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Khang Nguyen

ENG111_147

Darin Dillard

December 2, 2015

The Internet and Another Side of The Positive

Since the Internet was available to the public, there has been a paradigm shift in sharing

information. Julie Posetti, a Journalism Lecturer at the University of Canberra, and a social

media researcher/consultant, says, In a sixty day period, more video was uploaded to YouTube

than in the previous sixty years of US television history. With the improvement in technologies,

social media is considered as a key venue of producing and consuming information. On the other

hand, Internet users confront unexpected drawback induced by social media.

The Internet has brought social connection between Internet users easier and faster than

before the invention. Worldwide, millions of people are using the Internet to share information,

make new associations, and communicate with each other. Individuals and businesses, from

students and journalists, to consultants, programmers and corporate giants are all harnessing the

power of the Internet. Many people in the fields of economic and social use the Internet such as

education, agriculture, health, trading, diplomacy, etc. Even some humans think that their lives

would be meaningless without the Internet. It is noticeable that the Internet has been dominated

by almost every sector from doctors, engineers, teachers, and officer workers. Internet is actually

very much support for the work of the majority of instances. However, along with the benefits

that exist, a bad side caused by the Internet effects human life, especially the teenagers. As

Clifford Stoll, author of Silicon Valley Snake Oil states: The brave new world of cyber-glop
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will be an increasingly lonely, isolated and dehumanized word. It will be a place where you can

order anything you want online, but you do not know your neighbors, where your children and

your parents will spend evening hours logged into the Net, talking to distant strangers rather than

each other. So how is the Internet essentially "double-edged sword" like?

On the positive side, the Internet permits people to have access to social media: 3

Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Reddit, and Twitter. Social media has become a part

of many peoples lives, since people share news from traditional journals such as CNN and NY

Times in social media setting. According to an article 8 Key Takeaways about Social Media and

News, half of Facebook and Twitter users get news on those sites as 62% of Reddit users do

(Matsa and Mitchell). The article also shows that 46% of people discuss news, events, and issues

on social networking sites. This phenomena indicates that social media is the novel way of

sharing not only information but also opinions. Consequently, the Internet has changed the way

that individuals consume the News with more accessible venues.

Furthermore, Internet network enables people to rapidly obtain information on social

media. By using some portable devices, such as cellphones, tablets, and laptops, which provide

Internet connection, social media users participate in sharing information and their opinion no

matter where they are and what time it is. Even Pope Francis has a twitter account and

exchange ideas with his followers. Pope Francis tweeted with hashtag after France attack on

November 14, 2015: I am deeply saddened by the terrorist attacks in Paris. Please join me in

prayer for the victims and their families. #PrayersForParis

It is no surprise that some reporters consume Facebook as a venue for reporting rapid

News. For example, The New York Times Nicholas Kristof posted some quick News on his

Facebook page in order to inform people of rapid news about Egyptian revolution in Caro, Egypt
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in 2011. This is his illustration of the circumstances of the revolution; the back streets in Cairo

are very tense after curfew, no traffic. Residents have set up roadblocks every 100 yards, and are

armed with clubs, bats, steel rods and machetes. One had a gun (Garber). Obtaining News from

Kristofs Facebook page, people knew what happened in the present moment. On Kristofs

Facebook, it is remarkable that there are interactions between Kristof and his followers. He

answers individuals questions about articles and explains his stance. Thus, being platform on

which journalism can be done, social media encourages journalists to interact with general

public.

Not only journalists like Nicholas Kristof, any citizen with access to the Internet is

capable of posting their opinion and gathering others attention. In new media setting, people

follow or support those who have similar opinion with them, and this creates new communities

in online. When it comes to catastrophic situations where victims need help and assistance, social

media users play an important role. They rapidly disseminate information and support

emotionally by showing their concerns, so those who are in crisis are more likely to feel involved

than isolated. For example, when Hurricane Sandy occurred through New Orleans in summer

2005, people used social media by checking their familys status and additional happenings.

Also, people express their concerns and encouragements by posting on twitters. This indicates

that social media users participate in maintaining society during catastrophe (Zhuang).

