Argument premise 1: Humans utilize social media as a substitute for face-to-face communication and interaction, but it is not equivalent to real-life communication and lacks integrity.
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Argument premise 2: Social media often persuade users to share private information about themselves or family members that can be harmful to their privacy.
C.: Social media not only fail to be equivalent to real-life communication but also become a hindrance since they impede peoples’ private lives and destroy integrity as the basis of interpersonal contacts.
Counter-argument premise 1: While real-life communication imposes limitations, social media provides almost boundless opportunities to share one’s opinion and express oneself.
Counter-argument premise 2: Despite concerns connected with privacy, people may easily protect themselves if they carefully think before they upload their materials and make their security settings.
C.: Social media open up new opportunities for people that are likely to bring good, and the expected benefits are substantial in comparison with the areas of concern.
The counter-argument premises give ground to consider social media to be advantageous. In their daily routine, people stick to their social roles, but they may want to break the tether and acquire new identities. Social media give them this chance. As for the interference with private lives, one just needs to be reasonable and do not have personal materials freely available. Because the advantage of self-expression opportunities outweighs the disadvantage of the invasion of privacy, social media should not be considered a hindrance.
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The benefits of social media, in terms of people’s personal expression, are substantial. If a person needs warmth and support or wants to discuss their interests, they will probably address their friend or a family member. However, there is no guarantee that their feelings will be understood. In comparison, social media cover a larger audience: consequently, the chance to find comfort and meet persons with the same tastes is higher. Many users of Facebook, Tumblr, and other similar services emphasize that their Internet friends are very close to them: contrary to popular belief, integrity and friendship are present. Recent studies demonstrate that the sense of belonging is one of the primary factors that attract people to social media (Seidman, 2013). In other words, they are not fully satisfied with their face-to-face contacts and only want to change the situation for the better.
The desire to find a friend does not mean that a person is going to share private information. Statistics show that more than 60% of teen Facebook users, who are expected to show off, post hundreds of photos, and write numerous messages to all users, keep their profiles private and feel confident that nobody will disturb them; moreover, in broad measures of online experience, teens are considerably more likely to report positive experiences than negative ones (Madden et al., 2013). In the same way, the sense of safety within the social media environment is also characteristic of adolescent and adult populations who have the same opportunities as teenagers (Hardy, Foster, & Zúñiga y Postigo, 2015). Thus, privacy concerns are exaggerated.
The root of the disagreement between proponents and opponents of social media is probably the failure to understand that social media are only a mode of communication. People only prescribe them either merits or demerits depending on their own experience: both online interaction and face-to-face communication can be either advantageous or disadvantageous. Consequently, social media are objectively neutral. If people perceive them as a useful tool, as it is demonstrated by Facebook users, and expect good, they obtain it.
To conclude, social media seem to bring more good than harm. They provide people with numerous opportunities to manifest themselves and make new friends. The privacy concerns are irrelevant because users themselves make decisions and provide personal information. As a result, social media are valuable for a person.
Hardy, J., Foster, C., & Zúñiga y Postigo, G. (2015). With good reason: A guide to critical thinking. Web.
Madden, M., Lenhart, A., Cortesi, S., Gasser, U., Duggan, M., Smith, A., & Beaton, M. (2013). Teens, social media, and privacy. Pew Research Center, 1, 2-14.
Seidman, G. (2013). Self-presentation and belonging on Facebook: How personality influences social media use and motivations. Personality and Individual Differences, 54(3), 402-407.