The Good and Bad of Social Media



Jason Howie, via Flickr

Social media, like Facebook, and YouTube, can bring many benefits. But it also has problems. Robin Basselin and Ryan Geertsma look at the results of using social media websites. Do you think social media improves your life, or makes it worse?

Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Robin Basselin.

Voice 2 

And I’m Ryan Geerstma. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

Every day, more than one billion people connect with each other using social media. People post pictures on websites like Facebook. They like and share videos that they have watched on YouTube. And they send messages to friends using programs like QQ Messenger. In just the last 10 years, social media has completely changed the way we communicate. And it has let us communicate with people around the world. But how does using social media affect us?

Voice 2 

Scientists from many different countries have studied this question. They have looked particularly at its effects on human emotions and relationships. Some studies show that using social media can cause depression. And other studies suggest that it can negatively affect our relationships. Today's Spotlight is on the positive and negative effects of social media.

Voice 1 

The main positive effect of social media is also its purpose: connection. Modern life can be very busy. Many people work long hours. Other people live far away from family and friends in different cities or countries. Today, many things separate people. And it can be difficult to stay connected with the people that are important to us. Zeynep Tufekci is a scientist who studies social media and human behavior. In The Atlantic magazine, she wrote,

Voice 3 

“Social media's very fast rise is a loud and growing attempt by people everywhere to connect with each other. They are connecting even with all the barriers that the modern world forces on our lives.”

Voice 2 

Social media can also help people make new friends. Often, these are friends they would not have met without social media. For example, imagine you have a very particular interest. You love the science of soil! Usually, you would not meet very many people who are also interested in soil. But through social media, you can find people all over the world who share your interest in soil science.

Voice 1 

Social media can also help people spread news about major world events. This lets people all over the world react more quickly and even help. For example, in January of 2010, the small country of Haiti experienced a major earthquake. More than 100,000 people died. Millions more people needed food and shelter. Soon after the earthquake, the International Red Cross started an appeal for aid on social media. Very quickly, they raised many millions of dollars to help the earthquake victims. Wendy Harman, the Red Cross social media manager, told Mashable:

Voice 4 

"The result was huge. I am sure that it would not have spread so widely without social media."

Voice 2  

It is clear that social media has many positive effects. But some scientists warn that social media can also harm people. The Public Library of Science published a major study in 2013. This study looked at people from the United States who used the social media website Facebook. The study found that the more these individuals used Facebook, the less they were satisfied with their life. And scientists observed that this could cause feelings of depression. Another major study in Germany found similar results. Scientist studies how 600 German Facebook users felt while they used Facebook. They found that the most common emotion people experienced while using Facebook was envy.

Voice 1  

So, why would using Facebook cause depression and envy? Well, often, when people put things on social media, they only post the best things about their lives. They talk about the fun things they are doing. Or they post pictures that make them look particularly good. So, when people look at Facebook, they are only seeing the best things in their friends' lives. This can make them feel less satisfied about their own lives. And, they can begin to feel envy because their friends' lives look so perfect.

Voice 2  

Researchers also noted that Facebook relationships are different than normal relationships. When someone sees a friend regularly, they see both the good and bad in that person’s life. But if someone only sees a friend on social media, they will probably only see part of their friend’s life. This makes social media relationships very different than normal relationships.

Voice 1  

Sherry Turkle is a technology expert that teaches at MIT in the United States. Turkle claims that social media is decreasing the quality of our relationships. When people use social media, they do not talk deeply or for very long. And being someone’s Facebook friends demands very little effort. Turkle wrote about social media relationships in the New York Times. She said,

Voice 5

"We expect more from technology and less from one another. More and more, we desire technologies that provide a false idea of relationship without the demands of relationship."

Voice 2  

Many people have begun to notice the negative effects of social media themselves. Ashleigh Elser is a young woman from the United States. In 2011, she began to notice that Facebook was affecting her relationships. She told the New York Times,

Voice 6  

"I was not calling my friends any more. I was just seeing their pictures and comments on Facebook and I felt like that was really connecting to them."

Voice 1  

But Elser began to recognize that she was not truly connecting with her friends. So, she decided to stop using Facebook. She knew she would miss some things. But she felt that stopping Facebook would improve her relationships with her closest friends.

