Growing up in the 21st century, being categorized as a millennial, it actually aggravates me at times. Do not get me wrong- I have a love/hate relationship with social media, really with technology in general. However, the future is now and our generation and those to come must be prepared for the worst while praying for the best.
In my personal, non-professional opinion, I believe that technology will be running the human race instead of vice versa. Being raised by my grandparents really set the stage for how I approach and use social media. When I walk around campus, I look around and the majority of people have their noses glued to their phones. After reading an article on “brain hacking,” this makes perfect sense. We are literally being brain washed by the apps on our phones to continually keep us coming back for more. “Inadvertently, whether they (Silicon Valley) want to or not, they are shaping the thoughts and feelings and actions of people. They are programming people.” -Tristan Harris, former Google product manager
If we want to find out where in the world Indonesia is, learn how to change the oil in a car, or simply find out how to spell something (type it close enough and spell check will recognize it) or the definition of a word, simply Google it. Most teenagers today would not have a clue how to look up a word the “old fashioned way.” I feel like this has a lot to do with my generation being pegged as “lazy” because we have grown accustomed to finding all the answers within seconds, and at the tip of our fingers to boot. Carrying around a so called smartphone scares me in some ways since I know that technology will only keep advancing. I often ask myself, how far can science go? Will we one day eliminate humans completely if robots and machines can efficiently run and take over almost anything? Humans may one day be the cause of our own demise, well ahead of our time. Another important thing to consider about the use of technology in this time is that currently all our information online is being bought and sold to other companies for the benefit of target advertising and who knows what else. I think government interference and spying on citizens has only skyrocketed since computers with cameras came about, even before then. But, my point is social media was built for all fun and games at first. Now, there almost as many advertisements in my Snapchat stories than there are stories of my actual friends.
A few positive aspects I believe everyone benefits from the use of social media is speed, easy access to information (although how much of what you read online is accurate? Always consider fact checking and vetting any context and sources you use) and also, connections. Based on a social media report from last year, “According to GlobalWebIndex, 98 percent of online consumers (age 16 to 64) globally say they have
visited or used a social network within the last month.” For example, Facebook, the worldwide God Father of social media can connect you with old friends, new friends, and even distant relatives. This social media site is used for entertainment, businesses, advertising, and social interaction. I even have to use Facebook to turn in my homework assignments! However, I see it going as far as integrating all aspects of competing social media platforms and turning it into a one stop shop for social media, completely wiping out all other sites.