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Social Media: Helpful or Hindrance

Social media is the standard in today’s society in both business and personal communication. The technology created with great intention may bring more disadvantages than advantages. As young adults, we need to lead the charge of awareness as we become contributing members of society.

Photo by Stacy Rohan

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Depression among younger generations today has become wide spread, but why? Studies show that teens who spend five hours or more on their phones each day are twice as likely to develop depressive symptoms.

Social media is advertised as a connection between communities, but there are disadvantages to the technology that never forgets.

At a young age, social media is a tool to brag to friends about weekend plans, edit our flaws through filters and reach as many people as possible, even if we compromise ourselves in the process.

Social media convinces everyone they are famous in their own rights, and everyone needs to hear what their plans for the day are, but not everyone wants to know what you’re eating for dinner.

Social media has outgrown its original intention, and has become dangerous for teens to post things without thinking or asking what is OK.

Teenagers forget that posts never go away; the decision-making part of our brains isn’t developed until we are 21, and yet many years before that age we are handed devices that could alter our future.

Too often teens don’ts realize a status update riddled with profanity, posted at a time of confusion, has the potential to eliminate them from consideration for a position, dream job, promotion, or even acceptance into the school of their dreams.

Our digital footprint is taken into consideration in all aspects of life.

Colleges have reported that social media can make a big difference in the admissions process.

In 2013, admissions staff from Bowdoin College, a private university in Maine, talked of a high school senior who tweeted obscenities during her visit to the campus. In turn, her application was dismissed.

Other social media platforms make empty promises to users. Snapchat promises temporary posts, but no one reads the fine print in their agreement that tells users all pictures taken in the app can disappear from a friend’s phone, but they will remain on Snapchat’s servers.

Everything lasts forever, as opposed to our parents’ mistakes, which we will never know about because they didn’t have the opportunity to post it for the world to see.

On the other hand, social media does have its advantages in the workforce, as well as a networking tool.

Social media has found its niche in advertising and public relations due its ability to reach many demographics.

It’s a great tool to reach younger generations tied down by their cell phones, enabling them to find information through most news sources and broadcasted media.

As a networking tool, social media serves its original purpose, to connect others and keep them in constant contact.

In business today, it’s more important than ever to build relationships with every demographic.

Through social media, people build bridges and create a community whose members may one day cross paths with them in a work environment.

Though social media can be used as a tool in business, it can also demolish societal standards of communication.

Terms such as “text talk” and “keyboard courage” generate habits in our speech. These terms define the grave dangers of social media. Keyboard courage talks about the human habit of waiting to hide behind a screen to say hurtful words instead of having self-control in a personal conversation.

This habit causes problems physiologically for the typer and the reader.

Text talk, on the other hand, is a term that defines the inability to differentiate between the language used in a face-to-face conversation and a texting conversation.

Face-to-face communication is seldom the norm for younger generations, failing to prepare them for endeavors involving many types of interpersonal communication.

Society requires communication skills in interviews, collaborative spaces and as a factor in most career paths, but too often younger generations are failing to realize the importance of strength in their communication.

Social media can still serve its original purpose, but its flaws have a major effect on society.

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Sarah Broyles

Sarah Broyles

Sarah Broyles is a staff journalist for MBU Timeline. Sarah is a public relations major. The St. Louis native currently works for her family business, Etiquette Saint Louis, and is a staff instructor for the National Cheerleaders Association. After graduating she plans to work in corporate public relations and continue to use words to make an impact in society.

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DID YOU KNOW?
   
Here are some interesting facts about MBU Timeline, the student news network of Missouri Baptist University.
   
*The WordPress site has been up since late-fall 2013. We average about 3,000 sessions and about 5,000 pageviews per month.
   
*Our stories and galleries get as few as 40 or 50 hits, or as many as 8,000 hits.
   
*We have readers in every state and 93 countries around the world. We have several readers in Brazil, the United Kingdom, India and Australia.
   
*Most of our readers are in Missouri, followed by Illinois, California and Texas.
   
*We do not accept advertising as we are a not-for-profit online newsmagazine.
   
*Our mission statement is: MBU Timeline is the student news network of Missouri Baptist University, a private Christian university that embraces the essential core value of “social change through service and leadership.”
   
*The Bible verse that drives our mission is 2 Timothy 2:15 (Worldwide English Version): “Tell the true message in the right way.”
   
*We welcome contributors from all walks of MBU life, regardless of your major. Contact us at: mbutimeline@mobap.edu.