Voice 2  

Sam Laird is a writer for the internet company Mashable. Like Elser, he also decided to stop using Facebook. For him, it was an experiment. He wanted to see what would happen. After 5 months, he found that he concentrated more on his life and relationships. However, he also found that he missed shared memories and fun events on Facebook. Laird enjoyed being off Facebook. But he said he would probably return to Facebook one day. He wrote,

Voice 7  

"My experiment has shown me that social media has become a part of human life. You can use it or not use it as much as you like, but it is not going anywhere."

Voice 1  

Laird is probably right. Social media is not going anywhere. But we may need to think more carefully about how we use it and how it makes us feel. So, how do you feel when you use social media? Do you think it improves or hurts your relationships? Would you ever consider stopping using social media? Tell us what you think. You can leave your comments on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net.

Voice 2  

The writer of this program was Jen Hawkins. The producer was Mark Drenth. The voices you heard were from the United States. All quotes were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, “The Good and Bad of Social Media."

Voice 1  

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye!

Question:

Do you think social media improves your life, or makes it worse?

Comments


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omar00206
said on November 03, 2014

It will be Best if Transcript is seen as video script with the talking.

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Kaka
said on November 05, 2014

it’s not really right. In the fully research, this should mention about how social media affect to democracy and freedom of express in these communist countries as Vietnam, China…

In Vietnam, facebook is becoming mainstream news for people which we don’t have independent journalist, have no freedom of express. While government is always trying to deliver advantage news for them. Facebook have been becoming a place to everyone share multidimensional information, people have a chance let people have a comparison about different news, being a part in breaking exclusive news in Vietnam.

That is a good thing that i have seen. Actually, the countries with communist party dislike social media. ;)

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Nhàn Tuấn
said on November 06, 2014

Many peoples use Facebook,almost everyone has an acount.so i think ,using facebook have many nagetive as:many user use it like a business,others use it to mortify someone they don’t like,…I realize that I online Facebook many times in day,so I think I need to stop using Facebook

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AwesomeGuy
said on November 09, 2014

I deactivated my Facebook’s account about 3 months ago because I wanted to concentrate my study. I realized using Facebook took me a lot of time, and till now I still consider that is a right decision.

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kieuoanh231
said on November 10, 2014

Maybe I will not use FB anymore. I want to concentrate my work & study. I spent a lot of time in day for using FB. Sometimes I think, I am a victim of social media, like many people now.

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Rumeni Silitonga
said on January 15, 2015

I agree with that statement: “When someone sees a friend regularly, they see both the good and bad in that person’s life. But if someone only see a friend on social media, they will probably only see PART of their friend’s life.” But, I think it is only partially the views. Because a lot of people who are friends on facebook because they already know each other.

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vanpham93
said on December 28, 2015

very useful

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peggylim52@gmail.com
said on December 29, 2015

How do I get the print of transcript?

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improve_english
said on January 09, 2016

Nowadays, I think social media is really essential for people all over the world. It helps people connect each other and communicate with the world. Negative or positive effects depend on how we use social media. I usually use facebook daily to check information about my work, update my friends’ posts to know how their lives are. Moreover I can watch funny videos or nice picture on fb after busy working-time. However, I use fb controlly. It only takes a few minutes for me to check fb everyday. Because I know that it will waste more time if I’m addicted to social media. On the other hand, more people dont live their real life on fb. They only post about their best things although thier real life is not like that. They do that to show everyone that they are rich and feel happy. Be silly!
To sum up, I think social media is one of the most important inventions in human life, but we have to know how to use it properly to make our life better.

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tuannv
said on February 23, 2016

That’s good! I really like this website. Thanks

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ElviraShakirova
said on April 18, 2016

I agree with the comment of @improve_english that effect depends on how we usually use it. Speaking about myself I can say that social media brings me more positive emotions - I can see what interesting things happen to other people, where they travel, what’s in fashion now, what events are on.. I have the accounts on FB, Instagram, LiveJournal - and I’m glad that’s it! I knew a lot of amazing people who inspired me, I knew a lot of interesting things about different spheres of life from the blogs, I do love to look at the beautiful photos or videos - I draw the inspiration and the energy to change my own life to its best. As for relationship with friends while hanging out in social media - so nothing shall prevent us from enjoying spending time together lively. It’s much more different. And it definitely should be remembered.

