New Media: Beneficial or Detrimental?

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Is new media a great thing for society, or is it really harmful to society?  This is a debate that I have come across in more than one class and there seems to be no definitive answer. It has come up in communication courses, writing courses, and even in spanish class.

For the people who are pro new media, they feel, that the world is essentially at their fingertips.  With new media, people can communicate within seconds  through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, E-mail and so on.  This has led to a whole new world for business and communications.  Businesses, newspapers, and publicists can now reach a mass audience within moments and in return get almost instantaneous feedback.  Netflix, for example recently decided not to go through with an announced business decision because there was public outcry on Twitter almost instantly.

ImageCommunication is instantaneous and everything comes with instant gratification.  Skype, Facetime, and texting all allow people to stay in contact no matter their location in the world; college students can stay in touch with their high school friend halfway across the country.  Phone calls have become obsolete in a manner of speaking.  Instead of calling someone to catch up, normally people will just text that person or check the person’s Facebook and Twitter to stay updated as to the going-ons of the person’s life.

Social media has made networking a lot easier.  Linkedin especially allows for people keep track of all their networking relationships and in turn can lead them to obtaining a job where they might have struggled to get noticed without the aid and management that comes with the use of Linkedin

People are able to search for information with a few words typed into their cell phones no matter where they are at the moment.  Are these really benefits though?

People opposed to new media don’t think so.  People who oppose new media think that people have become too used to instant gratification and can no longer think for themselves the way that they used to.  They fear that there is so much media out there that no only is instant gratification a problem, but getting through the noise and actually reaching someone to gain their attention has become a struggle.

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Ellen Degeneres has recently spoken about multi-tasking on her show while demonstrating just how distracted people are trying to focus on more than one thing at a time. To see the full clip click on the photo.

People no longer turn their focus to only one subject but instead multi-task while doing things such as texting, checking Facebook, and watching television all at once.

Another problem that many people have with the Internet is privacy.  I have a professor for instance who feels that the current college generation and all those that follow have no concept of privacy.  Instead, everyone’s information and lives are on the Internet for everyone to see, whether they want people to or not.  Many teenagers now are said to have no understanding of what it means to keep their social lives private, they have grown up posting their life on the Internet through photos, tweets, and blogs.

Dishonesty is another problem that has arisen with new media, the Internet specifically.  As easy as it is to find information about people online, it is also easy for people create an alter ego online unbeknownst to anyone other than themselves.  Think of the recent scandal with Manti Te’o and his “girlfriend”.  Where the joke used to once be that something must be true because you read about it, the joke is now that something must be true because it was on the Internet.

What side are you on?

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