THE HINDRANCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA 7
PHI103: Informal Logic (ACL1636F)
Instructor Eric Maass
September 5, 2016
Social media has become an integral part of people’s lives. People,especially the younger generation, are spending a substantial amountof their time online. A survey that investigated the use of socialmedia by Americans revealed that 18-24-year-olds receive and sendapproximately 109.5 text messages every day(Drussell, 2012). Globally, an estimated 713 millionindividuals aged 15 years and above which represent 14% of the globalpopulation use the internet to connect with family members, friends,and acquaintances(Drussell, 2012). While social media may aid a person to build anetwork of friends as the number of people one can meet online islimitless, it has devastating effects on interpersonal relationships.Social media hampers face-to-face communication, discourages theformation of strong bonds between people and limit the development ofverbal and conflict resolution skills. For these reasons, this paperasserts that social media hinder interpersonal relationships.
Main argument: Social media hampers interpersonal relationships
Premise 1: Social media discourages face-to-face communications.
Premise 2: It prevents the formation of strong bonds between people.
Premise 3: Social media impedes the development of verbal skills.
Premise 4: It encourages communication between people with similarviewpoints
Conclusion: Therefore, social media hinders interpersonalrelationships.
The above argument is deductive because the conclusion follows thepremises seamlessly. It means that if all the premises are found tobe true, the conclusion becomes correct automatically. The argumentis also deductive because all the premises provide generalinformation but which is applied in a specific context as seen in theconclusion. On this note, the potential of social media to hinderface-to-face communication, prevent the development of verbal skills,and hamper the formation of strong bonds between people makes itunfavorable for interpersonal relationships
First, social media discourages face-to-face communication.Over the last several decades, there has been a shift in how peoplecommunicate with others. Instead of face-to-face interaction, socialmedia encourages technology-mediated communications such as the useof text messages and emails. Consequently, these technology-mediatedcommunications culminate in people developing social anxiety(Brown, 2013). Besides,research shows that Americans spend more time interacting with theirfriends, family members and acquaintances online, compared to offline(Brown,2013). People even prefer socializing online or throughtext messages to in person conversations.
Apart from hindering face-to-face communication, social mediaprevents the formation of strong bonds between people. Socialnetworking sites do not give room for the participant to read eachother`s emotions (Keller, 2013). Also, it is easy to discern sinceresympathies and empathies during face-to-face communication as opposedto when social networking sites are involved. According to Sponcil& Gitimu (2013), conversations in the absence of mobile devicesyield higher levels of emphatic concerns. The sharingof emotions aids people to connect. Besides, people are more likelyto lie about their accomplishments on social media to impress theirnewly found friends compared to when holding offline conversations.This means that instead of connecting, social media encourages peopleto flaunt or lie about their identity. Strong bonds between peoplecan only be formed through honesty and trust two elements that arehard to come by during social media communications.
Social media hampers the development of verbal skills. It encouragesthe use of a relatively smaller variety of words. This is because ofthe use of short forms, pictures, images, and simple sentence(Keller, 2013). Besides, it encourages the violation of grammarrules, especially when involving friends. This prevents a person frombecoming eloquent or fluid with language when articulating his/herissues.
Social media may hinder people from developing their social skills.When two people engage in face-to-face communication, messages areconveyed through verbal and nonverbal cues. Nonverbal communicationsinclude tone of voice, posture, space between individuals, eyecontact, and facial expression (Keller, 2013).
Besides hampering the development of verbal skills, social networkingsites encourage conversations between people with similarperspectives. According to Keller (2013), social media promote aculture where if one does not agree with what others have to say,he/she has an option of befriending them. This strategy is manifestedduring conflict resolutions when people prefer avoiding conversationsthat may make them feel uncomfortable(Drussell, 2012).