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talahata
said on February 21, 2017

actually, the day before i used to dont know about any social media, but when i started at university i started know about facebook and more social media. The first, i haven’t used it more but follow time, i used it more and more. Until now, almost all day of week im using it to connect with friend from everywhere. Sometimes i wanted to try to discard facebook because it took a lot of time from me, but i can’t, it made me feel i was missing something that i will know if i open my facebook

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Nancytoke
said on February 22, 2017

i think it is essential for us to communicate each other. in social media, we can search our old friends we don’t meet them, we also buy and sell our thing with the cheaper cost…
so. i think social media improves my life

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talahata
said on February 22, 2017

in someway, social media is good and in other way it’s not good.  i usually spend a lot of times for facebook and youtobe without any purpose. I feel it’s really waste time to do other thing that have more benifit. But the true to say that if we know how to use social media in the right way, it will very useful. It help us connect with our friends and announce to us events

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NguyenHuuTai_Bmt
said on February 23, 2017

For me, the social media such as Facebook has both positive and negative effects on me. Positive effects such as: it helps me to make friends more and more without so much effort, all I need is sending a friend invitation to person I want. Then I can chat to them or call them on fb messenger easilly with no cost. And I can read more news around the world quickly, learn more English with a lot of Fanpages of learning English… Negative effects such as: I only know my friends’ lives on Fb, not eyes to eyes, only see the best things in their life, and sometimes they make me feel envy, sad, less satisfied… That’s great for this Spotlight’s programs. Thank you so much.

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Secret
said on February 23, 2017

i think that social media has both positive and negative affects. it help us connect with each others using social media. It was affecting our real relationships. I agree with Sam Lard’s opinion. Thanks to Spotlight

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Doan Thuc
said on February 23, 2017

In my opinion, I find that Facebook is very useful for me. There are two important reasons about the advantages of FB.
Firstly, FB help me to connect with many old friends who live far away and who we have never meet since we left school. With our age (>30 years old), we are very busy with work and family, so FB is the best way for us to communicate. I’m very happy because thanks to FB, I know about my friend’s information and I can share the happy with them.
Secondly, FB brings to me many knowledge about learning, working and bringing up my children. Although the information in FB is very chaotic but I can manage to get only useful information.
Like Sam Laird, in the past, I have stopped using FB several times. But then I found that I have missed many information and lost to connect with my friends. So I studied how to use FB usefully. Below are some manners I manage my FB:
- Considering carefully about the invitations to make new friend
- Unfollowing or removing someone who make me feel uncomfortable on FB
- Only concentrating about useful information; getting the key information on FB and then searching and accessing the website which can bring useful knowledge for me
- Only spending maximum 1 hour for FB
- Thinking carefully when show off any individual information (the best way is limit in minimum this actions)
- Only leaving positive comment, if have. And avoid to argue with anyone on FB because it isn’t going anywhere.
In conclusion, I think that the good or bad of FB is belong to your way you use it.

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Dela
said on February 25, 2017

From my viewpoint, we in particular shouldn’t permit being far from reality just as from common relationship in normal, everyday life because of using social media websites too frequently. We shouldn’t become dependent considerably on this popular modern phenomenon in any case!
As the main positive aspect of soc. media I have seen in its undeniable possibility to connect people with each other easily and quickly no matter where in the world they live. I suppose we only have to follow a basic rule which means using Internet including soc. media for example Facebook carefully in a wise, well-considered way in order to avoid whatever eventual danger.
Thanks Spotlight team for another interesting issue!
Greetings!

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ManMN3003
said on February 25, 2017

Yes I see. Social media has both advantage and disadvantage. I’m a Facebook user and I online all the time. Via social media, I know news daily, can communicate with my friends and I can call my parents although I don’t have phone number. However, it distracts me so much while I am learning. Actually the thing is I can’t control myself. Now I think I should put my tablet away when I start doing my works.

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Pean
said on March 05, 2017

Social networks particularly Facebook has transformed the way we interact and communicate with others, live chats with someone who is 200 miles away, get real time updates and so on. However Facebook shouldn’t be a place to post everything we do. For instance you’re going on vacation, you post on FB, note: thief is watching. Identity theft etc. My advise is we should be vigilant when using social networks since can compromise our privacy.

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Linh Nhi
said on March 23, 2017

The truth is that I’m a victim of social media; i spent too much time for checking news on facebook, so I don’t focus in many other things of my life; I was thinking about deactivated my FB account; but it is very difficult, every information about my studying on fb. Moreover, if I don’t use fb, I can’t follow every step of my idols @@
Sometimes, we know sth is bad but we don’t know how to stop it =.=
And now I’m learning how to control it.