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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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  • Number of pages: 2

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Does social media contribute to our contemporary sense of alienation?     If so, how? If not, why?

Alienation can be defined underneath the 1951 Convention in relation to the status of refugees; as a group of people who have fled their own country of origin in search of protection in neighbouring or distant countries, as they are in fear of persecution for political, religious or racial reasons and are also reluctant in regard to returning to their homeland (Phillips 2011, p.2).  The increasing integration of social media usage throughout everyday life has revolutionised the way people express themselves, network and influence each other. Technology that allows access to social media acts as a personal device which not only allows for the sharing of personal lives, but also making social media users subject to levels of exploitation relatively consistent with contemporary issues such as alienation. In this phase of information and technology, technology is so ubiquitous sanctioning social media's contribution to society's issues comes into play. The following essay will examine this issue through analysing the current discourses within social media based on this issue; through identifying how social media has created a new form of targeting others, along with the overuse of the internet, giving social media more authority, where it is able to expand in form. And last but not least, the way people have taken something that started out constructive and mutated it into something that can be so negative, and finally through conveying the impact in which current discourses have upon those being affected.

For years, the rise of alienation has been subjected to negative discourses within social media. This is due to the new forms of social media being created, in particular being updated, as alienation occurs greatly through social media. Although this statement seems insignificant; it has impacted many social media platforms in a long-term response towards affected individuals, becoming a technical matter as “much of media and also academic attention paid to young people's use of social media has focused on the negative and dangerous by emphasising activities that can be placed under the undefined umbrella term of cyberbullying” (Davies2010; Kowalski, Limber, and Agatston 2012; Paul, Smith, and Blumberg 2012; DfE 2014). A current contribution from social media is providing the illusion of companionship.  Social media provides virtual substitutes to actual friends and family. It allows people to maintain emotional distance with the illusion of intimacy. A study conducted by Ethan Kross, from the University of Michigan, concluded “that the more time a person spent using Facebook, the lonelier and more depressed they became over time”. A study by Carnegie Mellon University concluded that when people interacted directly with friends on Facebook, their happiness increased. However, if their interaction on Facebook was passive, they reported “feeling more isolated and unhappy”.  Due to the comfort provided of being behind a computer or smartphone screen, teens are more prone to voice their opinions online. When interacting with someone for the first time, people are consciously aware of what they do and do not want to share with someone allowing the person to control their image. This can result in a miscommunication of the relayed information, leading to arguments and loss of friendships. It is also very common for teens to present a false identity that differs from their identity offline. Teens feel as if it is easier to be rude and insulting over the internet rather than in person. Not all of them are, but numerous teens are someone else on social media than they are when they are around their family or personal friends. Social media has made it extremely easy for teens to live a “double life” and pretend to be someone in which they aren't. John Lehrer, a professor of the “social studies of science” and author of We, Robots, notes that “Instead of being constrained by the responsibilities of real life, people are using the Web to experiment, trying on personalities like pieces of clothing.” Teens that are not the fighting type often turn to social media to throw insults and inappropriate comments towards their enemies. The false identities that teens often create online contribute to a lack of self-esteem. Teens become who they want to be online, but in reality, they are someone totally different. he prolonged use of social media by teens can lead to social isolation and teens will begin to feel unaccepted by people offline. Once a teen becomes socially isolated, he or she may turn to different Internet sites that could potentially promote behaviours such as drinking, smoking, or cutting.

With the emergence and growth of social media there are benefits and disadvantages to the way communication is impacted. Barnes now associates social networking with concerns of social privacy due to its user-generated structure enabling users to reveal too much information about themselves, generally without even realizing it. Even though social networks are officially reserved for mature people over a certain age (14 to 16 years old depending on the websites), there is no reasonable way to control a new user's real age or even confirm his or her supposed identity. It is the huge amount of information collected by these social networks that create issues of invasion of privacy, especially if that information is being sold to marketing departments throughout the world. The other important issue with user-generated content on the worldwide web is that it is very hard to effectively delete; taking something off the Internet is metaphorically compared with taking urine out of a pool. or instance, seeing pictures of people at fun events can trigger feelings of exclusion. And seeing other people's “highlight reels” can inspire feelings of jealousy. "Instead of accurately representing reality," the authors write, "social media feeds are in fact highly curated by their owners. Exposure to such highly idealized representations of peers' lives may elicit feelings of envy and the distorted belief that others lead happier and more successful lives, which may increase [perceived social isolation].” The real issue in not being able to delete our previously generated content is that we may in the future change our mind, or no longer wish to uphold the concerned statement. Past declarations may affect us negatively in the future, especially in the workplace. Some HR departments have been reported to use social medias to investigate employees before hiring them; a very strong first impression, which is not in all cases negative, will be based on what is related to us online, such as our social circles, relationship status, youth, etc.

Alienation in retrospect means people becoming isolated from society as a result from industry Social media can, when used correctly, be a positive influence. The choices teens make online can help or hurt them in the long run. Social media can spark interests in both amazing and dangerous aspects and it then becomes the responsibility of the user to know whether they are doing right by how they use their social media sites. Anorexia, depression, cyber bullying, catfishing, and using substances have been proven to be results of using social media negatively to either gain access of find information out about the topics but taking precautions on social sites can help to lessen the effect the images have on teens. By using social media sites, teens must come to understand that responsibility is the key to helping social media's impact lessen.

It is clear from this that one could argue that alienation could mean isolation to a person but however in different forms. So therefore, it could be argued that alienation is isolation of a person from their economic status quo. However, from the information throughout the essay it can also be suggested that alienation comes from the status of the concepts, as alienation is said to be relate and revolve to a person singularly, To conclude, it can be argued that there alienation…….. This is evident from the sources used throughout the essay.

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