On the other hand, some people argue that social media improves one’sinterpersonal skills as it enables people to connect not only withfamily members but also with people across the world. Through socialnetworking sites, one gets a chance to socialize with a wider networkof people each with specific communication needs. For example, onecan be a member of a Facebook page that brings together professionalsin a particular field. At the same time, one can have a friendlyconversation with an acquaintance about topics such as sports,hobbies, or even politics. As such, social media platforms encourageparticipants to be knowledgeable and flexible skills that areessential in interpersonal relationships. Besides, when compared toface-to-face communication, the number of friends and acquaintancesthat one can communicate with through social networking sites islimitless. Each day, one gets to practice their interpersonal skillsby meeting new people and holding meaningful communications. According to Sponcil& Gitimu (2013), social media platforms provide anopportunity for expanding social networks resulting in enhancedmeaningful relationships, social abilities, social support,self-confidence, and social skills. According to Sponcil& Gitimu (2013), socially fearful individuals mayuse social networking sites as opportunities to rehearse socialbehaviors as well as communication skills that may help improve theiroffline or face-to-face communications. Some people also argue thata person is more likely to connect more with an individual he/shemeets online compared to offline. This is because, unlike face toface communication, socializing in social media platforms encouragespeople to share their innermost secrets without fear of being judged(Keller, 2013). As such, social media relationships are more likelyto be stronger compared to the offline ones as the latter comprises ahigher level of trust.
In rebuttal, when it comes to interpersonal relationships, qualitysurpasses quantity. The presence of mobile devices has detrimentaleffects on connections, closeness and the quality of conversations,particularly when people are engaged in personally meaningfuldiscussions (Sponcil & Gitimu, 2013). Having a hundredacquaintances on one’s social media does not mean that a person canget intimate with each one of them. This means that the argumentadvanced by those who think social media builds and strengtheninterpersonal relationships is ill-informed. Besides, the morefriends one has on the internet, the less time one has to connectwith each one of them.
On the other hand, when it comes to face-to-face communications, onedoes not have to spend an hour with his/her offline friends toconnect or realize that the other person is going through a hardtime. As Keller (2013) says “while people may be socializing morethrough the social media platform, they may not be necessarily bebuilding relationships as strongly.” Besides, the argument thatpeople form deeper relationships with their online acquaintances thanoffline friends is misconstrued. It is true that people prefer toconfide in their online friends, but this should not be confused withtrust. When one is holding an online conversation, trust istechnology-generated compared to offline discussions where people`sdesire to keep secrets is driven by the participants` loyalty totheir each other.
In conclusion,social media has taken over every aspect of human life, particularlyin the realm of interpersonal communications. Social media hasnumerous benefits such as breaking the geographical barrier becauseit allows people who are far apart to hold meaningful conversations.Consequently, people’s network of friends has increaseddrastically. As such, some people maintain that social media promotesinterpersonal communications, particularly for the introverts and theshy. On the side, social networking sites have detrimental effects oninterpersonal communications. This is because they discourageface-to-face communication. Today, instead of face-to-facecommunications, many people, especially the Millennials, prefer tochat through the various social media platforms. Besides, itdiscourages bonding as it does not allow people to read each other’semotions during conversations. Social media tend to encourage the useof informal language which affects people social skills in offlineconversations. It is for these reasons that I assert that socialmedia hinders interpersonal relationships. Instead of depending onsocial media to connect and socialize, I would recommend that peopleput more effort in building strong offline relationships.
Brown, C.(2013). Are we becoming more Socially Awkward? An analysis of therelationship between technological communication use and socialskills in college students (Doctoral dissertation).Accessed on October 1, 2016.http://digitalcommons.conncoll.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1030&context=psychhp
Drussell, J.(2012). Social networking and interpersonal communication andconflict resolution skills among college freshmen (MastersDissertation). Accessed on October 1, 2016.http://sophia.stkate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1021&context=msw_papers
Keller, M. (2013). Social media and interpersonal communication.Social media today 12(3)
Sponcil, M.,& Gitimu, P. (2013). Use of social media by college students:Relationship to communication and self-concept. Journalof Technology Research, 4,1.