April 9, 2015
Research Paper: Social Media Dependence
Technology has diminished the purity and quality of face-to-face conversation. Cell phones, iPods, tablets, and laptops have created an interference. Through the development of social media, and portable access of these sites, face-to-face conversations have developed an awkwardness and unfamiliarity. Technology is taking the place of face-to-face communication, due to social media sites that serve as a crutch rather than a catalyst. Society has developed a dependency upon technology and social media that has diminished the quality of communication both on and offline.
In Christian Nicholson’s article "Technology, Social Media Hinder Communication Skills" he compares face-to-face conversations as being as awkward as alien encounters. In an exposé on London photographer Babycakes Romero, Caitlin Dewey uncovers the theory behind “The Death of Conversation”. “The Death of Conversation” is a series by Romero that illustrates society’s addiction to technology and the barrier it has created in in-person conversation. The technology consumption has become evident of face-to-face conversations because the necessity is clear in these types of situations. Dewey says “the cellphone has become modern society’s security blanket: a way to protect ourselves from the inherent loneliness or awkwardness of the human condition (3). He argues that the need to turn to our devices during social settings is due to the fact that we feel we either don’t like or can’t contribute to the conversation at hand. The cells phones are ultimately what he calls “social props” and he compares this to both cigarettes and alcohol. Items such as these are used to fill the silence as either a cop-out or gateway to conversation. His ideas suggests that this device dependency stems from a feeling of insecurity of insufficiency. The protection of these tiny screens allow people to calculate a response, but by doing so conversations becomes more premediated and guarded (Dewey 11). Technology allows people to take time to compose the best versions of ourselves, or at least the people we want to be.
Patrick Stokes shares a similar perspective of reinventing yourself in his article “The Digital Soul”. He examines society’s dependence on social media and technology and suggests that it is the escape from reality that is so appealing to humanity. Social media sites are outlets, accessible through our mobile devices that are used to escape the reality of our lives. Social networking allows people to reinvent themselves into the person they want to be without really having to put in much effort. It eliminates the vulnerability giving us the opportunity to manipulate the information that identifies us. Media sites such as the infamous Facebook provides us with the freedom to virtually silence our inner demons by designing a profile that either highlights the part of ourselves we want people to see or allows us to assemble the person we aspire to be. Social media dependency primarily revolves around insecurity and our desire to portray our lives in a manner that we wish to expose to the world.
“People tend to want to show other that they are having fun than actually having fun, says journalist Jasmine Fowlkes. Her article "Viewpoint: Why Social Media Is Destroying Our Social Skills" discusses the dominance social media holds over communication. In both on and offline scenarios, social media dominants the conversations between people. Social media has easily become the favored method of communication and because of this people are now lacking the ability to properly hold a conversation with their peers in face-to-face discussions. The article also touches upon the dependence people have with social media and its appealing ability to convey a more favorable version of yourself. The example given in the article is of people that go out of their way to take pictures of themselves