A substitution is not something we think highly of. In sports a substitution is temporarily replacing a good player with a worse one. A substitute teacher may mean an easy class, but never actually learning anything.When substituting a ingredient in a recipe, it never tastes as good. When we substitute it never gives us all of what we need. Social media and text messaging has always been a substitution, an easy way to get by without the hard work of meeting face to face. Stemming from our laziness and devolving attention span, Social media is becoming more than just a way to communicate between land barriers, it’s replacing everyday conversation. In turn, Social media hurts our ability to communicate effectively, through bending our ideas of truly talking to one another, bringing in limitations from conversational communication.

Formality plays a big role in how we communicate. The ability to recognize who we are talking to and show respect by setting an appropriate tone and attitude has a huge affect on how well things are communicated.This not only goes for people communicating as a profession, but even when talking to friends and family. For instance, you wouldn’t talk to your grandmother the same way you talk to your friends.A lot of people can say they act like totally different people depending on who they are talking to.With a your friends, family, boss, teachers, whoever else possibly seeing your message it becomes hard to judge how to say something. So we practically ditch it entirely, and soon Social media becomes a tool for people to communicateabout themselves to all rather than to others.The 2009 Pew Research study found that only 52 percent of teens make an effort to comment on others posts.With a tool made for people to communicate with others, how does this happen? This is because social media has less to do with communicating with others and more to do with self esteem. It becomes a tool to assure to the whole world who you are, what you do, and why you do it, just to justify yourself. The Pew Research study also found that 12% of users tagged a friend in a photo, while 35% tagged themselves in a photo.Social media is supposed to be a way to connect with others, but instead its users opt out and wait for people to connect to thier well built profiles. Social media has become a tool to talk but not a tool to listen.

Social Media brings on limitations to communicating that are not easily solved. These limitations bring on the disability to convey complex emotions and feelings that are easily expressed face to face. On social media we replace complex feelings with simple emojis. We manage to get by communicating without body gestures, without intonation of the voice; it’s hard to imagine that we choose to get by with just text. The reason we do is because it’s so easy. With minimal effort I can get a quick message across without having to speak face to face or be stuck an awkward phone call. This also has to do with how we control ourselves online. In a Ted Talk on Social media’s effect on communication, Sherry Turkle says written forms of communication “let us present the self as we want to be” and give us the ability “to edit, and that means we get to delete, and that means we get to retouch, the face, the voice, the flesh, the body.”The ability to control who we are online allows us to hide traits and emotions that we aren’t proud of. In real time conversation our true personalities show, because there’s no time to pick and choose who we are going to be. CNN reported Facebook has over 83 million fake and duplicate accounts. The anonymity of the Internet allows for this and creates a separation with how we communicate on social media and in the real world. This separation causes the most confusion in communicating.

Others may argue that the way we communicate is just evolving, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s evolving into something better. Many argue that some of the strengths of real-time conversation are replaced by new uses of punctuation and written language that begin to convey more than what we are used to. While this may be true, it is undeniable that body gestures and intonation are not well replaced by social media. These nonverbal visual cues are important when conveying information in the real world. Some even argue that we still have regular conversations, just over the phone. But, CNN reported that “Americans ages 18-29 send an average of 88 texts per day, which is a large amount compared to the average of 17 phone calls.” What’s even scarier is children now will grow up with little or no care or understanding for real world conversation or even be prepared for when they might have to. It’s coming to a point where we will be dependent on social media and texting for all communication. We can already see it happening, Time reported in their Mobility Poll that 68% of all they surveyed would rather take their phone to work than their lunch. Being that majority of us would rather go hungry than be without social media, it’s hard to see how social media is not in complete control of how we function.

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There’s nothing inherently wrong with social media, it still remains a great tool to connect with others and share information.To quote another journalist Deirdre Kaye, “Social media’s worst feature is its users.” Social Media’s influence over how we communicate daily is causing this change. The more we let social media dictate how we socialize in the real world the more we are subject to how it affects us. Don’t fall into the easy mindset of quick,easy,and meaningless communication, because in the end it might do more harm than good.

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