Despite these attractions, however, some drawbacks do exist. Unlike traditional

journalism that is characterized by verification, social media are bound to convey incorrect

information (Zhuang). This is because Internet users are not trained to verify information that

they write in social media. Also, unlike journalists who have validating system, Internet users do

not have someone to validate their activities. Not considered as an expert, social media users
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have possibility of disseminating rumors that might confuse public. For example, some public

spread some of their misleading speculation before official announcement from police

department when they encountered a News; the death of 21 years old Canadian tourist Elisa

Lam. Thus, citizen journalism is deemed to have unreliable sources, and the sources do not

satisfy specific standards that are significant in traditional journalism; accuracy, fairness,

completeness, reliability, and trustworthiness.

Other than lack of credibility, social media has a primary drawback in modern society.

With the development of the technology, it is possible to connect Internet without restriction of

place and time; growing number of individuals participate in social media activity. Consuming

their time on social media, some people are more likely to depend on social media relationship

than real life one. Over-reliance on connection through social media involves negative emotional

outcomes. According to Sara Price, Carey Jewitt, and Barry Brown, the more individuals spend

their time on social media, the more inclination there is that they feel lonely and pursue

emotional support online (74). More specifically, epidemic of emotional affects among young

adults has been researched; a survey of nearly 80,000 college students throughout the United

States indicates that social media might be a relevant causation of emotional difficulties,

including overwhelming anxiety and depression (Potarazu). Thus, Internet users should be aware

of the fact that connection in social media is increasing. Also, it is significant to have basic in-

person connection and to be cautious about over-dependent relationship in social media to avoid

negative emotional outcomes.

Especially, growing up tethered to social media, children and adolescents are vulnerable

to influences of social media (Price et al. 74). Developing their identity, adolescents need to

express themselves and obtain feedback from others such as parents, educators, and peers. This
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makes adolescence the period of self-discovery, increased social independence, and

transformation of unique individuals. However, as adolescents are using the Internet as their

social interaction venue, online profiles act as substitutes that describe youth by producing social

and behavioral norms. By watching sexually- suggestive photos on their friends SNSs,

adolescents deem their friends to have sex without protection or with strangers (Cookingham et

al.). Thus, this leads adolescents to be influenced by others online activity that may result in

harmful outcomes.

Not only social media encourages students to deem high-risk behaviors normal, but it

also allows them to express self-exploitation behavior. Some studies indicate that adolescents

show self-report high-risk sexual behaviors on personal SNS profiles, while other adolescents

participate in an activity known as sexting, which includes sending, receiving, and forwarding

sexually explicit messages, photographs, or videos especially, nude or semi-nude photos

(Cookingham et al.). Therefore, social media endangers adolescents sexual wellness in their

critical stage of identity formation.

Living technology driven society, Internet access allows people to communicate in social

media. Especially, rapidly conveying news, which the traditional media exclusively reported in

the past, social media involves both journalists and public in reciprocal communication. In spite

of its benefits, there are some concerns about thriving of social media; instant news in social

media is not deemed to have credibility than traditional journalism. Also, children and

adolescents are vulnerable to negative effects of social media since social media displays peer

activities that imply that high-risk behavior is norm. Thus, pros and cons of social media should

be informed so that they could make deliberate decisions not to far-reaching detrimental

outcomes to their healthy life.


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Works Cited

Cookingham, Lisa M., and Ginny L. Ryan. "The Impact Of Social Media On The Sexual And

Social Wellness Of Adolescents." Journal Of Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecology 28.1

(2015): 2-5. Academic Search Complete. Web. 7 Nov. 2015.

Garber. Megan. Nick Kristof turns to Facebook to report from Egypt. NiemanLab. Jan. 30, 2011.

Matsa. Katerina E. and Amy Mitchell. 8 Key Takeaways about Social Media and News. Pew

Research Center. Mar. 26, 2014.

Pope Francis (Pontifex). I am deeply saddened by the terrorist attacks in Paris. 14 Nov. 2015.

10:05 a.m. Tweet.

Posetti, Julie. Making Journalism Social: Twitters Transformative Effect. The Wheeler

Centre[Video podcast]. 18 Jul. 2011.

Potarazu, Sreedhar. Is social media ruining our kids? CNN. 22 Oct. 2015.

Price, Sara, Carey Jewitt, and Barry Brown. The Sage Handbook of Digital Technology

Research. , 2013. Internet resource

Zhuang, Ziqi. "The Importance Of Citizen Journalists In New Media When Reporting On

Catastrophes." Global Studies Journal 7.3 (2014): 21-39. Academic Search Complete.

Web. 15 Nov. 2015.