In the 21st Century, there was an estimation of over 2.34 billion users that used social media platforms worldwide in 2016, with the number rapidly growing. For most of us, Internet is such an effortless consuming in our everyday lives that we sometimes forget to eat or do something, which can be very worrying. With having everything at our fingertips, use of Internet it so easy to connect with others whenever we want and wherever we want. With phones and Internet being at a hand reach, we no longer need newspapers to get information from, as we rather read about them on our social media feeds or reading the news from our devices. With this advanced technology, we can only be grateful, but we need to understand that digital world and the digital devices have many implications.
Did you ever think about how much time you spend checking and being up to date with your social media platforms? Let me shock you. 72% of online adults use social media and the average user spends 23 hours a week on social media — that’s the equivalent of a part time job! Social media platforms are enormously addictive. Throughout the day, most of us check and interact on the social media platforms, spending far too much time on stuff that might not benefit us in any way, apart from achieving a social status and being up to date with all the statues, tweets, pictures, etc.
Tweeting or checking emails may be harder to resist than cigarettes and alcohol, which was concluded from an experiment done by researchers at Chicago University, in USA. This shows how much impact social media platforms have on our lives and daily decisions.
There is a huge problem in today’s world with people not having a normal conversation or meeting to talk with others face-to-face. Yet, instead we choose to chat online on different social media platforms where we can chat to multiple individuals at one time and not just one. But are we missing something from this? Yes, absolutely! By talking in person, we can see other person’s emotions, expressions and reactions, whereas this cannot be seen or experienced when talking over a social media platform such as Facebook or Snapchat. We are lacking such basic communication skills, which are a necessity in our day-to-day lives. This can prove many personal difficulties to individuals to open up to others when they will meet in person, as they might not feel confident, whereas they would feel more secure and self-assured when talking through internet.
Social media is so powerful and successful in many ways, braking the barriers of distance and time, barriers of physical presence and visibility, however, we as humans, we need to know our limits to not become addictive. There is far too many ‘users’ that have a fear of missing out (FOMO) on particular stuff on social media platforms, which account for 67%. In this situation, I can honestly admit that sometimes I do feel that if I don’t scroll down my Instagram page I could be at a risk of missing some exciting photographs, which shows the impacts and implications of social media usage. But on the other hand, is scrolling down the same Instagram page with different pictures beneficial to me? Is it worth the time? Or is it just an addiction that I have introduced into my daily life? We all need to ask ourselves those questions and honestly answer them.
Another example of excessively using digital media is to do with our own health and experiencing pressure and low self-esteem. Young women on Instagram in particular feel the pressure over how many likes they get over a certain picture. If the picture is not getting the right amount of likes that people expect, there is a possibility of that person feeling that they don’t look good enough for their followers, which can lead to deleting the picture because it is not as popular.
“Sometimes when I post a photo of myself, I end up taking 20 different pictures and choosing the best one. It can get depressing at times, but I have to remind myself that I put myself in that scenario.”
There will always be a feel of pressure that we will feel when using social media platforms, especially Instagram. People at those stages can critically compare their life with others, as they might want to measure their success and failures, comparing to someone like a celebrity. We might not think, but the impacts of this could be disastrous, as people, especially young women can feel low-esteem, creating a situation where they ask themselves questions and most of them time, having negative answers which creates low-esteem.
On a positive note to end this blog post, social media platforms can be also an extremely influential tool, if only it is used correctly. This tool can provide its power to motivate people into taking action in their own hands. One of the examples is the Ice Bucket Challenge. The campaign was originally created by ALS Association to raise funds and awareness about the disease. With a huge spread over social media globally, people were getting involved in the challenge, which has raised over £87.7 million for the cause. Celebrities were involved and by their social media power, it helped others to engage in the challenge, making it fun and at the same time gathering others to commit to this for a good cause.
“The ALS Association has announced the vital Ice Bucket Challenge has funded a scientific gene breakthrough in the progressive neurodegenerative disease.”
One of the main challenges I have faced from the first assessment for the Digital Society course was writing a blog post, suppose to writing a normal assignment or a report that I was more used to for my other units. It turned out to be harder than I thought, as I didn’t have any previous experience with any type of blog writing. However, with tutors helps and guide it made it so much easier to understand how a blog post differs from a normal assignment
I also found it difficult to think critically about different themes and topics that were introduced to me in the Digital Society unit. When I enrolled into this course, I had thought to myself that it would be pretty straightforward for me with my current knowledge at the time, but first two lectures in, I have realized that I only knew the Digital side that only interested me. Also, I found it difficult to critically think on certain subjects, but through further and extra reading, I have expanded my knowledge and thinking, which has helped me a lot later on in the subject.
During the time I have being involved with this course, I must say that I really enjoyed the experience in DigiLab. Previously, I did have limited experience with virtual reality, however, with the excellent equipment provided at DigiLab, it made everything so much better for myself in different ways. I am purely amazed by the simple fact how technology has become so advanced over the years, and is still growing and improving.
Looking back at this experience, I do think it is important to mention that this new technology is such an easy and smooth way to get disconnected from the real world that we live in. For certain people this might be seen as a huge problem, such as becoming easily addictive or putting our own relationships at risk. However, I do believe that virtual reality helps individuals to escape from the reality that they live in, for a short period of time. This could simply a way of stress relieve or even getting away from day-to-day personal problems/tasks. But we need to make sure that we don’t become dependent on the technology, which can make us become addictive, that’s why we need to know our limits.
From this course I have gained further knowledge about technology that I was not aware of before and even technology that didn’t interest me. It turned out to be very useful in many ways for myself, as I have more interest in the new technology that will be available to us in couple of year’s time.
Also, this course has made me realized that I need to think about my online presence a bit more in terms of what I post, write or take pictures of, as this might be seen by anyone, especially current and future employers. Our online consumption is a massive weakness, which individuals such as hackers can take advantage of and make a lot of damage to our online presence as well as personal profiles. This is an extensive problem that we need to face and be very conscious about.