The rise of the Internet and Social Media have greatly impacted us as a society; for the better and for the worst.
The aspects of Social Media and the Internet that may tear us apart as a society include the fact that we have less face-to-face interactions in our every day lives. Society has turned to different new technologies as a huge medium of communication including cell phones, texting, emailing, etc.
The newspaper industry has greatly suffered at the hands of the Internet and classifieds sites such as Craigslist. Print newspaper subscriptions and print advertisements have always been the main source of revenue for newspaper companies. Now that many articles are posted online, many people are unsubscribing from print newspapers. According to this New York Times blog article, the New York Times Company saw it’s stock decline by 54% from 2004 to 2008 as people began to read more news articles online and the company began to struggle. As the Internet gains popularity, the newspaper industry may continue to deteriorate.
Social Media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have led way to a new “Internet society” in which people often bully others while hiding behind their computer screen. Cyberbullying has emerged as a huge problem in society because of these Social Media sites. The Simon Wiesenthal Center reports that online terror and hate on Social Media websites is on the rise with a 30% increase from last year. Social Media encourages hate and bullying.
In the scheme of things, the negative impacts that the Internet and Social Media have had on our society do not outweigh the positives.
The Internet is very useful; children learn from online games and interactive homework assignments, people are kept up to date with breaking news on sites such as Google News, investors can keep track of stocks, etc.
Although the Internet has hurt the newspaper industry, we see these companies conforming to the new “Internet society” and its demands. According The Guardian, since the New York Times paywall was activated in March, it was announced that it more than doubled the number of paid subscribers to 250,000. Overall, the paper has more than 1 million digital subscribers. It is projected that the paywall will be an overall success, and allow Newspaper companies to become more competitive in the journalism industry.
Social Media sites have introduced some negatives to society but at the same time, have introduced a number of positives. These sites have allowed people to keep in touch easily. Before Social Media, keeping in touch and catching up with old classmates or coworkers was difficult if not impossible. Before Social Media, if someone changed their phone number or address, it was difficult to keep in contact with them. Now, thanks to social media, keeping in touch with an acquaintance is as easy as a “Friend Request.”
It is obvious that there are many positive and negative aspects of the Internet and Social Media. As a society, we have evolved and continue to evolve as the Internet becomes a more important aspect of society. All in all, I believe that the Internet and Social Media have contributed to our society as a whole, and will continue to bring us together in the future.