Is social media more harmful than helpful to society?

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Is social media more harmful than helpful to society?

Oct 02, 2018

Erica Schenk

Social media is the worldwide equalizer for the success of any individual based on his grit and tenacity. Anyone may create a GoFundMe and build a brand from nothingness. You can receive emotional support from millions of strangers which can affect you positively in your physical life. Through social you can create communities of similarly minded people and help spread the word about whichever cause you support. Lastly, it's fun! We enjoy seeing celebrities and beautiful people doing interesting things that we can vicariously experience. Viewers enjoy the drama of the Kardashians and the gross videos of Dr. Pimple Popper. We experience things and people whom we would never otherwise hear about.

Yet social sites also create a disparity between the world who can afford social media and the world who has never even heard of it. As social media users, we are less able to empathize with a third world country that has limited access to fresh water and electricity because we can't even imagine going without updating our status online. To take it away from this extreme disparity, we see a difference between the average social media user and the wealthy user. lt is expensive to be successful on any social media platform. Between the emotional payment of putting your life on stage, as well as the make-up, clothes, time commitment, sourcing photography, and sets influencers need to heavily invest. What viewers see from influencers and celebrities isn't their real life, it's a fairy tale they tell to entertain and fascinate. These tales in turn make us believe our lives are inferior and create a sense of unfulfillment that leads to depression and especially with female body dysmorphia.

Social media also creates a political bubble around each of us. These sites are designed to show us what we want to see, what we react to. Accordingly, if you are heavily Republican it won't dare show you the other side of the issue, because it knows you won't click through. This causes political disparity between the parties furthering the difficulty of working together. These bubbles also perpetuate fear. We repost what shocks us, including rapes, murders, robberies, anything shocking.

All together there is a sense of tension created by social media that previously was not there. I along with many other people my age, wonder what life was like before social media. We will most likely never find out, unless we venture to be among the hermits.

Erica Schenk, a student in Jon Pfeiffer's Fall 2018 Media Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the above essay in response to the following question:Is social media more harmful than helpful to society? Discuss the good and the bad.

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