By Lindsay Wigo
Unlock any young adult’s phone and you are bound to see Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat. Have you noticed any 20-year-old that doesn’t whip their phone out as soon as school is over? It’s becoming second nature to have social media always at our fingertips. We are living in such a technology-dependent time period that we can hardly go a few hours a day without checking to see the newest viral trends. A lot of people make claims that technology is causing harm to people, but there is an abundance of ways that social media positively affects people’s lives without us even realizing it.
Starting off with the most obvious, social media forms connections and keeps friendships. It is known that communication can connect us to other states, and even to other countries. After moving out of New York City, I stayed connected with so many of my friends through Instagram and Facebook. Despite social media being as “in your face” as it can get, it truly allows people to feel like they are not leaving old friends and cutting off contact just because we are not close geographically.
Being tech-savvy is so common that a lot of people can earn a living just by actively posting on their social media accounts. Social media influencers, those who have large followings on sites like Instagram, Facebook or even YouTube, can earn a living just by having an active presence on these platforms and engaging in social media advertisements.
Social media has opened doors to careers for so many young adults. Not to mention that most careers that graduating students will be entering call for people experienced with computers and technology. If you are proficient with Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter or Facebook, you have an advantage over those that are not as familiar. This use of social media applications, and just the use of this type of technology in general, is praised by so many job employers. A social media skill, that started as a hobby, now allows for careers in technology, communication and even in social media marketing.
However, I am not trying to convince you that involvement with social media is not flawed. It is clear to anyone that has ever looked around a college campus or a mall that the use of technology appears to be excessive.
According to a 2015 study completed by Common Sense Media, “teens are spending nearly nine hours a day consuming media.” Not only can social media be a distraction, but it also can cause tensions in friendships and in family households.
I know from personal experience that I can spend hours just scrolling through Instagram or Facebook watching videos. One of the most common arguments that I have heard against social media is that it isolates teens, causing them to be antisocial. However, a CNN article discussed another survey done by Common Sense Media where they surveyed 1,000 teens ranging from ages 13 to 17 on their feelings regarding social media. The result was that “28 percent said social networking made them feel more outgoing versus 5 percent who said it made them feel less so; and 29 percent said it made them feel less shy versus the 3 percent who said it made them feel more introverted.” Although some parents may disagree, these are the teen’s responses to social media’s effect on them.
It’s inevitable that the use of social media can cause issues within school and families. However, it is apparent that students are able to grow and feel more confident from the use of these platforms. This proficiency allows for great résumé details.
As a communication student constantly learning more about these social media platforms, my familiarity with social media might allow me to get into a career quicker than the next person. We are living in a world that eats, breathes and sleeps technology, and despite popular belief, it’s not just here to ruin people’s lives.