Blame should fall upon the user, not technology

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Society has mapped out that the biggest accessory to our lifestyle, brand and professional work is linked to the movement of mobile technology.

Mobility was once used only as a reference of methods one can use to travel from point A to point B, whereas mobile technology has evolved to how we now construct ourselves within society—personally and socially. While it is easy for anyone to simply pick up a smartphone or sit at a computer and create an account online, the idea of tactfully using integrated social media with our technology has become an issue for some.

Since the birth of the social media revolution in the early 2000s, online social mediums have been criticized with intent to attract inappropriate behaviour, breach privacy laws, and change the meaning behind how people communicate and foster relationships.

The fact of the matter is this: the concept of social media is not a problem on its own, but rather how we as users choose to handle it. Are social media outlets and ever-advancing technology causing a problem? Or rather is it our inability to accept or adapt to this constantly evolving platform?

In a recent article by Joel Comm, “I am Leaving Social Media,” Comm argues that the development of social media and its current state plays negative influence within society and is toxic. Comm, ultimately, decides to “leave” social media, blaming large companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google for dominating our online social universe.  He also blames companies for how social technology affects the development of relationships and how it can either make or break a potential job offer based on the personal ‘brand’ or identity you promote through content online.

Comm progresses and states these social platforms also act as a platform for spam, online bullying, and other senseless information — yet admits that from time to time he too enjoys sharing personal content and connecting with family and friends online.

While Comm’s claims are valid and evidence has alluded in the past to some of these damaging consequences spawned through the portal of social media—technology is not entirely the problem, it is the individual behind it.     Although it is a link to the outcome, we are the ones who collectively participate with the interaction in the first place.
Privacy issues? It’s the Internet; users should be well aware of the consequences that loom when engaging in social media. The word “social” in itself is an intention to share, collaborate, and extend information. If you’d rather it not be out there, don’t upload it.

Instead of pitting social media as the culprit of not landing you a job or saying that those top three companies have full control over your life, consider developing an image you’d like to carry with you in the real world and how you wish to brand yourself to others. Unfortunately, many don’t realize the phrase “actions speak louder than words” applies to technology and social media as well. How does your content reflect your brand? If this is something that is bothersome, the issue may be an unwillingness to adapt.

The biggest thing that we need to remind ourselves is this: adaptability takes time and we need to be actively aware of what is occurring around us and how we should adapt to those changes. Just like our ancestors have adapted from horses to cars to carry us from Point A to Point B, or writing essays on a computer instead of a typewriter, the same trend comes up each time. We must adapt and it’s going to take time. And this is not about being complacent.

If these elements of technology really were that terrible, why is Apple’s iPhone alone one of the world’s biggest commodities; with Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram the top downloaded applications for mobile devices and socially-banded businesses?

Turn it around and see adaptation with social media as an opportunity to innovate and collaborate. The connections that we have the power to establish have reached a level we never thought possible three years ago. What’s one of the traits with being social? You connect. And what’s so harmless about that?

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