Pro: Social Media Inauthenticity

Rebecca Pujo, Editor-in-Chief

A casual snapchat conversation, comments back and forth on an Instagram post, even a Twitter “fight.” In this day and age, these are all common ways in which teens and young people communicate, but are they authentic?

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 71 percent of teens use more than one social media site. With almost everyone on social media, those rare few adolescents who are not seem like social pariahs, completely disconnected from everyone else. However, this label could be turned around to those students who spend all their time on social media, but no time actually being social in real life.

“Without the element of face to face communication, I think people really lose a lot of the nuance, and you lose a lot of empathy for the person you’re talking with, and it’s easy to just state your talking points without really looking at how the other person reacts,” ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) teacher David Potasznik said.

When people take the time to filter and monitor what they say, and keep up a persona they have created on social media, a lot of authenticity is lost than in a real-life, face to face conversation. Things like social cues and sarcasm can also be lost over text or on the internet, making communication much more confusing.

While online communication is a perfectly normal way to talk to our peers, a lot of the value of real conversation is taken away when we are behind screens. The dynamic of our interactions is very different when we are under different personas, as many of us are on social media.

Whether intentional or not, people often tend to be different versions of themselves online, and this can be detrimental to relationships. It is very difficult to have a real relationship with two different personas, and people that are easily able to have a conversation on Snapchat can find that it is not the same case when speaking in person.

Can it even be considered a real conversation if two people just send photos of their faces back and forth, when they would never actually talk in real life? It can feel that way, but these artificial relationships can even distract from real ones, as people neglect spending time with loved ones, opting instead to stare at their phones checking every social media.

While it is easier to build artificial and positive relationships through social media, it also becomes easier for negativity to thrive. In today’s society, cyberbullying is a huge issue, and continues to thrive along with social media as people hide behind their screens. With the added factor of online anonymity, people feel much more comfortable spreading hate online when they are not held accountable for it, as they would be in person.

“It consumes a lot of time, and I think that there can be a lot of negativity and cyber bullying that goes on,” junior Noah Chapman, who is not very active on social media, said.

According to Jay Baer of Convince and Convert, “56 percent of Americans have a profile on a social networking site.”

With so many people on social media, and with much of our lives revolving around the internet, it would be naive to attempt to go back to the way things were before.

There are also many benefits to social media, such as keeping in touch with old friends and reaching a larger audience when marketing for a business. However, it is important that we do not let social media dictate our lives. Communicating online may be convenient, but eliminating the authenticity that real relationships contain is not beneficial to anyone.