Online Social Media
The explosive spread of internet based computer technology in thelast two decades has created one of the most phenomenon aspects ofthe modern society, the online social media. The online social mediais an interaction platform through which people exchange ideas andinformation in a virtual community. In the modern society, theinternet and online social networking sites affects all facets ofhuman life (Turkle, 2012). It has becomes a major channels throughwhich individuals are able to create new friends and connect with oldfriends, classmates, former colleagues and family. It is also amajor channel through which business organizations are able to reachtheir customers. Consumers are also able to learn about what themarket is able to offer through the online social media. Although theonline media is mainly used by the youths and young adults, it has anindirect impact on the older generation. The advent of internet onthe mobile phones has increased the accessibility to online media inthe modern society (Allison, 2013). This paper looks at how theonline social media has become an important facet of the modernsociety. It also looks at online social media in reference topostmodernity, presentation of self and social class.
Online social media is a borderless and timeless communicationplatform which enables individuals to communicate with other personsall over the world. Through the online social networks such asTwitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Myspace, individuals are able toconnect other people around the world in the same profession, schoolof thought or age. This has created a new online cultural group inthe modern society. It is estimated that over seventy percent ofAmericans use some form of online social media. Although the onlinesocial media was initially computer based community, the increaseubiquity of mobile phones, mainly the emergence of internet enabledphones and smartphones has made the online social media a finger tapaway. As a result, individuals are able to access their online socialmedia accounts, update information or communicate with othersremotely all over the world. Statistics indicates that at least 40percent of mobile phone users use their cells phones to access onlinenetworking sites (Turkle, 2012).
The online social media has numerous impacts on the modern life.There is no doubt that life in the modern society would have beenvery different without the online social media. Nonetheless, bothpositive and negative impacts of the online communities have beenhighlighted. Some of the issues that have been raised against thesocial media include dependence and addiction. However, the bigquestion is whether the online media is displacing something moreimportant. Some sociologists have argued that the increaseddependency on online community may displace the more sociallyimportant offline networks. Additionally, there is a divergent viewon the impact of social media on interpersonal and social skills.Some studies have suggested that the expanded social circles improvethe social ties and social skills among online social media users. Onthe other hand, some scholars have argued that over indulgence ononline community disconnects an individual with the real offlineworld (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010).
The online social networks are the paramount postmodernity socialphenomenon. This is because it has been able to deconstruct otherhuman communication channels within a relatively short time. From apostmodernist point of view, the truth has many components ratherthan single ideas or things. Based on this understanding, the spreadof information and extent of borderless and timeless communicationand human interaction, the online social networks is typicallypostmodern (Turkle, 2012). The online platform has stripped humaninteraction to its base. All stories, revelation, gossips, news orintelligent comments has become substance of social mediainteractions. The platform has also democratized the media byallowing anybody from any part of the world to comment and contributeto any information released. Therefore, by breaking the traditionaland convection channels of human interactions, the internet basedsocial interactions is a depiction of postmodern thoughts. A verygood example is the use of the world friend in Facebook. This hasdeconstructed the meaning of a friend in the convectional humaninteractions. In the convectional human society, a friend is personan individual knows in person and is able to bond mutually with.However, in the online media, a friend is someone you are able toshare information with through the online platform. This means that afriend is someone you do not necessarily know psychically but withsimilarities in regard to information shared online (Turkle, 2012).
How people around us perceive us has always been a major concern toany rational being. As a result, presentation of self is a majorissue in the digital era. Today, people are judged depending on howthey present themselves in the online social media. For example,there is an emerging notion of social presence in the social mediawhile is determined by the number of friends and followers in thesocial media. Presentation of self in the social media also has a lotof impacts on the social standing of an individual or entity. Forexample, there has been emergence of professional online socialnetworks such as Linkedin where professionals are able to connectwith individuals from the same field. The presentation of self inthese social networks determines the perceived professional andsocial ethics. Additionally, there is an increased trend of humanresources department perusing through the online social interactionof potential candidates during selection and recruitment. How anindividual presents himself in the online platforms is thereforebecoming an important source of information on the integrity of anindividual (Christopher & Ariane, 2014).
It has been argued that the online social networks allow people fromall social classes in the society to interact. For example, citizensare able to follow their leaders on social media platforms such asFacebook and Twitter. On the other hand, the leaders, includingpresidents, are able to directly interact with individuals from allsocial classes. This has been made possible by the increasedaccessibility of internet all over the world. Although somemarginalized areas have no access to the internet and some illiterateindividuals have no basic knowledge necessary for onlineinteractions, the social networks have been able to provide a linkbetween all social classes in the modern society (David & Philip,2012).
In conclusion, the internet and online social media platform is amongthe most important facets of the modern society. It affects allaspects of human life in the modern times. While there are manysociological problems associated with it, it positive impacts on thesociety cannot be underestimated. The online social media platform iswith no doubts the postmodernity social phenomenon. In addition todeconstructing the social classes which have existed in humansocieties, presentation of self in the social media is an importantemerging trend.
Allison, C. (2013).Sociology in the age of the Internet,Maidenhead: Open Univ. Press.
Christopher, J. S. & Ariane, H. (2014). The public sociologydebate: ethics and engagement, Vancouver: UBC Press.
David, P. & Philip, Y. (2012). Online public relations: apractical guide to developing an online strategy in the world ofsocial media, Philadelphia: Kogan Page.
Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). “Users of the world,unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media”. Businesshorizons, 53(1), 59-68.
Turkle, S. (2012). Alone together: Why we expect more fromtechnology and less from each other. New York, NY: Basic Books.