Since time immemorial, contact between friends and families, who are far from each other. Due to their social existence, people are obliged to rely on communication to establish and maintain interpersonal ties. Some causes, however, hinder their ability to sustain these relationships. The transmission of information between or between entities over long distances has proven to be a major challenge. In this light, people have established different ways to facilitate contact over long distances. The use of phones, emails, letters and social media are part of this process. One may argue that youths in the in the 21st century have resorted to using social media as their primary means of communication because of the benefits and convenience that are entailed in the usage.
The Use of Social Media
The most recent trend with respect to communication is the use of social media. According to Bolton et al., use of social media may be described as the interpersonal interaction between individuals or groups of people who create and share information using various virtual communities and networks (246). It entails using computer-mediated technologies in order to create and share such information as news, status updates, experiences, videos as well as photos. This is arguably the means of communication that is currently used by the most number of people in the world to create, send and receive information.
Youth and Social Media
Youths particularly rely on social media as a major means of communication in their daily lives. According to Bolton et al., a majority of youths around the world are reported to have access to at least one social media platform that he or she relies on for purposes of communication (246). Some of the social media platforms that are widely used by the youths include: Facebook, which allows users to create profiles from which they can upload photos, videos and send messages to one or more people and Twitter - which allows users to create and broadcast posts. Other platforms include YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn and Snap Chat which are also used by a many youths around the world.
Benefits of using Social Media as a means of Communication
Use of social media as a popular means of communication amongst the youths is attributed to various advantages that make the media convenient as discussed herein. To begin with, they enable youth to stay connected with their friends and family despite the distance between them (Park et al. 231). In situations where they are far apart from their friends and family, most youths are fond of using social media platforms to send messages or call them. They may as well be updated or update their friends and families about their current status by simply posting the same on their profile. Moreover, one is able to create new friends by simply sending friends request or even messages to their profile. This is relatively a simpler way of making friends compared to the actual act when done in person (232). In most cases, young men and women tend to find it rather difficult to approach another person, especially of the opposite sex in a bid to initiate a relationship. This could be attributed to certain factors such as an individual’s personality, distance between the two individuals and conflicts of interests amongst other factors.
However, by using social media such as Facebook or Twitter, youths have been able to make new friends and meet them or even chat by simply sending them a friend’s request or following them on the platforms. In addition, they are able to catch up with their friends with whom they have not seen each other for a long time. According to Boulianne, social media has been instrumental in rekindling old friendship by a simple touch of a button (528). In light of this, many youths have opted for and preferred to stick to using social media platforms in order to widen their social network. Moreover, by scrolling through other people’s profile on various platforms, they are able to find other people with whom they share interests and engage in the same with them.
Many people believe that they can conveniently find their partners or companion on social media as by simply singling out the ones with whom they share interests (Park et al. 730). Such social media platforms as Facebook enables an individual create a profile and describe themselves briefly including their background information, their interests, hobbies and preferences. The description is highlighted on the profile thus making it possible for others who share the same interests and preference to take note and interact with them at a personal level.
In addition, youths tend to prefer using social media as a primary means of communicating because they consider it the fastest means of spreading information. Research has it that information spreads fastest on social media in the 21st century compared to any other means (O’Keeffe et al. 802). Important information such as scandals and major political and social activities are mostly passed through social media because it is believed that many people are registered to at least one or two networks and that they stand high chances of accessing the information through such. This motivates youths to subscribe to social media services in order to keep abreast with the current issues. Youths in the present era tend to find it fashionable and trendy to be aware of the any important information that is concerns or their friends and families in one way or the other. Being that such information are widely available and are transmitted via the social media platforms, they are obliged to subscribe to social media in order to stay informed.
Another reason why youths prefer using social media is because of the entertainment aspect of most social media platform. As Park et al. point out, majority of youths spend most of their time using their social media platform to search and view entertainment contents (732). Individuals are able to send funny or entertaining contents in the form of videos, photos or in text via the social media platforms to one or more people. With respect to this, youths tend to dedicate their time to find and consume such contents with the motive of being entertained. Moreover, it is a convenient way of accessing such funny content owing to the fact that they can simply log into their profiles and view them from their phones or personal computers. In light of this convenience, youths tend to prefer using such platforms as a source of entertainment compared to other sources such as television.
Bolton et al. add that youths are fond of using social media as a way of expressing their feelings as well as sharing their thoughts and experiences with other people who have subscribed to the same social media platforms (263). For instance, they are able to share pictures of themselves by posting them on their profile and their friends are able to comment and react to the posts. In addition, they can write about their experiences and share ideas on certain subjects. Just like in the case of photos, their friends are able to respond to their posts regarding experiences and discussions of issues. As such, they are able to interact and inform their friends on how they are faring using various options and indulge in conversation regarding the same. Notable, such information can be shared with more than one person at a time thus increasing the convenience.
Still on information, youths are able to make enquiries on certain matters and react to various issues happening in the community. The power of social media has been witnessed in several instances when individuals took to various platforms in a bid to condemn certain decisions or actions that were unwelcome in the society (Boulianne 536). Social media is a powerful tool that is used to express public opinion with respect to matter concerning the society. For example, individuals have filmed incidents of police brutality and posted the same on social media. Such films have been viewed by many people who are registered to social media platform. Owing to this aspect, youths have opted to use social media in order to watch out and keep the society in check by reporting any misconduct to the public. This benefit of using social media has two ways in the sense that they are able receive the reported information and react to such as they see it.
Last but not least, using social media amongst youths is perpetuated by the need to conform and become acceptable by their peers. A majority of youths have resorted to using social media in in a bid to look trendy and keeping up with their peers who perceive it as a trendy and fashionable thing to do (Park et al. 733). This is because they desire to be accepted and be viewed by their friends in the same light as they view themselves and others who use social media. Moreover, human beings are sociable in nature and no one likes to be left out and be rejected for being different or be perceived as a weird person.
It may be argued that a majority of youths in the 21st century have opted to use of social media as a primary means of communication. This is attributed to various benefits that they derived from using the platforms. These benefits include; the ability to establish and maintain interpersonal relationships, the ability to maintain close contact with friends and family despite the distance between them, as well as using the social media platforms as a source of entertainment and quick access to information among other benefits. These benefits may be argued to be the reasons why youths prefer to use social media for communication.
Bolton, Ruth N., et al. "Understanding Generation Y and their use of social media: a review and research agenda." Journal of Service Management, no. 24.3, 2013, pp. 245-267.
Boulianne, Shelley. "Social media use and participation: A meta-analysis of current research." Information, Communication & Society, no.18.5, 2015, pp. 524-538.
O'Keeffe, Gwenn S., & Kathleen Clarke-Pearson. "The impact of social media on children, adolescents, and families." Pediatrics, no.127.4, 2011, pp.800-804.
Park, Namsu, Kerk Kee F., & Sebastián Valenzuela. "Being immersed in social networking environment: Facebook groups, uses and gratifications, and social outcomes." CyberPsychology & Behavior, no. 12.6, 2009, pp. 729-733.