Why are teens so dependent on social media?
Through my previously posted survey I was able to ask questions to answers that would either accept or reject my hypothesis question regarding Facebook, and whether or not people use it to strengthen relationships with their peers. The answers to question one show that the majority (93.3%) of people who took this survey will add someone on Facebook before actually becoming friends with them. Perhaps they do so in an attempt to get closer to the person who they added, and plan on doing so by befriending them on Facebook, and chatting with them via Facebook chat. One participant wrote that “if [he/she wants] to get to know them better after first meeting them then [they would] send a friend request”. Doing so would allow them to strengthen their relationship with the person who they added, thus answering my research question.
Although question two was a distractor question, these answers make it clear to see that everyone who took this survey has had Facebook for a significantly large amount of time. This could imply that everyone who took the survey is well adjusted to using Facebook as a way to build relationships with people.
Question three was a very interesting question to pose, because I was unsure of what the outcomes might turn out like. Nearly half of the participants answered that they look the same online but it was interesting to note that the majority of participants (53.3%) answered B, believing that they look better online than in person. This could indicate that people go to great lengths to edit the photos they upload of themselves on Facebook in order to enhance their appearance. One could do so for many reasons such as out insecurity, or to attract more Facebook friends to their page. If a person has a highly “attractive” profile picture, it is more likely that a Facebook friend will be in contact with them. Whether that be through “liking” their photo, or trying to stimulate conversation with them, these reactions infer a want to get closer to the person. Due to the fact that I did not pose a question relating to profile pictures and attractiveness in my survey, I created a quick secondary supplemental survey, just to back up this inquisition: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BXD92TP.
(Click picture to enlarge)
The results from this secondary survey showed that the majority of people would take some sort of action when they see someone who they find attractive on Facebook. Perhaps after receiving a “like” on a profile picture, it instils confidence in the person whose photo was “liked” to spark up a conversation with the person who “liked” their photo. All in all, it’s clear to see that people often put up pictures of themselves to attract others into talking to them, so as to get closer with them and build relationships.
The majority of participants felt as though it were easier to communicate with people over Facebook as opposed to in person because they feel more confidence online. Perhaps this is because Facebook provides an invisible wall of security: it allows you to ponder your responses prior to actually saying them (a luxury time that is not as long when speaking in person), allows you to use emoticons to express emotions, as well as allows one to say what they truly feel. Why is it easier to speak your mind online? Because it is less intimidating than face-to-face conversations. This correlates with the Impact of Technology on the Family Unit because through this survey we are able to see how far “conversations” have come through the years. Formerly, we would chat with one other face to face because we had no other means of communication, other than on the phone, or hand written letters. In more recent days, we can see how communication technology has evolved from telephones, to cell phones, to calls on computers (video calling is available on Facebook), to even having Facebook on available on your phone. Many families today often lack communication between themselves because family members are so preoccupied carrying conversations with their peers online as opposed to spending time with their families. As people strive to build conversations with their peers through media such as Facebook, relationships with families can often suffer.
Despite the fact that question five was a distractor question, many of the participants had never temporarily disabled their Facebook. This could imply that despite having commitments such as exams to study for, that would require focus and a lack of distractions (such as Facebook), people still keep their Facebook accounts active. Many Facebook users feel attached to the social network and are addicted to using it to remain in contact with their friends, to solidify their relationships with them.
Question six was the question whose responses I was the most intrigued by. The question asked if anyone had ever “liked” a Facebook page even if they didn’t have any interest in the page. 60% of participants had answered yes. I was pleased to see that my estimates were correct. More than half of participants had answered yes, all of whom had added an additional explanation. One person answered that “the boy [he/she] had a crush on liked a certain band so [he/she] liked the page so [he/she] would have something in common”. I interpreted this answer to mean that the participant had “liked” the Facebook page, out of a desire to strengthen their relationship with their person of interest. Giving them a mutually “liked” Facebook page would give them a “common” topic of interest to discuss. This would strengthen their relationship, thus answering my research question.
