Essay about Social Media and Behavioral Effects

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The internet has a greater impact on people today than ever before. It has been a constant source of news, entertainment, and education for users around the world for more than twenty years. However, the most revolutionary of its technologies, social media, didn’t achieve mainstream popularity until about ten years ago. As a result of this new development, Facebook, Twitter, and similar services are becoming the most visited destinations on the internet. These websites allow users to quickly and easily share pictures, links, ideas and messages with other users; theoretically facilitating social interaction. But do these self-proclaimed social networking tools actually encourage healthy human interaction? The evidence suggests that they do. …show more content…

What effect does spending time on these websites have on real-world relationships? According to survey data reported by Rainie, Purcell and Smith (2011), “33% of…internet-using active group members say the internet has had a major impact on their ability to find groups that match their interests” (para. 4) When people can easily connect with other individuals who hold similar interests, increased participation in group activities is a natural result. Gone are the days in which hobbyists with obscure interests were relegated to pursuing their passion in solitude, trolling local hobby shops, or paying for newspaper listings. With groups reflecting nearly every possible interest imaginable, social media sites allow users to find an online niche where they can swap stories, techniques, and even coordinate social events with nothing more than internet access and a computer. So does spending more time in front of the computer mean an individual has less time to pursue their interests? According to Rainie et al., “46% of the internet users who are active in groups say the internet has helped [sic] them be active in more groups than would otherwise be the case” (2011). This indicates that just under half of social media site users derive some form of social benefit through the use of these sites. Whether that benefit is due to site accessibility or design remains to be seen; however,

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