"How do you think social media affects individualism?"
Undeniably, social media, an expanding platform which transcends our physical dimension, has an unprecedented capacity for both creation and destruction.
We live in the social renaissance: the dawn of a new epoch and inevitably the demise of an old one. Facetime has replaced personal communication, friends have become synonymous to followers, and our identities are insufficiently represented through digital photos, yet the world has never been closer. Initially, the budding trend of the internet promoted a kind of globalization — it spurred social consciousness and inspired each individual to become a “global citizen” thereby shattering national confines. However, while the original intentions of social media may have been ideal, the reality sharply contrasts this “cyber-utopia.”
The problem with digital globalization on social media is that our perspectives of the world become distorted. If my primary understanding of our world relies on who I follow on Instagram and who I have friended on snapchat, my perspective is naturally centered around myself. Alternately, if my viewpoints are substantiated by readings, historical sources, and alternate forms of media, this perspective not only redirects its focus, but quite literally widens.
Furthermore, rather than giving the individual a platform, social media depresses the non-conformist opinion (for most people). As we are constantly fed societal standards, we adopt to these common stances, putting aside our empirical knowledge and thus contributing to the “spiral of silence”. Many believe that social media provides the foundation on which an individual is created. However synthetic individualism suppresses one’s humanity. A human being cannot be defined through a profile page, a bio, or the carefully selected moments they choose to lose their anonymity for.
The great irony is that I use social media daily; that is why you are here. Hence, it does have abundant positive effects. Nothing in life is purely good or evil. One can only be aware of both sides, and subsequently live without delusion and with principle: social media should aim to connect the world, not to make it smaller and more confining. It should lead innovation and broaden horizons, not limit us to the two-dimensional surface of our planet.