Changing Role of Media in Social Life

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The emergence of social media has changed the course of history. Many believe that the Internet has aided the democratization of information; anybody can post anything on the Internet and have it heard. The Internet has broken down artificial barriers such as geographical borders and socioeconomic divides and has aided in forming a global community, seamless marketplaces, and common customers.

Role of Media in Social Life

The media plays a significant role in shaping our social lives and how we interact. Previously, media was primarily consumed through traditional television, radio, and print platforms. However, with the proliferation of the internet and social media, the media landscape has changed dramatically, and the role of media in our social lives has also evolved.

Domains of Impact

The social impact of media has been observed in four main domains.

Changing Ways of Interaction

One major change in social interaction is the shift towards online and digital communication. The internet and social media have provided new ways to connect and share information, ideas, and experiences. For example, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow people to create profiles, share content, and connect with friends and strangers worldwide. These platforms have also provided new opportunities for individuals and organizations to reach and engage with large audiences.

However, there is a concern about the creation of a false sense of self on these platforms, which is then reinforced through the validation one gets. The adolescent population, still in a crucial and malleable stage of development, tends to get drawn to these platforms as they provide escapism from their own complicated lives. This may significantly impact their identity and self-concept. Research has found that social media use in adolescents is associated with low self-esteem and self-worth.

The anonymity of these platforms can be inviting for those who find face-to-face interaction challenging. However, there is a risk of cyberbullying and further isolation that comes with investing too much in this artificial reality. Researchers have found that communication with strangers in chat rooms increased feelings of isolation and dejection and decreased companionship.

Increasing the Amount of Content to Consume

Another change in the role of media in social life is the increase in the amount of content available to consume. The internet has made it easier for people to access and share almost unlimited information and entertainment. This has led to a proliferation of content, including news articles, videos, podcasts, and more, which can be accessed anytime, anywhere. This has led to concerns about fractured attention spans being a symptom of regular social media use. A parallel issue is the concern over data privacy.

Through the terms and conditions listed by these websites, one finds an attempt to gather social media users’ data and sell it to third parties keen on getting their products to the world. The problem is that the average user may need to be more aware of this privacy breach and may not actively moderate what they share on these platforms. This issue will be discussed in greater detail in the following paragraphs.

Dwindling Privacy

The issue of data privacy in social media has gained increasing attention in recent years as people have become more aware of the amount of personal information collected and shared online. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter often collect vast amounts of data on their users, including information about their activities, interests, and connections. This data is used to personalize the user experience and target ads to specific audiences.

However, there are several concerns about how social media companies handle data privacy. One concern is that users may not be fully aware of the extent of the data that is being collected and how it is being used. This can make understanding the potential risks of sharing personal information online difficult.

Another concern is that social media companies may not have adequate safeguards to protect user data from unauthorized access. There have been numerous instances of data breaches and other security lapses that have exposed user data to potential misuse or abuse. In addition, there are concerns about how social media companies use data for targeted advertising. Some argue that these companies have too much control over the information presented to users and can create a biased or distorted view of the world.

This phenomenon of exposure to a limited range of viewpoints, often associated with social media, can contribute to the formation of echo chambers. People tend to follow and engage with accounts that align with their beliefs and views. The problem with echo chambers is that they can contribute to the polarisation of society by limiting exposure to alternative viewpoints. This can make it difficult for people to understand the perspectives of others and hinder the exchange of ideas and the ability to find common ground.

People exposed only to information that aligns with their beliefs may be more likely to accept and believe false or misleading information. This can lead to the spread of misinformation and undermine the credibility of news and other sources of information. In addition, echo chambers can contribute to the formation of extremist views, as people may be more likely to encounter and engage with extreme or fringe viewpoints. This can increase the risk of radicalization and seriously affect individuals and society.

Conclusion

The media has played a significant role in shaping our social lives and how we interact. The shift towards online and digital platforms and the increased amount of content to consume have created new opportunities for connection and engagement. However, these changes have also raised concerns about their impact on individuals and society.

Vijay GarG
Retired Principal
Educational columnist, Malout

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