Social Media... Beneficial or Harmful?

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Destrie Allen
Judy Nicholas
English Comp. 2 Section 18
23 April 2012
Social Media… Beneficial or Harmful?
If I asked students in class to raise their hands if they have a Twitter, Facebook, or any other social network site, I could assume every hand would be in the air. I wrote this as an example on how society, especially my generation, has become drastically dependent on technology. We crave new information, which many seek through technology. However, face to face interaction is just as important. In Public Relations (PR), the main goal is promoting and establishing a favorable connection to the public. Social networking can create problems but PR practitioners can use this to their benefit through promotion of important causes such as animal rights or abuse. The main target audience for this issue would be professional Public Relations Organizations because they maintain the media outlets and what is produced through them. I would also include as a target audience is my generation and younger, since we constantly use technology. Even 10 year old children have an iPhone or iPad. The problem of over-usage is continuing to expand and we have to start thinking of solutions to help keep the issue maintained.

I am proposing the use of the PR career field to create a positive spin and outlook on issues, emphasizing how technology can be beneficial. This topic has a personal and career related interest to my life. On an academic level, I am currently attending Oklahoma State University (OSU) and majoring in Public Relations. While the personal aspect is based on a couple of reasons, one is to promote something that should be thoroughly acknowledged which I would be able to do with my future career. The other reason is from my constant networking through technology, and how it affected my life. This topic is important because it not only relates to me but it also involves everyone who has a phone, laptop, or any other electronic device. Social networking is growing rapidly in the media, which is creating distance with personal interactions among people. Some do not believe that inaccurate and non-informational media is harmful, however, I believe Public Relation organizations can benefit from the media by using it to help promote positive awareness.

The main problem in society is that social media and networking are increasing which causes personal human contact to decrease. People like to have constant reminders of what is going on in their environment and also enjoy receiving new information. For example, one of the reasons why losing personal interaction is considered a negative aspect is because students do not know how to separate their personal and professional lives. On Facebook or Twitter there is a box that asks “What are you thinking” representing what is on our minds. These thoughts can sometimes be inappropriate or too personal. With this I would say we do not think in terms of being professional or if posting this could eventually hurt our future. As an example say I apply for a job and they look up my profile to see their job applicant dancing on a table or drinking. This would not be qualities an organization would want in an employee. In one article I read by Michael Sacks and Nikki Graves they wrote, “Many of their students seek to ‘network’ at such events, quickly shifting from person to person with the goal of maximizing their contacts rather than developing lasting professional relationships” (81). They are referring to the fact that we allow many people into our lives through these networks, sometimes not even knowing who they are, or networking is based off of wanting to expand our horizon instead of creating actual friendships. This also causes problems in focusing on important things such as school, friends, and even outside activities. Before cell phones with applications, we used to sit in class and either sleep, text, or have to actually pay attention. Now with...
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