Unfriending the Old Normal: Navigating Social Transformation in the Digital Age

An integrated approach to social media around the thinking that social is more than just a channel. It is a behaviour.

Social transformation is a term used to describe the significant changes that occur in a society over time. These changes can be driven by technological advances, shifts in societal values, political changes, or a combination of these factors. One area that has seen a rapid transformation in recent years is social media. While social media platforms have become ubiquitous, their impact on society goes far beyond just providing a new way to communicate with one another. In this article, we’ll explore an integrated approach to social media around the thinking that social is more than just a channel; it is a behaviour.

Social media impact

Social media platforms have had a profound impact on the way we interact with one another. They have provided a new way for people to connect, share information, and engage in online communities. Social media has also facilitated the rapid spread of information and ideas, which has had both positive and negative effects on society.

One of the most significant changes that social media has brought about is the way we consume news and information. In the past, people relied on traditional news sources such as newspapers and television to stay informed about current events. However, with the rise of social media, news has become much more decentralized. Anyone with an internet connection can now share news and information with the world.

This democratization of information has had both positive and negative effects. On the one hand, it has allowed marginalized groups to have a voice and share their perspectives with a wider audience. On the other hand, it has also facilitated the spread of misinformation and fake news.

Social media is not just a spoke on the wheel of marketing. It’s becoming the way entire bicycles are built.

– Ryan Lilly, author and social media expert

Another significant impact that social media has had is on our social lives. Social media platforms have provided a new way for people to connect with one another, both online and in real life. They have also facilitated the formation of online communities around shared interests and hobbies.

While social media has undoubtedly brought about many positive changes, it has also had some negative effects on our social lives. For example, research has shown that excessive social media use can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression. This is because social media can create an illusion of connection, while actually decreasing the amount of real social interaction that people engage in.

Social media is a behaviour

Given the complex and multifaceted nature of social media’s impact on society, it is clear that an integrated approach is necessary to fully understand its effects. This means looking beyond the surface-level features of social media platforms and examining the underlying behaviours and motivations that drive social media use.

At its core, social media is a behaviour. It is a way for people to interact with one another and share information. Therefore, to understand social media’s impact on society, we must look at the underlying social behaviours that it facilitates.

One key social behaviour that social media facilitates is self-expression. Social media platforms provide a way for people to express their thoughts, feelings, and opinions to a wider audience. This can be a powerful tool for marginalized groups who have traditionally been silenced or ignored by mainstream media.

However, self-expression on social media can also have negative effects. For example, cyberbullying and online harassment are significant problems on social media platforms. When people feel free to express themselves anonymously, they may be more likely to engage in hurtful or aggressive behaviours.

Social media is the ultimate equalizer. It gives a voice and a platform to anyone willing to engage.

– Amy Jo Martin, digital media pioneer and author

Another key social behaviour that social media facilitates is social comparison. Social media platforms provide a way for people to compare themselves to others and to showcase their achievements and successes. While this can be a source of motivation for some people, it can also lead to feelings of envy, jealousy, and inadequacy.

Social Media Motivations

To fully understand the impact of social media on society, we must also look at the underlying motivations that drive social media use. For example, research has shown that people often use social media to fulfil social needs such as the need for belonging and connection. Social media can provide a way for people to feel connected to others, even if they are physically isolated.

Social media use can also be driven by other motivations, such as the need for validation and attention. When people post on social media, they may be seeking validation from others in the form of likes, comments, and shares. This can create a cycle of seeking validation that can lead to addiction and excessive use of social media.

An integrated approach to social media requires us to look at the complex interplay between social behaviors, motivations, and societal factors. For example, the impact of social media on mental health may be influenced by factors such as age, gender, and socioeconomic status. Therefore, we must take a nuanced approach to understanding social media’s effects on society.

One way to take an integrated approach to social media is to view it as part of a larger system of communication and social interaction. Social media platforms are not isolated entities; they are embedded within a larger social context. Therefore, we must consider how social media fits into the broader landscape of social interaction and communication.

For example, social media may be changing the way we communicate with one another, but it is not replacing face-to-face interaction entirely. Therefore, we must consider how social media use may be impacting our offline social interactions. For example, excessive social media use may be taking time away from face-to-face interactions, which can have negative effects on our mental health and well-being.

Another way to take an integrated approach to social media is to consider the role of social media in shaping social norms and values. Social media can both reflect and shape societal values and beliefs. Therefore, we must consider how social media may be contributing to the formation of new social norms and values.

For example, social media may be contributing to the normalization of certain behaviours and attitudes, such as body shaming or online harassment. Therefore, we must consider how social media use may be influencing societal attitudes and values.

Social transformation is an ongoing process that is shaped by a variety of factors, including technological advances, societal values, and political changes. Social media is a key driver of social transformation, as it has had a profound impact on the way we interact with one another and consume information.

To fully understand social media’s impact on society, we must take an integrated approach that looks beyond the surface-level features of social media platforms and examines the underlying social behaviours and motivations that drive social media use. By doing so, we can gain a more nuanced understanding of social media’s effects on society and develop strategies to mitigate its negative impacts while harnessing its positive potential.

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