In the contemporary world obsessed with technologies, the nature of communication has changed significantly. It is no longer necessary to leave one’s apartment to meet friends or go to another country to speak to a business partner. The Internet offers a unique means of communication, which is flexible, fast, and accessible to everybody (Tardanico, 2012). However, some people question the value of virtual communication and argue that real-life relationships are much more humane, transparent, and fulfilling (Sarkar et al., 2015). In this essay, I argue that both means of communication have their pros and cons and that it is important to find a balance between the virtual reality and face-to-face contact.
The first and the most important aim of communication is to build relationships. People communicate to find friends, study, work, and entertain themselves. Social media perfectly fit for these purposes because it is a wonderful platform that unites people of different nationalities, ages, genders, social groups, etc. One can use social media websites to connect with friends, find a job, take educational courses, etc. It has never been so easy to write or call someone located far away, so communication via social media is fast and convenient. However, it is believed that excessive reliance on social media can lead to stress and inability to perceive people’s emotions (Pantic, 2014). From this perspective, face-to-face communication is more effective because it is based on real-life emotions and interaction that cannot occur in the virtual reality. It is easier to build relationships in real life because one can see other person’s emotions and perceive the slightest changes in the mood that cannot be conveyed through online communication.
Another aim of communication is to build a sense of belongingness to a community. Everybody wants to feel part of a group because it gives a feeling of security and stability. Social media help people construct their identities within a particular community. It is possible to choose friends you want to communicate with and maintain relationships with like-minded people. However, some scholars suggest that social media have undermined a sense of individuality because people tend to follow social trends instead of building their own identity (Jacobsen, 2016). They become faceless users whose interests and desires are hidden behind the carefully constructed images. As seen, social media have both advantages and disadvantages, so it is critically important to balance online communication and face-to-face interaction.
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Jacobsen, M. H. (2016). The sociology of Zygmunt Bauman: Challenges and critique. London, the UK: Routledge.
Pantic, I. (2014). Online social networking and mental health. Cyberpsychol Behav., 17(10), 652–657.
Sarkar, A., Agarwal, S., Ghosh, A., & Nath, A. (2015). Impacts of social networks: A comprehensive study on positive and negative effects on different age groups in a society. International Journal of Advance Research in Computer Science and Management Studies, 3(5), 177-190.
Tardanico, S. (2012). Is social media sabotaging real communication? The Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/susantardanico/2012/04/30/is-social-media-sabotaging-real-communication/#2126d8272b62