The social media revolution has changed the way we all use the Internet. But more importantly, it has changed the way many of us communicate with each other.
The likes of Facebook and Twitter have, in many cases, led to a decline in the use of other means of communication, such as the telephone, email and SMS text messaging. However, does this really mean we are more social?
Or, like many people believe, does it mean we are creating a world where people are less likely to talk and socialise in person?
There was a time when people would invite friends over for tedious, post-holiday photo-viewing sessions. Endless piles of printed photos would be handed around, and contrived smiles would be painted on as hundreds of very similar snaps were passed from person to person in a scene reminiscent of ‘pass the parcel’.
However, people can now dispense with these pleasantries and post photos directly on their Facebook page. Everybody gets to see them, and no one is forced to endure a whole night of photo-based purgatory.
THE END OF PHONE CALLS
There is an argument that suggests Facebook and other social network sites actually allow people to see each other more often. In the days of the telephone, someone would have to devote at least ten minutes to a call just to ask someone out to dinner or for a quick drink.
The pleasantries and ‘catch-ups’ demanded by social convention take time; so much time, that people are often inclined to put phone calls off indefinitely. Social media is a way of constantly communicating the important aspects of your life.
Then, when it’s time to arrange a night out or a large social gathering, it’s merely a matter of a quick message to an entire group of friends.
Contrary to popular belief, social media is not just a way of avoiding face-to-face contact with friends and family. Used correctly, it can actually allow people to stay in touch when they might otherwise simple drift apart.