Question 7 referred to whether or not participants had ever judged someone based off of their Facebook page. 14/15 participants admitted to doing so, confirming that people are concerned about how their Facebook pages appear to their friends. I believe that people censor what they post and say on Facebook, out of fear of judgement by their peers. In order to feel accepted by their peers they wouldn’t want to feel judged by them. Lack of judgement means a stronger relationship: what people often seek from their peers on Facebook. Through this survey I have been able to confirm my hypothesis that people use primarily use Facebook to strengthen their relationships with their peers, but it does not stop there. Facebook is only one form of social media, although undoubtedly the most prevalent. Teens can also use platforms such as Twitter, Tumblr etc, all for the same purpose: strengthening the relationships between them and their peers.
I believe that teens are dependant on social media because not only does it expose them to the world, but it also helps strengthen the relationships between them and their peers. My Facebook assignment from a previous unit in the course directly answers the question of why I believe teens to be dependant on Facebook, as well as other forms of social media.
Survey Questions (Bold indicates distractor questions):
1. When do you add someone on Facebook?
- After first meeting them?
- After meeting them a few times?
- Once you can solidly say that you’re “friends”
2. How long have you had a Facebook account?
- Under a year
- Over 3 years
- Over 4 years
3. Do you look the same in person as you do online?
- Yes, I look the same
- No, I look better online
- No, I look worse online
4. Do you find it easier to talk to people on Facebook as opposed to in person?
- Yes, I’m more confident online
- No, conversations are easier to carry when they are in person
- Other (Please specify)
5. Have you ever temporarily disabled your Facebook?
6. Have you ever “liked” a Facebook page (say, of an artist, or band) that you don’t actually have any interest in?
- Yes (If you select this option, please explain in the box below)
7. Have you ever judged someone based off of his or her Facebook page?
My survey was completed by 15 particpants.
Survey link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FPFLMD6
|Question (Bold indicates distractor questions)||Answers|
|#1||– 6 participants (40%) answered A
– 8 participants (53.3%) answered B
– 1 participant (6.7%) answered C
2 participants answered Other:
– “If I want to get to know them better even first meeting them then I’ll send a friend request”
– “Only if they add me”
|#2||– 0 (0.0%) participants answered A
– 4 (26.7%) participants answered B
– 10 (66.7%) participants answered C
– 1 (6.7%) participant answered Other
|#3||– 7 (46.7%) participants answered A
– 8 (53.3%) participants answered B
– 0 (0.0%) participants answered C
|#4||– 10 participants (66.7%) answered A
– 3 participants (20%) answered B
2 participants (13.3%) answered Other
– “doesn’t matter..i talk to same on chat as I do in person”
– “depends on the situtation”
|#5||– 7 participants (46.7%) answered Yes
– 8 participants (53.3%) answered No
|#6||– 6 participants (40%) answered No
9 participants (60%) answered Yes (because…)
– “all my friends were talking about this rap group so i liked it too..”
– “A lot of my friends liked the band so I liked the page too to fit in…”
– “the boy I had a crush on liked a certain band so I liked the page so we would have something in common”
– “I felt pressure to like it too”
– “to appear cooler”
– “cuz I wanna have friends!!”
– “i was bored”
– “as a joke or someone liked it on my account”
|#7||– 14 participants (93.3%) answered Yes
– 1 participant (6.7%) answered No
Why are so many teens fascinated by the reality television phenomenon?
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Although more than half of the survey participants did not watch reality TV shows on a regular basis, more than 85% admitted to having watched a reality TV show before. What is the root of this fascination?
The next question I posed provides some of the participants’ answers to this question:
- It’s an escape to a world we don’t live in, but a world that still exists. Also, to laugh at the stupid people on camera.
- Because they have the impression (though its is false) that it is actually “real” which makes them feel a greater connection and therefore more pleasure/entertainment out of watching these shows ..?
- no idea
- cause its awesome
- Because it’s entertaining
- People feel they can relate to reality television -In a way, reality TV = more dramatic version of their lives. -If somebody gets burned on reality TV, people feel good sometimes, because it’s not happening to them.
- Even if people do not watch Reality TV it is now some what hard to avoid. However, I believe most people just watch reality TV as if they would watch any other genre of television. They watch it for pure entertainment, but it just happens to be that the show they are watching is someones actual life. These “reality stars” lives have plots like a soap opera, just no writer has written the script and the viewer never really knows what that person will do next. So in a way reality TV is edgier because its real and isn’t just ones persons imagination. Reality TV is more fascinating because the “characters” problems, habits, stunts, drama etc. is all real and regular people fiend observing other members of society. So I believe more people watch reality TV because the drama in reality TV shows are more realistic and relatable, therefore the viewers are able to experience more empathy and actual form a bond with these real people which ultimately draws them more in & gets viewers more hooked!
