Social Media and Culture today

The world is a big place. With close to 200 countries, and continents spanning thousands of miles, people can tend to be far apart from one another. Religion, caste, culture, race all differentiate the people of this world. With a myriad number of factors which a play a part in distancing one person from another, in the internet age, social media might just be the one thing bringing people back closer to each other once again.

It’s not only communication. It’s sharing the same space. The space might be virtual but technology has advanced to a point that you never really feel alone anymore. With the biggies such as Google and Facebook in the picture, they have bought about a change in the way people behave, think, act and feel. Internet actually started out in the late 60’s which was then called Arpanet. As time went by, communicating tools such as Email and chat were developed. Social spaces for recreation were made as well.

Where does this leave us? It leaves us connected. It leaves us with knowledge. It leaves us with understanding. If our forefathers needed to know about something, they would have to rely on what others would have to say, books which might not have accurate information or go the long way and actually find what they were looking for themselves. If you had to travel to China for a vacation, you would have to physically get yourself there to learn about the culture, food, accommodation options etc.

But now, all that is changed. Sitting in another part of the world, we can learn a new language. Nuances of a different race. Practices of a different culture. As the population of the world through the years spread out in various distances, social media is bringing us back together again. It helps us understand different points of view. Social media and the internet brought about a lot of changes in the communication space.

The impact social media has had on culture stems from the what social media brings to the table. These are:

  • Learning from each other from different countries and races
  • Crowd sourced information and wisdom
  • Creativity and Inspiration
  • Truth and authenticity of stories
  • Anyone can contribute

All the above help people come together and grow. Cultures from different parts of the world are being better understood. Mutual tolerance and learning of each other’s ways and practices are getting easier. Travelling to other countries and meeting and interacting with foreigners is also more accessible.

But, just like everything good in the world, there can be a downside as well. Since social media and the internet is accessible to everyone, the impressionable youth can find content which could lead them down unwanted paths, extremist movements, racist ways of thinking, and other intolerant thinking patterns.

But well controlled social media information can also be a good way to educate the youth in the right way to bring about a bright future. Learning about cultures, the right way to do things, problems which people face and how others can help is what they can learn from social media.

In short, social media has helped people from different cultures come closer and bridge the gap which was present before the advent of the internet and social media. Social media is now a melting pot for cultures and races from across the globe where mutual learning, respect and understanding can transpire.

 

Source links:

http://www.jeffbullas.com/2012/02/06/10-ways-social-media-is-transforming-our-world/

http://www.aspeninstitute.cz/en/article/4-2014-how-the-internet-and-social-media-are-changing-culture/

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