The emergence of the social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram has significantly changed today’s society. Unlike the old days when people used the post office frequently and had physical social gatherings, today’s events have eased everything. However, these platforms have provided a new virtual or electronic community (Schneider, et al. 2012).
All the social gatherings that were so popular during the old days are now happening virtually over the social media. The society can only be described as a global one thanks to the social platforms that are available to the masses. This is because no matter where one is, they can be able to reach their friends, relatives and family members through these platforms instead of traveling to meet them physically. In fact, the essence of face to face talks has been erased and forgotten courtesy of the online platforms. This global community has given rise to the interest in research on how these virtual realities might affect behavior in a nonvirtual world (Schneider, et al. 2012). Surely one may think there might be a slight difference in realities of the virtual and nonvirtual world. One study conducted by Putnam (1995 cited in Schneider, et al. 2012) found that “there has been a steep decline in what Putnam described as civic engagement and social participation” (pg.281). This may further research conducted by Reich (2010 cited in Schneider, et al. 2012) which found people experience a sense of community on the internet.
When such changes take place, it means that the old ways are no longer viable; they no longer make sense. The sense virtual world has already taken over each and every aspect of the life of today’s generation. The socialization has been extended to not only during daytime but any time of the day or night. This means that whatever the interaction, it does not have to be limited by the time of the day. This has generally made me interested in how my own life would be affected by social media and the internet. Although, I don’t have social media I utilize the internet daily for my online courses at Penn State. I have only been on campus a few times but I feel as if I am a part of the Penn State community and have a connection to fellow students. This proves how the internet can foster a sense of inclusion and create communities. In my normal nonvirtual world I don’t have social media and don’t gather or socialize with other Penn State students, however, I still feel a strong sense of community via the internet resource I have to gain the education.
Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understand and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.