- it’s funny
- it’s entertaining
- They like to think that the lifestyle is achievable & it is desirable! They like the excitement & wish it was them. They live vicariously through the characters.
- In some cases it can be funny because it is such a polar opposite to reality i.e jersey shore. In other cases it can provide people with a life better than theres (for lack of a better definition). It might be appealing for people to look at a life of luxury especially in the modern materialistic society we live in.
- Entertainment 🙂
From these responses I am able to come to a conclusion regarding why people find fascination in reality television. Not only do they watch it solely for entertainment purposes, but many people watch it because it is such a “polar opposite to reality” such as Jersey Shore, or The Hills. Sometimes it can be appealing to get a glimpse into a life of luxury, especially in the “materialistic” society that we live in. Reality television is everywhere, and people find fascination in the lives of the cast of these shows because they are so different from the lives that they currently live.
Click here for an article with interesting thoughts regarding why we watch reality television.
Sociological Perspectives on the Role of the Media
The limited-effects theory argues that because people “generally choose what to watch or read based on what they already believe, media exerts a negligible influence”. This theory originated in the 1940s and 1950s and was tested when studies that examined the ability of media to influence voting found that well-informed people relied more on personal experience, prior knowledge, and their own reasoning. This goes to show that perhaps media “experts” most likely swated the votes of those who were less informed. A critic of this theory would point to two problems with this perspective. One opposed to this sociological theory might argue that this theory is not applicable to today’s society, as it came into existence when the dominance and availability of the media was far less widespread than the way it is today.
The class-dominant theory argues that the media “reflects and projects the view of a minority elite, which controls it”. This correlates with the idea that the elite compose the 1% of the population, as opposed to reflecting a majority. Advocates of this theory believe that massive media organizations limit competition by putting big businesses at the “reins” of the media.When ownership media organizations is restricted, they have the ability to manipulate what people can see or hear through the media. For example, owners can easily avoid or silence stories that expose unethical behavior within corporations, and can manipulate what is and is not showcased, in order to influence viewers to succumb to certain attitudes or viewpoints, especially when sponsorship, in terms of advertising, plays a huge role in this problem.
The culturalist theory, developed in the 1980’s and 1990’s, combines the other two sociological theories and claims that people interact with media to “create their own meanings out of the images and messages they receive”. People view and assess the material in which they view, based on their own knowledge and experience. Thus, when researchers ask different groups to explain the meaning of a particular song or video, the groups produce widely differing interpretations based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, and religious background. Therefore, culturalist theorists claim that, while a few elite in large corporations may “exert significant control over what information media produces and distributes”, personal perspective, experience, and attitudes plays a more powerful role in how audiences interpret the messages showcased in the media.
We are always connected!!
What role does mass media play in society?
Mass media as “communication—whether written, broadcast, or spoken—that reaches a large audience. This includes television, radio, advertising, movies, the Internet, newspapers, magazines, and so forth.”
Mass media is a significant force in modern culture. Sociologists refer to this as a mediated culture where media “reflects and creates the culture”. People are constantly bombarded with messages from a plethora of sources including Television, billboards, movies, and magazines, to name just a few.
These forms of media is that they are able to promote not only products, but moods, attitudes, and a sense of what is and is not important, or socially acceptable. This creates an issue when the messages being showcased are negative ones. This relates back to my first research question, as some of the negative messages showcased by the media in regards to body image are what influence, alter, and distort society’s perception of beauty.
One of the role that Mass media plays in society is that it makes possible the concept of celebrity: people could not become famous without the way that movies, magazines, and news media are able to reach across the globe on such a grand scale. Cliffnotes states that, In fact, “only political and business leaders, as well as the few notorious outlaws, were famous in the past. Only in recent times have actors, singers, and other social elites become celebrities or ‘stars'”.
The current level of media prevalence has not always existed. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, television, for example, consisted of primarily three networks, public broadcasting, and a few local independent stations. The programming of these channels were primarily aimed at two-parent, middle-class families. Despite this, many middle-class households did not even own a television. In contrast, one can find a television in even the poorest of homes, and multiple TVs in the homes of most middle-class families.
