The Emergence of Social Media around the Globe and its Effect on Gender, Racial and Cultural Relations
Social media play an important role in the modern life. For most people, such sites as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, among others have become an integral part of their daily routine. Social media enables people in different parts of the world to communicate with each other despite the distance between, which means that the world is becoming the global village. A message can be sent to Europe from Asia, and it will be delivered within few seconds. In this respect, gender relations refer to how males and females interact with each other on the internet using different social media sites. Racial relations refer to the way how two or more races interact in a community. In the context of this essay, it will entail to the way individuals from different races interact on social media. Cultural relations are the interactions among cultures. The term will be used to refer to the way people from different cultures interact using social media.
According to Chen, there is a need to investigate the influence of social media on gender, racial and cultural relations. Social media have significantly impacted on these relations and have in the process affected many people around the world, as well. To a large extent, globalization has aided social media to achieve this. This paper investigates the emergence of social media and the impact it has had on gender, racial and cultural relations of the users.
Emergence of Social Media
It is the advancement in technology that has developed internet communication structures such as social media. Presently, social media have become an integral part of the society. The development of social media has united many people round the globe. It is shocking to note that currently, there are social networks with membership surpassing the population of some countries of the world. These sights range from those used to share pictures such as Instagram, videos such as YouTube, status updates such as Facebook and Twitter, and sights devoted to helping people meet each other such as dating sights. Facebook is one of the most popular social media sites that can provide its users with a chance to create personal profiles representing their personality. Further, users are able to communicate with other persons from different locations simultaneously. The power of advancement in technology has been one of the factors supporting the materialization of this form of media. Social media can refer to the network of technologies that makes multidirectional communication possible. Therefore, social media includes social networking sites which are tools of communication. Currently, Facebook is the dominating social media platform. However, Twitter and MySpace have more users. Other types of social media that are considered to be most frequently used include Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr. It is important to note that early forms of social networks are being gradually pushed to become irrelevant. Such networks include dating sites and online forums. LinkedIn is a recent social network site founded in 2003, but the competition from such sites as Facebook and Twitter is undermining its relevance.
Effects of Social Media on Gender Relations
Social media have become a source of communication between genders. Offline identities of individuals also tend to be the same identities online. Many people find it difficult to speak with persons of the opposite sex. Gender relations become a difficult social activity. However, social media have had very positive effects on gender relations so far. For instance, as mentioned before, many people tend to feel shy when communicating to people of the opposite gender. Thus, social media have been useful in helping them overcome this shyness. When a person is behind a computer talking to someone who is not next to them, it gives them the courage to be open and communicative. In such a way, this has improved gender relations as people are interacting more online as compared to offline gender relations.
Communication in social media platforms differs among the genders. For instance, women tend to be more polite and supportive. In contrast, men tend to be more confrontational and assertive, which is a fact that discourages women from participating in discussions. These differences have posed a danger to the interaction between the two genders. Men are not being sensitive to the women. On the other hand, women feel hurt by men’s insensitivity and lack of curtsey. The interaction between the genders may turn to be argumentative and may have characteristics of misunderstandings. Effective communication cannot be achieved in such a case, and these poor relations between them may continue for a long time.
Social media affects the relationship of couples whether they met online or offline. Sometimes, a couple may have to be separated from each other for a number of reasons. Face to face interaction may become impossible, and thus, such couples turn to social media to help them continue their relationship. The tricky question is whether social media will build the relation or whether the relation will come to an end. Couples who use social media to monitor each other are likely to separate. This is especially true for young couples who use social media most.
Further, social media usage can cause a situation when one of the partners in a relationship becomes tempted to search for their partner’s former lover. The reason for this is the fact that people are more likely to monitor their partners or their partner’s former lovers. This will harm the relationship in the long run because such behavior creates suspicion and will damage the trust between the couple.
Couples are using social media to acquire information on factors that are likely to threaten their relations. It is common for some social media users in their accounts on different matters. The comments they post as a way of venting can be seen by their partner as significant ones. The information gathered in the post can result in an quarrel, which can cause the relationship to come to an end.
Social media can also be used to enhance gender relations. It is common for people in love to use social media as a means to send them love messages. Before social media, people used to meet during outdoor activities or through mutual friends. Today, as a result of social media appearance, the process of singles meeting each other have become faster and more authentic. For example, the existence of various online dating websites and pages in social media has allowed those seeking companionship to freely interact with each other. Therefore, social media has improved gender relations.
Effects of Social Media on Racial Relations
Racism has been an ideology that has extended throughout human history. Social media has become an explicit means of racial interaction. Race in social media has become a growing concern. Therefore, the effects of social media on racial relations have been both positive and negative in nature as described below.
