positive way, from keeping in touch with people on the other side of the world, to arranging meetups with friends from around the corner. Very rarely have I ever had a negative experience online, therefore, before listening to the TED talks, the negative effects of social media have not been something that I have found myself reflecting on often. However, the issues brought into view within each of the videos have resonated with other stories that I have read and heard; these are not uncommon.
    Ronson explored how social media can cause damage to the lives of other people. In his example, the group hatred stemmed purely from a misinterpreted joke, which I find to be extremely unfortunate. It also shows how something that was posted on a small-scale account can very quickly turn into a trending topic. With the hatred attached to the person in Ronson’s example, this shows how brutal an online misunderstanding can turn out to be.
    Turkle explored how an increased use of technology in communication can lead to a lack of communicative skill among the younger generations especially. This is something that I have personally experienced among friends and family; the dinner table often experiencing more texting than conversing. However, she also says how in certain circumstances a text from a loved one can be a special gesture. Personally, I agree with both sides of Turkle’s argument as I have experienced both the awkwardness of a lack of conversation and the feeling of happiness when receiving a long-awaited message.
    Overall, the TED talks have made me realise that social media is not a good thing for all parties involved, even though it can seem like the best thing since sliced bread at certain times. I think that social media is one of the most powerful weapons that we possess, and it is down to us to choose whether to use it for better or for worse.


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