The availability of televisions has increased significantly, but programming has also diversified, creating shows to aim people of all ages, incomes, backgrounds, interestes, and attitudes. The internet has also increased the role of mass media in more recent days, as nearly all business and companies now make themselves available online.
“Although TV and the Internet have dominated the mass media”, the article states, “movies and magazines—particularly those lining the aisles at grocery checkout stands—also play a powerful role in culture, as do other forms of media”.
So what role does mass media play in today’s society? Most will agree that mass media is a permanent part of modern culture, and there are three main sociological perspectives on the role of media exist: the limited-effects theory, the class-dominant theory, and the culturalist theory.
Technological Determinism holds that technology causes social change. This is reflected in the amount of people that no longer purchase hard copy books, illegally download music, as well as social change that is brought about by social networking.
The majority of participants of my Facebook survey (from earlier on in the course) felt as though it were easier to communicate with people over Facebook as opposed to in person because they feel more confidence online. Perhaps this is because Facebook provides an invisible wall of security: it allows you to ponder your responses prior to actually saying them (a luxury time that is not as long when speaking in person), allows you to use emoticons to express emotions, as well as allows one to say what they truly feel. Why is it easier to speak your mind online? Because it is less intimidating than face-to-face conversations.
This correlates with the Impact of Technology on the Family Unit because through this survey we were able to see how far “conversations” have come through the years. Formerly, we would chat with one other face to face because we had no other means of communication, other than on the phone, or hand written letters. In more recent days, we can see how communication technology has evolved from telephones, to cell phones, to calls on computers (video calling is available on Facebook), to even having Facebook available on your phone. Many families today often lack communication between themselves because family members are so preoccupied carrying conversations with their peers online as opposed to spending time with their families. As people strive to build conversations with their peers through media such as Facebook, relationships with families can often suffer.
Technology can influence a change in one’s morals and attitudes regarding themselves, their peers, and how one should act. The Ashe Experiment would support this notion, because its findings make it clear to see that people will often conform to pressure from those around them in order to feel accepted, despite the fact their actions might not follow their true feelings, morals, or values. The internet provides a large platform for people to conform to those around them, as it opens the door to internet users beyond those whom they know personally.
Have you ever illegally downloaded music?
100% of the peers who I surveyed admitted to illegally downloading music. The fact that everyone has access to illegal filesharing sites goes to show the impact that the music industry is facing, in terms of their loss of sales, due to the high percentage of people who illegally download their music.
How has illegal downloading affected the music industry?
The concept of illegally downloading music is something that has been an issue since the late 1990’s: when Napster, the first free music file sharing site, was introduced. Napster opened the world to illegal downloads. It set precedence for many more fire sharing sites that were to come, such as Mediafire, Hulkshare, etc.
Perhaps the reason why so many of us illegally download music is not because of house easy it is to do so, but maybe the price of music is too high. In his article “The Long Tail”, Chris Anderson explores the topic of current prices for purchasing music online through platforms such as iTunes, and compares it to the prices that each actual song should in fact be, based on the cost it takes to make, create, and distribute music through the internet.
On iTunes, songs can range from 99 cents to the recently upped price of $1.29. Is this price too high? I believe that the reason why so many people illegally download music is because of one of the following reasons:
- It is easy to do – at the click of a button, any song can be downloaded
- It is free – why pay for something when you could have it for free?
This brings us to the idea of technological change. Nearly everyone has access to a computer and therefore everyone has the ability to illegally download music. Despite various laws that are in place to combat the issue of illegal downloading and filesharing, the music industry continues to feel the impact of illegal downloading: millions of dollars are lost each year.
Illegal music downloads are a prevalent issue, but the impact of illegal downloads in general are also felt by filmmakers, publishing companies, etc. Nearly anything can be downloaded without purchase – this includes books, music, and even movies or television shows.
E-Books are an example of a technological change within the household, as many families now use E-Books as opposed to buying hardcopies of books. This, as well, has had an impact on book stores’ profit margins. A simliar affect has been felt by record stores, whose business is in high decline. This is because of how easy and convenient it is to purchase things online or electronically, as opposed to going to the store to purchase products.