How Is the use of social media contributing to digital transformations in the fabric of everyday life? (EXAM)

To start off with a little history of social media to see how it has come about and how it slowly started impacting our everyday life.

Social media first started out in 1997 with the website Six degrees between 1997-2001, it wasn’t much of an impact then as social media was starting out, the site had around 3.5 million users it was a simple messaging site which was the first of it’s kind, it was bought in 1999/2000 for around $125 million but later dissolved and shut down. Back then people could only access the internet if they had quite a lot of money due to it being expensive when social media first started out plus not a lot of people had internet back then compared to what it is today. it impacted quite a lot of people for the majority that had internet and used six degrees as it was somewhat similar to what Facebook is today it had a profile and friends list and you could message people and add them through the site.

Social media started developing even more in 2001 with the site Ryze which yet again was the early days for social media. The site had over 500,000 users from 200 countries using this not as many as six degrees, but it had more people connected around the world than six degrees. Friendstar was the next social media platform to pop up in March 2002 this was this first mainstream social media platform and none before it mainstream wise had similar success to what the site had, this is where it stated impacting everyday life and how we used social media and how it became an obsession something that we could not live without. The site was more like a dating site but with Facebook elements added to it for a better experience, apparently the company and the site is credited as giving birth to the modern social media movement and changing our lives for the better or worse. May 2003 the birth of LinkedIn a popular site which is used nowadays to advertise yourself to employers for jobs and to show off your skills, more like a database for your CV and your job experience, this impacted mainly employers as it was a way for employers to easily connect with employees and too see their experience as well as chat with them. There were other sites that came and wait very quick in-between this time that hardly had any impact to our everyday life such as hi5 in 2003 and Orkut which was a major disaster of a site it flopped and didn’t stick around for long.

Myspace was also born in 2003 which had the biggest impact of all around that time by 2006 it was in fact the Number 1 social media platform with a net worth of $12 billion. This is where social media would change our everyday lives for good the milestone or stepping stone just before Facebook arrived on the scene to wipe out everything else. Myspace was an easy to use site which meant people would no longer arrange to meet up in person anymore it would be easily done via the social media platform, it also was the beginning of people not being able to be away from there phones and being zombified to them, you could say that stay connected at all times would have been a good slogan for the site a that’s what it was you could connect with people whenever and whatever time you please, something you could not do without a mobile phone which wasn’t as in demand back then and cost a lot to talk to people via telephone back then.

February 2004 the birth of the biggest social network platform today “Facebook” this site is what impacted our everyday life the most and it has its ups and its downs which will be explained more in the video at the end of this and will argue points on what it has impacted and how its impacted our life’s and the good and bad points of this. A good point about this site was you can easily connect with people around the world a big advantage if you have family in other countries and it is only a tap away at your fingertips to connect with them and get chatting.

The bad things about social media is cyber bullying this is a big thing when it comes to social media as well as cat fishing, it can also affect peoples mental health when it comes down to social media and cyber bullying, quite a few people have taken there life’s because of cyber bullying, this is the main issue with social media as people can bully you easily from around the world and it can have a big impact on people especially people with disabilities or people who don’t understand what is what if they have a certain disability and don’t understand things, this is something which unfortunately can’t be stopped unless you block them straight away but some people have there ways and make more profiles to carry it on once they have been blocked, this is a major problem with social media which in my own opinion makes social media quite toxic at times as it affects many people and affects there mental well being and can cause people’s anxiety or depression or whatever they may have to have suicidal thoughts so when it comes to social media you need to take extra precaution, so in my own opinion I think people under 16 shouldn’t use it cause this is were the cyber bullying problem is coming from 13-16 years olds it comes very toxic to teenagers especially with them being younger, it should be taught to young people how to protect yourself on social media and how to act online as some people are different online to what they are in person it’s like a full circle and young people need educating on it properly to try and get rid of all the cyber bullying which is a big issue and impact on young people even adults everyday life’s, more than 1/3 young people have experienced cyber bullying which agrees with my argument for social media and them needing to be educated properly in it, as well as parents taking precaution and not allowing them to use it at like 5-12 year old which is just ridiculous why does a 5-12 year old need to be on social media? There’s no need for it to be honest, this is what is affecting our everyday life, social media is taking over and not in a good way.

Social media has made a significant impact on society and its day to day activities. the question of whether social media has had a positive or negative impact, that is open to debate. It is of my opinion, that the effects of social media is not based on what is being used, as apposed to how it is being used. As it says in Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Facebook) Facebooks original purpose was for a place so that the Harvard students could communicate. Since Facebook as made public, it paved way for other sites such as twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, snapchat and so on.

Social media can be used in such a positive way, for example, on Facebook, there are support groups that I am a part of which are;

‘FIBROSUPPORT UK’, which is a place where people with Fibromyalgia talk, support each other and occasionally saves someone’s life. ‘AUTISTICS WORLDWIDE’ is a safe place that we have where its only autistics and parents of so that there is no bullying, conversations about different subject and sharing our personal interests.

