Since the invention of cell phones, the lines of communication have opened wider, and wider and even wider, until now, with a smartphone in hand or a tablet nearby, reaching out to others is instantaneous.
That’s why most people, particularly those from their teenager years to young adulthood find it preferable to communicate with the touch of a button, texting their thoughts rather than verbalizing them.
But texting is only one way today’s society stays in touch. Social media has become the communication method of choice. With access to Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and many others apps, people have almost reached a time when even a cell phone isn’t needed to get the message out. Today, most mobile communicators will tell you, you can communicate with anyone on just about any device that has recently been developed, as long as there is an internet connection available.
In fact, some of the interviews done for this article were accomplished through social media because of how convenient it is to reach people quickly, and most of those who responded were quick to point out the pros, and even a few cons, of communicating via text or social media.
With the help of social media, they said, the ability to share pictures, thoughts, events, music, and much more in a matter of seconds is the key.
Nick Cooper, a student at Liberty University, said he uses his Snapchat and Instagram as a platform for receiving and sending encouragement.
“I never know who may need that encouragement at that time and I never know who might see it,” Cooper pointed out. “When looking at apps such as Snapchat and Instagram and websites like Facebook, it’s easy to get in contact with just about anyone, anywhere and offer whatever encouraging words are needed. In fact, many said, words offered to one person get shared, often touching dozens more in the process.”
“We don’t have to rely on our landlines, answering machines or snail mail to contact somebody. We can simply open up our laptops or pick up smartphones and immediately start communicating with anyone,” stated Yensy Meza, a recent graduate of Clinton High School.
This statement is very much true because there are many apps, including those mentioned earlier, and other ways of texting or calling people. Even with devices like the MacBook, as long as the user has an apple or iCloud account, they can text and call from their computer.
Teenagers today tend to use their social media as a way to stay up-to-date with their family, friends, favorite music artist, or favorite celebrity. Those who are in college use their social media to simply stay in touch with their friends from high school.
Cooper said, “one of the biggest benefits of communicating through social media is being able to see what my friends are doing and what they are involved in, since we are all in college in separate places.”
Another benefit that college students get out of social media is being able to sell and buy books for a cheaper price than they would find in stores or online.
Most teens prefer using their social media for communicating over texting because of the benefits. Riley Brewington, a rising senior at Clinton High, said, “I believe it’s better using Snapchat than texting because with Snapchat you’re able to show your emotions through the picture rather than just texting someone and hoping they understand your tone.”
Brewington mentioned that you never know how someone is going to read the message you send; both parties can have two different interpretations of what is being said and could possibly cause problems.
Social media does have its perks when it comes to communicating with those who may be far away but what about when communicating with those who are right beside you? Nowadays, when entering most social settings, those who are socializing are also on their mobile device. Rather than looking up, most are looking down.
Meza mentioned, “Some people are completely incapable of carrying on a normal conversation or interacting with people in person because of the dependency on social media.”
She also said that many have become so obsessed with their phones that is hard to engage in meaningful conversations with those who mean the most to us.
Even when it comes to deciding who a person wants to talk to, social media has the potential to influence us.
Brewington stated, “Sometimes the way a person posts on social media can let you know how their personality may be or how your conversation with them will go.”
Social media has an impact on all of us in one way or another; whether its who we talk to, how much we actually talk to people, what event we plan on going to or even how much we know about what’s going on in the news. For teenagers and those in college, social media helps them find out what friends are doing, what the weather is going to be like while going to classes, and what jobs might be available.
Social media allows users to video chat with someone so they don’t have to interact in person, yet another plus for many younger users.
All those interviewed admitted that they use some form of social media throughout every day, if not all the time, at least regularly to check out what is going on with friends, family and what is happening in the news. Checking social media and being on smartphones, they said, has become part of each one’s daily routine.
That’s especially true, they noted, in the summer when everyone is out of school and when most of their friends are going on trips.
“We want to be able to see what they are doing during the summer and social media gives people the opportunity to go on the vacation as well,” Cooper said.