Monday, September 9, 2013

Week 2 - Social Media: Necessity or Liability?

Social media has become a great part of our lives in the modern days. Ever since the emergence of social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, large numbers adolescents and even young working adults have been immersed into these cyber places. We are now living in the Facebook age. There are two arguments as to whether this has become a necessity or a liability to us. In the following paragraphs, I will seek to explain to you my views on both ends and which one I am inclined towards.

A Necessity?

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
This theory posits that people are motivated to achieve certain needs. When one need is fulfilled, a person seeks to fulfil the next one. Each need has to be met in order for people to move up to the next stage. In image 2.0, the 5 stage model represents the order of needs to be met.

Image 2.0

The most basic need is physiological needs (e.g., survival through food, water, shelter, sleep), followed by safety needs (e.g. protection from elements, law, stability), social needs (e.g. a sense of belonging to family and friends, love, affections, relationships), esteem needs (a relatively moderate self-esteem, independence, mastery) and lastly self-actualisation (realising personal potential, self-fulfilment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences).

Zooming in on social needs
With the rise in popularity in social media, engaging in social media is the fastest, most efficient solution to meeting people's social need. Facebook is the one of the most popular go-to site for millions of adolescents and young adults because that is where their friends interact in high frequency and intensity.  

A Liability?
However, critics like myself argue that social media has become more of a liability rather than a necessity in the 21st Century. Instead of meeting social needs, I feel that social media sites, namely Facebook and Twitter, have caused social isolation instead! People spend more time on Facebook, checking for updates and notifications, than on having meaningful face-to-face interaction. The idea where they have more than a hundred friends viewing their status or tweets helps them to feel popular, wanted and needed but in reality, real friendships are breaking up. We slowly lose our natural sense of relation, not knowing how to relate to one another face-to-face, being awkward with our body language and facial expressions after being accustomed to computer-mediated communication and hiding behind our screens. We become socially inept in person… Friendships and relationships become more awkward. 

The following video rightfully, completely, and beautifully explains loneliness due to the pervasive power of social media.
For all of us who are so connected at the expense of having meaningful sincere conversations:

The Innovation of Loneliness

So what do YOU think? Is social media really helping you meet your social needs? Or is the comfort that social media gives illusory? Popcorn your thoughts and comments into the comments section below! 

P.S. No H8 (;

1 comment:

  1. Hmm, I personally feel that I cannot give a one-side answer, i.e yes it does or not it doesn't help my needs. After all, whether one sees their needs as fulfilled is completely subjective. Person A may feel that chatting online with a loved one fulfils the social need but Person B may not feel their social needs can be accomplished the same way. I think the most important thing is to access whether social media is doing it for you and you alone. If it does help, then go for it! And if it doesn't, then well, obviously you'll have to find some other outlet! :)

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