Social media offers a space in which people can communicate with other people who live too far to visit. It helps people to stay connected and allows you to share something that you are interested in or made you laugh. Social media is also useful for educational purposes such as research and keeping in contact for group projects.

So, this just proves the point that if used properly, social media has made a positive impact in our day to day life. However, this could also be used to alert people of issues worldwide through links to news websites such as ‘BBC’, ‘METRO’, ‘ITV’. The first time I had seen this use of social media, was after the Manchester attacks, but Facebook has made use of itself by making it possible to mark yourself as safe.This has brought comfort to family and friends worldwide. And has allowed the authorities to see who is safe and who is still missing. This also allows other people in the area to send messages offering food and shelter because they found out what had happened through social media.

However, social media can also have its negative side.  The effects of social media and how easy it is to access other people can have its setbacks such as developing a social media addiction (http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180118-how-much-is-too-much-time-on-social-media).

Given that with a few taps you can access people worldwide, it is a no brainer that bad things begin to happen. In a world where you are judged by the colour of your skin, eyes, hair or your nationality, accent, freckles, disability, religion, whether you like Justin Bieber or not… or even your gender and sexuality, cyber bullying will happen at some point.

With how easy it is to create a false account with not needing proof of who you are, there people who will actively groom underaged children, teens and sometimes adults (https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/grooming/). This then follows into a disturbing form of predator. There was a case regarding Instagram who was suffering of mental health issues and would use this platform as a way of coping and helping others cope, this was sought out and she got targeted. This then led to her being tricked into “playing” the blue whale challenge which is basically away for other people to get you to commit suicide. the victim was told that they had all the information about the victim and their family and threatened the life of her family. This is a cruel use of social media that is targeting vulnerable children and teens globally and just shows how unsafe social media can be and how easy it is for others to access personal information about you (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWZGfaAe27k)

This next negative aspect of social media is aimed at the fashion industry. All over Facebook there is adverts for clothing stores and magazines. The images that have been used would have been air brushed to the point of it not being healthy or realistic. So, more and more women idolize what they think they see which a thin, glowing, sexy woman is who they wish they could look like. This imagery is everywhere leaving most women brainwashed into thinking that this is the norm. However, what they don’t realize is what they are looking as stopped being a photo long ago, and now is essentially a drawing, so this then leads to eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and so on. This would also lead to depression, and the peer pressure into looking a certain way, and being a carbon copy of a certain way then leads to social anxiety and paranoia. And having this, a person like myself, would feel more comfortable online than face to face in conversation with someone (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/social-media-and-its-effect-on-eating-disorders_us_591343bce4b0e3bb894d5caa) (http://www.theweek.co.uk/checked-out/90557/is-social-media-bad-for-your-mental-health) (https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/social-media-mental-health-negative-effects-depression-anxiety-addiction-memory-a8307196.html).

“It is through feelings, which are inwardly directed and private, that emotions, which are outwardly directed and public, begin their impact on the mind” (Antonio Damasio, 1999 – 2000). I believe that in this situation, this means that as people were cyberbullying you, or you face this constant reminder that you don’t look a certain way, you begin to believe what you are being called. You begin to believe that you are fat, ugly, etc that your entire mental state changes causing all these mental disorders and depression which leaves you as a perfect target for suicide challenges, more cyber abuse, psychological torment and online grooming…

Here is a video of myself explaining more into the question “How Is the use of social media contributing to digital transformations in the fabric of everyday life?”

So, in conclusion, it is my strongest opinion that social media is a bad thing given how it is used. There is more negativity coming from these platforms than the positives. If there were more social media monitors and they made it harder to acquire access to these websites by asking for evidence that you are who you say you are, then it wouldn’t be perfect, but it would be a bit safer than how it is now.

REFERENCES 

http://www.lse.ac.uk/media-and-communications/assets/documents/research/working-paper-series/EWP27.pdf – by Shenja van der Graaf 2014 – Last assessed 09/05/18

https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/sites/default/files/assets/document/SiobhanMcGrath.pdf – By Siobhan McGrath 2012 – Last assessed 09/05/18

http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEFUSA_DigitalMediaAndSociety_Report2016.pdf – by Willis Towers Watson 2016 – Last assessed 09/05/18

https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-importance-of-social-media-in-our-daily-life – By various people it’s opinions of other people on the impact of social media in everyday life. – Last assessed 09/05/18

http://blog.degreed.com/10-ways-social-media-affects-our-mental-health/ – Written by CAITLIN PROBST 2015 – Last assessed 09/05/18

https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/then-and-now-a-history-of-social-networking-sites/1/ – by CBBS NEWS – last assessed 09/05/18

http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/cyber-bullying-statistics.html – last assessed 09/05/18

 

 

 

 

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