Social Society

Society.  What is society? According to a Google search of the word society, a society is an aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community.  Synonyms to the word are community, the general public, and the people.  Another definition that Google offers is an organization or club formed for a particular purpose of activity.  Synonyms to this definition of society include association, club, group, league, etc.  When we look at social media’s place in society, or society’s place in social media, I believe it is important to know the actual definition of society, which is why I opened with the basic definitions.  The current state of social media in society is that it is becoming increasingly popular all the time.  Older people ranging 50+ are becoming familiar with the term “hashtag,” which according to Google is defined as “(on social media sites such as Twitter) a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign ‘#’ and used to identify messages on a specific topic.”  This is a clear representation of social media’s influence on our society.  It seems as through the younger generation people, avid users of social media, may know the # sign as the hashtag instead of the number sign or the pound sign.  While still staying with the topic of the hashtag, television shows now have a small pop up on the bottom or top of screens with a # and then a few words.  For instance, if a couple in a show was about to break up, a “#thebreakup” may pop up on the screen.  The purpose of such hashtags is to offer a sign of encouragement for viewers to Tweet about the part of the episode and relate and connect with other viewers who are watching at the same time.  Another example of social media in society relates to what just happened with the Oscars this past Sunday.  Ellen Degeneres, the host of the Oscars, took a picture with other celebrities and posted it to Twitter.  She said she wanted to see if she could get that picture to break the record for most retweets ever.  This was actually so successful that Twitter crashed for a few moments due to the amount of participation (the amount of retweets).  This example also reveals society’s current state within social media.  Many people watching the Oscars so wanted to be a part of this “record-breaking moment” that they participated on Twitter and retweeted as soon as they could.  This exposes society’s desire to be a part of something.  I can say that I, myself, participated and retweeted the picture.  Many people desire to be a part of something, and by having a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or any other social media account allows people to feel as if they are a part of something, while they may be sitting on their couches by themselves.  Social media can be good for society to keep they up-to-date with current topics.   As you can see, the President of the United States, has a Twitter account that he uses to keep his followers on point with what he is currently doing and dealing with in office: https://twitter.com/BarackObama.  In my opinion, for reasons like the one just mentioned, social media is good for society because it is a quick way of sharing information to keep people connected and on the same page.  There are certainly ways in which social media may be bad for society.  Because social media is a fact-paced world of sharing information, if an incorrect piece of information gets shared, it may be quickly believed by many.  For instance, I really like the musician Bruno Mars.  I once saw on Facebook a status along with a posting of an article stating that “Bruno Mars Dies in Car Crash.”  I instantly became sadden and clicked on the link provided:http://bruno.mars.swellserver.com/news/top_stories/auto80.  I read the article and believed it until I researched further.  I found out the article had been a hoax and was a stupid way of “scaring” people through social media.  Many other occurrences happen all the time of false information that circulates throughout social media that has the ability to change the public opinion.   Something that is continually making social media a positive integral part of society is the use of businesses using social media to monitor consumer preferences and market to their customers.  In the area of college admissions, it is said that “With all the buzz about the role of social media in almost every industry, it shouldn’t be surprising that it has increasingly become a significant part of the college admissions process. A Zinch survey last year found that 68% of students used social media to research schools, and 38% said they used it as a research tool when deciding where to enroll. This has prompted college and universities to use social media as an informative recruitment tool, with 97% of schools using social media in their online recruitment efforts (up from 37% 10 years ago), according to the National Association for College Admissions Counseling” (more about this can be found http://blog.linkedin.com/2013/12/04/the-role-of-social-media-in-college-admissions).  In fact, this scenario is both positive and threatening to society.  While it is positive that colleges and universities are using social media to provide what they have to offer to the future applicants, it can be threatening to future applicants if the universities can see their social media pages.  Applicants may post inappropriate pictures or statuses that are unattractive as a candidate for admission.  It is important to filter what you share in order to not cause problems for yourself in the present or the future.  As more and more colleges, universities, and major companies use social media to scope out their potential students and employees, people may be screened out because of their postings.  This seems as a negative to people yet a positive to the companies because they are screening out people for reasons of inappropriateness.  In a very interesting article titled Social Problems Everywhere and No Attention to Spare, it is clear to see that there are many factors that influence what is discussed publicly throughout social media.  The article mentions that a lot of what is shared today, thanks to social media, is more on the minor level of problems versus the economy or world issues: “Although it is definitely still possible for a few big issues, like the economy and the election race, to dominate people’s attention, most other issues never leave the relatively small public arenas of their interest groups and engaged publics. Because the internet has led to so many choices in news mediums, such as blogs, social media, YouTube, and news Web sites, the public’s attention is becoming more and more scattered and difficult to attract” http://climateshiftproject.org/2013/09/03/social-problems-everywhere-and-no-attention-to-spare.  We can see that the “pressing issues” of today that dominate throughout the social media sources may not be relatively important to the real world.  Again using the Oscars retweet picture,  that spread widely across social media within minutes and does not really have any affect or benefit to people’s lives.  Social media and society are 100% related because what is social media without society.  Without people’s common interests, social media platforms would not be as successful as they are today.  In a way, social media creates a society of its own.  People become a part of something and share common interests with many people across the world.  Our lives are developing in interesting ways, and therefore I leave you with: 

“You are what you share” (CLB)

Leen

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