When it comes to the term “ popular culture”, the first thing comes to my mind is the impact of technology to human beings. The way technology has changed the whole universe is in a rapid speed and truly has a dramatic effect. Technology has been dominating a big part in our lives that we can not even imagine spending a day without it. We can perform a perfect life with a single click, super handy and convenient. However, it also causes the decreases in the real life interactions, I will elaborate both the pros and cons in the following paragraphs.
For the debate speech in my public speaking class, I chose “Does Social media technology really improves our interpersonal relationships? ” as my topic. As I was researching for more undersurface information in regards to social media technology, I was surprisingly to find out that there are actually several different aspects that I have never paid attention to before.
Social media is a huge part of our culture that is growing every day. It offers us a chance to remain close with others in ways that were once nearly impossible, and social networking sites like Facebook, Messenger, and Skype are becoming ever more popular. It keeps family and friends connected, opens up opportunities to meet new people, and it improves existing relationships. Over the last 10 years, social media has grown extremely fast and become central to the lives of millions of people. According to a research conducted by Pew Research Center in 2015, 70% of adult users visit the sites to strengthen their relationships and over 50% of them reported that social media help them to make new friends. Beside the increase in the young internet users, there also has been a surge among those 65 and older. In the same research, the 65-year-old and older group is the fastest growing demographic on social media from 8% in 2005 to 35% in 2015. And seniors have also reported that they feel happier due to online contact with family and access to social activities. It also allows for global interaction with people from different backgrounds. Through social networking, we can establish friendships with people around the world and maintain our relationships in our daily lives.
Although technology does make our lives easier, it has its negative impacts. It is believed that people who use social networking sites are prone to social isolation, and it can lead to stress and offline relationship problems, and facilitate cyberbullying. Technology is supposed to make us more connected, but are our smartphones actually getting in the way of real socializing? As most people should have noticed or already experienced, let’s say in a family or friends’ reunion, where everyone is just looking at their smartphones rather than actually speaking to each other. Each of us is caught up in our digital devices instead of talking to the friends they’re sitting with, or holding conversation and engaging with each other. A study found that the percentage of people reporting less face-to-face time with family in their homes rose from 8% in 2000 to 34% in 2011. 32% reported using social media or texting during meals instead of talking with family and friends. 10% of people younger than 25 years old respond to social media and text messages during sex.
Thanks to social media, we now have many more chances to maintain our relationships than we ever have before, but the fact is that it’s slowly ruining the quality of social interaction that we all need as human beings. Little by little, technology has already caused a tremendous effect to our lives, both positively and negatively. In my opinions, popular culture should be a phenomenon that’s enjoyed by all different groups, but not just focus on a specific party. It takes over such a huge space in our lives that I consider it the most important aspect regarding to pop culture, not only do the teenagers being associated with it, but also a high percent of the elderly.
Greenwood, Shannon. “57% of Teens Have Made New Friends Online.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. N.p., 05 Aug. 2015. Web. 02 Feb. 2017.
Hampton, Keith, Lauren Sessions Goulet, Eun Ja Her, and Lee Rainie. “Social Isolation and New Technology.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. N.p., 04 Nov. 2009. Web. 02 Feb. 2017.