Yik Yak? Ello? Kleek?
Chances are you have never heard of these emerging social media apps, but I bet your younger pals have! Social media is integrated in almost every single aspect of our lives. You can see the call to tweet during your favorite reality TV show, the prompt to like your favorite stores Facebook page while in the fitting room, and the request to follow your favorite blogger on their Snapchat while trolling through their recent YouTube video. And because of this seamless integration, it’s not accepted but rather seen as a disruption or a distraction from the real world by older generations.
The call to action for social media usage is everywhere, but is it interpreted as a distraction or a helpful guide for integration within your generation?
Talking Bout The Generations
Well, I guess I should start with what generation I have was birthed into. I was born during the rise of mass communication from parents of the baby boom era, making me a Gen Y or Millennial baby. Us millennials tend to get a bad rap because we have become so consumed with the digital world and social media that we tend to hide behind it. The population likes to define my generation with social media and the use of digital communication, but I believe they have just begun to skim the surface at what makes us unique.
Today in the news, people are citing our fixation with social media as a major downfall and disappointment for my generation. We are considered narcissistic because we take “selfies” or labeled as rebels because we continue to challenge the system. But here is something to consider, each generation before the next developed different forms of communication that were not initially accepted.
The generation before mine was able to pioneer the modern use of the Internet with skeptics doubting what kind of effect and to what extent it would actually be able to work. An article published in 1995 from Newsweek was just one of many critics to voice their opinion about the internet. The generation before them were able to develop the telephone leaving critics questioning what this would mean for future communication. Any breakthrough innovation will have its detractors and as history shows, social media is no exception.
Paths to Communication
Social media has just begun to pave the way for an entirely new form of communication and because it is virtual communication, past generations continue to reject the idea.
Although face-to-face communication skills have begun to lack due to social media, our overall communication has become vast and broad because of the people we can reach. It has become a comforting tool for people because it allows them to find others out there with the same interests or issues that they might have. Something as simple as the development of the “hashtag” has made it possible for people to discuss and interact with others around the world about the same topic.
Millennials are cited as the most educated and cultured generation because we have the world at our fingertips. We are able to have news and politics pushed to us on multiple platforms making it easier for us to engage with what’s happening in the world. 88% of millennials that participated in a 2015 research study from The American Press Institute said they primarily use Facebook to find their news. Not only does social media allow millennials to engage in the news, it allows them to form their own personal opinion and ideas because they have many influences all at once. As opposed to past generations where your values and ideas usually came from your parents, millennials are able to develop their own ideas.
The use of social media has also made it possible for younger generations to re-engage in politics. This year’s political race has been so prevalent in the media and it’s hard to ignore every defining detail. Whether you’re seeing snapchats newest campaign filter or stumbling across a Buzzfeed article discussing the latest politician’s outlandish comments, social media has become the driving force for engagement.
The fact of the matter is; social media can be beneficial or detrimental to our population. Like almost anything, there are pros and cons but we should choose to find the value in social media and its benefits. Generations to come will be re-defining communication and add more innovative elements to the way we talk to others, it’s how we use and accept these ideas that make it satisfactory.