First, came search engines. Then, came the creation of myspace and facebook. Soon after, twitter became popular. It seems like we depend on search engines for research and we depend on the social media sites to stay or become connected to others.
In the past, people had to go to the library and check out books to do research. In the past, people depended on the phone or random chance to keep in touch. What the heck. People even sent snail mail back then.
What affect does this have on society? A lot of things. Here are three things I've noticed.
- People are having a harder time communicating in person. Have you noticed that a few of your 'friends' on facebook constantly update their facebooks and have hundreds of friends? Most likely, those are the ones that are depressed and lonely. They don't know how to connect with other people but yet want human interaction. It's become harder for people to have a normal conversation in person now that there's the internet. There's this one case I heard of when two people met online through instant messaging. They agreed to meet in person one day. They tried talking but were unable to. They got on their computers and were able to talk that way.
- The use of search engines, twitter and other social networking sites have an affect on the writing skills of the younger generation.
- One writing skill that is greatly affected is something as simple as spelling and punctuation. There are things called spell check and grammar check that people can use to look for errors in their papers. People are starting to forget how to spell and punctuate!
- Another reason why there are spelling and punctuation errors is the use of internet language, especially in twitter and instant messaging. The younger generation is generally used to typing things such as "lol", "wat", "how r u?", and "y?". Those are just a few examples but you guys get the gist of it. It shows up in their papers and writing and it gets mixed up.
- Twitter's 140 character limit is limiting the user's cognitive function. Instead of expressing themselves with how many words they want, they are limited to 140 characters. How can one express their whole thoughts in such a small space.
- The use of search engines make it easier for students to plagiarize other people's works. There have been cases in which students are A students and graduate with honors while taking AP classes. But, their work was not their own.
- The use of the kindle and search engines make it harder for students to synthesize information. Before, students could have many books spread out on a topic they are researching and read what the authors have said. They could think and synthesize the information to make sense of it. If they want to go back to remember what the author has said, they can go back and forth between the books. With the kindle, it's harder.
- As evidence, my history professor says that he has seen the writing abilities of his students go down as the years have passed. That's saying something, when he's been a professor for at least 15 years.
- The social media and the web has an impact on our health. Many of us are now sitting in front of computers instead of going out and exercising. We're becoming more sedentary. It'll impact our heart health and our weight. However, there is evidence that suggests that reading health articles, calorie counter apps, support groups, pininterest (pinning healthy recipes and fun exercises) can motivate others to move more. It depends on the individual but most likely, people are sitting in front of the computer all day.
The social media and the web is like a double edged sword. It's a curse and a blessing. It makes our lives easier but it can also have an impact on your relationships and health.
Now, here's two questions for you.
How often do you go online?
What do you mainly use the web for?