Problems in Social Media

TIL if social media bad or is it good to us. The answer is no one knows. But one thing is for sure – there are problems with it.

For the past decade, our use in social media increased to a point where it entangles into our everyday lives. Not too long ago, mailing your friends was still relevant. Now it’s all about instant messaging, Facetime and DMs (direct messaging).

According to a reading from my Social Media class I had this Tuesday, Mohsin estimated that 45% of the population uses social media 90% of which are millennials like me and probably you too. My group and the class raised a bunch of interesting opinions on what we think about the Cigna Study on loneliness among millennials. I’ll talk about that later.

I learnt a new term in class – dialectics. Or as Heraclitus said “Everything flows”. Which seems all philosophical and airy but it just describes the way the world connects together and influence each other. Our prof raised a couple of examples in class using real life examples which helped me a lot. For example in Facebook, there used to be only “Likes”. After a while, users in Facebook wanted to have a dislike functions. The creators of Facebook however only wanted the”Like” function. So they compromised and developed the “Reactions” function we have now.

I also learnt the rest of Internet History – Web 2.0. It all started with the dotcom bubble ard 1999 – 2000. Everyone was so hyped about the rise of the Internet, businesses and organisations invested recklessly into little tech companies. These little tech companies showed no promise, no progress and no plan on succeeding. The bubble grew and popped. After the bubble, the forerunner of Google and its founders started reforming the formula of organizing information in search engine. Google’s uprising brought new tech startups and birthed the Web 2.0 we are using right now. Web 2.0’s main difference with its predecessor is the relationship between users and creators. Users and creators contribute together to form Web 2.0 rather than just creators in Web 1.0.

One lecture slide really picked my interest – will there be another crash ? Another bubble? Is web 2.0 going to fail? I have a feeling it will. Social media trends are changing as always. We are more aware of the issues tech companies and social media companies raise (hint: it rhymes with secrecy) Users are being more active, they contribute more and more to content and the internet in whole. Facebook is dying and Linkedin became an assignment for business students and VR isn’t as interesting anymore. So when will it crash? I don’t know, but I’m sure it’s coming soon. Whether its a crash in investing in techs like VR and AI (like seriously its been going on for years and there’s not much improvements and its not mainstream) or maybe social media is going to transform into a new Web 3.0 where it becomes a necessity for everyone and not profitable anymore, something is going to happen in the next decade.

Back to social media, the good and the bad. We’re familiar with the benefits – convenience, efficiency, effectiveness and such. But the problems are where it gets messy. Arguments and debates went on and on ever since the birth of social media – Facebook’s uprising, our increased dependency on it, and growing worries and problems it has on our daily lives. The Cigna study directs us to one major problem we have as a millennial. Most of us are born digital natives, 90% of use social media, we are the most connected generation but our levels of loneliness are the highest. So why? A classmate raised an interesting comment – maybe its a trend. A trend where people think its cool to say they don’t have friends or they are loners. I can see why she said that. It makes sense. We all know the person who just likes to be called a loner or a lone wolf. I also think it could be related to how we consider people as close friends. Compared to baby boomers, what is the difference? Maybe for them a close friend is someone you see on a regular basis, but for millennials it could be someone you share everything with even if you never met in real life. If the survey’s definition favors baby boomers, then no shit millennials are lonely.

One thing is for sure though, we are the most connected generation, and the generation after us will be too. No one can say what’s going to happen, but social media and technology will only be more and more intertwined in our lives. As with everything else, I don’t think the problem lies on the tool itself, it lies on how we use it and how we let it affect us. Everything flows in this world, just got to learn how to control it in our favor.

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