As a tool of communication that brings many different people together, social media have enabled different races to communicate with one another and become friends. A social media platform such as Facebook allows users to add friends to their accounts. This addition is not restricted, and one can add any friend of any race and culture.
In addition, the creation of pages that users can utilize to talk about common interests has been another way of bringing together people of different races. As long as they have the same similar interests, race will not matter.
Despite these positive effects of social media on the racial relations among users, there is some negativity in regard to racial relations. Some racists use social media to spread their hate messages. For example, they may post video recordings of their racist rants for all to view. This destroys the racial relations among people as some people choose not to show tolerance towards other races.
One recent example of the effect of social media on racial relations being strained is the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. The young black man was shot by a white police officer. The events that followed this accident can be caused by social media and a number of unethical people. After Brown was shot, people posted updates on the shooting on social media before giving the police the chance to issue an official response. This was very dangerous since nobody had actual facts of what had happened. What was being reported on social media such as Twitter under the hashtag #Ferguson was referred to a hate crime. Those reporting the shooting under the given hash tag claimed that Brown had been shot because he was black. This fuelled unrest for a period in the area where Brown was shot. As illustrated by this incident, social media can have a negative effect on the racial relations among users similar to the situation when it sparked tension between the white and black community in the incident.
It is sad to note that the subject of race is still a very touchy theme despite the relative freedom form prejudice that was achieved in the course of the longstanding struggle against racism. This lack of peace and need to protect one’s race has been pronounced mostly on social media due to its ability to disseminate the information to many people. Therefore, it is critical for users of social media to be cautioned on the danger of using social media in a topic that is so sensitive to many so as to prevent an event like the Ferguson violence.
Effect of Social Media on Cultural Relations
The popularity of social media has led to many people exposing their culture on the online networks causing both positive and negative effects. To a large extent, it has changed the way of cultural interaction among people, which in the cases described below has been a negative impact.
Before the emergence of social media, cultural interaction took place in a different way. Cultural interaction involved face to face conversation, which revealed information about a person. Today, social media has made it possible to know information about a person, without having to speak to them directly or even see them. This has altered cultural interaction in a big way. For instance, if a person wants to know what their friend is doing, they can turn to any social media used by their friend for information. It is important to note that a large number of social media users tend to update numerous personal details in regard to their lives on social media. Updates such as “I’m off to work” will help any person wanting to know the whereabouts of their friend as well as their location. Therefore, one crucial effect of social media on cultural interaction is that it has reduced it, and, in some cases, it has completely eliminated it.
The reduced cultural interaction among people has affected physical contact. The concept of real feeling has been lost. When people are interacting behind a computer via chats, the connection between them has no actual realness in it. Consequently, the real connection in the form of visual contact and emotions is absent. This inability to know the real intention or actual message being sent can lead to misunderstanding as the lack of nonverbal cues causes the sent or received message to be understood differently.
The creation of a gap between generations has been another effect on cultural interaction. Notably, the majority of social media users are young people. Only a small percentage of the older population use social media. This has caused cultural interaction between the two generations to become strained. To an extent, it has become almost impossible for the two to interact. Young people spend most of their time on social media, and, therefore, it means that if the older generation wants to reach them, they will have to find them there. The advancement in technology has not been fair either as it continues to complicate things. This has almost totally eliminated cultural interaction between the old and the young, which is another effect of social media on cultural interaction.
Nevertheless, there are some positive effects of social media on cultural relations. As mentioned before, social media enable communication of people who are distant from each other. For example, a person from Europe can communicate with another person from Asia. Consequently, the two can share their culture with one another as they exchange messages.
Facebook represents a social media platform that can be used to share cultural information. For example, it allows sharing photos. These photos are rich with the sender’s culture, which is seen by all those receiving the photo. As a result, social media has been used to strengthen cultural relations.
This essay has analyzed the impact that social media have had on gender, cultural and racial relations. These has confirmed the need to examine how gender, racial and cultural relations are influenced by social media. Social media have enhanced gender relations, especially between couples. However, it have in some cases caused problems in gender relations due to such issues as jealousy and lack of trust due to suspicion. In addition, racism remains an issue for many people, and it has also been dragged into social media. This has overshadowed the productivity of the communication system as many people use it to fuel racist remarks and opinions, without taking into consideration the negative effects of their actions. The case of Ferguson has provided a clear example of the carelessness of social media users. Along eith that, cultural relations, especially interactions have changed for the worse since the development of social media. Today, face to face interactions have been replaced with online interaction, which deprives users of realism needed for a satisfying interaction. It can be recommended that racial and cultural tolerance be applied at all times. People should realize that hiding behind a computer or whatever platform to belittle the gender, culture and race of others is wrong, and they should refrain from doing so.