Nicole Henry, Contributing Writer
Many may think we as a society are overusing social media and losing interaction with our real life family and friends. I would agree with this to an extent because I believe it adds to our personal relationships. I think our view on social media and how we use it is the reason why we think this way. We think that we will lose our ability to communicate in person because of all the time we spend online, but we actually gain more interaction with people in person because of social media.
“Online communication – email, instant messaging, chat rooms, etc. – does not replace more traditional offline forms of contact – face-to-face and telephone,” according to Wellman’s Research. “Instead, it adds on to them, increasing the overall volume of contact. More specifically, people with a great deal of on-line conversations have just as many off-line conversations as those who decline to participate in the former.” I can personally attest to this because I interact with people online just as much as I do in person. I personally don’t see myself ever losing the ability to communicate with someone in person.
Even though I spend a lot of time on social media, I would rather have face-to-face conversations. It really all comes down to what you personally think of social media. Social media can also be helpful with getting to know someone and building a relationship that can go beyond the computer screen.
For example, my freshman year my roommate and I both found each other through Facebook. We got to know each other and later exchanged numbers. When we finally met in person, it wasn’t awkward because we had already gotten the chance to know one another through Facebook and text messaging. Another example of this is meeting people at your school through social media. There are a lot people I know that go to the university because I follow them on social media. We actually say hello to each other in passing because we are friends with each other on Twitter or Facebook.
Not only am I meeting new people, but I am staying in touch with the people I already knew. If you think about it, majority of the friends on your social media accounts are the people you already know in person; so, you aren’t losing your ability to communicate in person, you are enhancing it. So, the next time you see someone so engulfed in their phones, know that they are not ignoring you, but connecting with their other friends and building their social life. Also know that they are not losing their ability to communicate, but gaining how to communicating more effectively.
For more information on how social media can add to face-to-face relationships, check out this study http://groups.chass.utoronto.ca/netlab/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Connecting-Community-On-and-Off-line.pdf
For more information on how the internet is changing the way we communicate check out https://psmag.com/nature-and-technology/networks-changed-social-media-internet-communication-82554
Also, check out this website to see the positive effects of social media https://makeuseof.com/tag/positive-impact-social-networking-sites-society-opinion/