Social Media Effects on Communication

Social Media Effects on Communication

Ever heard of the “Golf Course” theory? Yes? Liar! I just made that up… and that’s lesson number 1 about social media effects on communication. The boundaries of reality and fiction are quickly fading away.

Well, currently we have three major groups of people in the world. We have the Baby Boomer generation that is represented by the population over 50 years, Generation X made up of people in their 30’s to around 45 years and Generation Y who live entirely on social media or at least 90% of the time.

So how has social media affected communication?

Back to the “Golf Course” theory. It was believed that conducting face to face business on the golf course always ended on a positive note and many deals carried out by the Baby Boomer generation were handled on the golf course.

These were the days of landline phone calls, emails and actual letters. Communication was slow and in some ways limited to a few parties at a time but at least the response meant that the message was clearly driven home.

Nowadays things are totally different and even the Baby Boomer generation has been arm twisted into the social media realm. The handshake was important back in the day, now we just “like” and “comment” on business proposals and good ideas.

Current SEO practices are to blame for this because they insist on having company social media profiles for better ranking and so on. The social media craze has different effects on how we communicate and while most of it is good, some of it is bad edging on ugly. Here is the breakdown…

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The Good

Social media has really opened up communication and reduced the world to a virtual village, literally. It’s like standing on a hill just outside the city gates and shouting an announcement. Social media is about creating communities and groups and this has also improved the way groups can communicate.

Many social media websites like Facebook have given us a chance to speak to multitudes with a single status update. The limitations are only measured by how much that information is shared by fellow group members.


Now we can chat on real-time with hoards of people including those we don’t know. We make friends and business connections with people that we will probably never meet outside the social media world.

This can be termed as a good thing because this is a business opportunity that would otherwise have been lost and some of the advice passed when sharing with these “friends” can really come in handy in many so positive ways.

Social media has changed the way governments, companies, religious groups and think tanks operate. We can all get and pass around the information from social media sites. This has helped bridge the question-response gap and drastically shortened communication time and associated costs.

Companies can talk about their products to their potential customers and the world at large with considerable ease (text and associated images or videos). They can also receive immediate customer reviews and answer to customer’s queries in an open and fast way.

Social Media Sites

This can save time because people with similar issues will not need to ask the question again, the answer is just there. Social media has really improved communication from this aspect.

Although this is where Generation Y calls home, Generation X is quite conversant with this technology but the Baby Boomer generation is still a struggling lot.

All in all, good things have come out of social media circles. Social media has taken communication a notch higher now we can share information in different formats to ensure the point get’s home.

The Bad

This mostly affects Generations Y & X. Most of the people in these age groups don’t have a clue about how to communicate in a formal way. Many individuals falling in the generation Y category can’t even address an official letter to save their own lives and a pen is just some archaic tool that was used in school!

It is becoming increasing impossible for Generation Y individuals to trust anything that has not been shared on social media. They also take everything on social media as the gospel truth.

Facebook and Twitter are fast replacing TV and radio news which is almost centered on social media issues 80% of the time. So why listen to old news in the evening if I caught it on a “friend’s” social media status early this morning?

Some of the information shared through social media is also very disturbing. Teenagers and some “old goats” can now share nasty nude pictures and sex-tapes through social media.

This is not the kind of communication we’d wish for is it?

But thanks to social media it’s all there. Old men and women are preying on young people through social media sites that have taught these kids that everything happening here is ok. It is not even remotely possible to say some of the things that are easily posted on social media.

Terrorist groups can now form their own social media groups and actually carry out attacks by communicating through social media using aliases to cover their identities. Half the time we are talking to people on social media we are not sure if it’s the right person or not.

Social media is the world of the unknown and the ethics of good old face to face communication have long gone to the dogs!

The Ugly

I can only explain this part in a story…

One woman was talking to her daughter on a social media site and they shared a lot of smiley faces and emoticons throughout their conversation. The sad part about this story is that the daughter committed suicide later that day.


She was being bullied by some of her “friends” to the point she felt she could not take it anymore. Instead of deleting the account, she deleted her life.

We can learn 2 things from this story. First of all, what is said on social media cannot be taken as absolute truth because the mother had no way of making out her daughter’s depression from their delightful conversation.

Communication in this case was misleading. After investigations it was found out that a group of mean girls from her school were making fun of the deceased girl because she was friends with her own mother on social media among other things like ugly photos not having “enough friends”.

This is communication at its ugliest!


The social media world is all fantasy and it can trickle into the world of the living with not so good results. Whichever way we look at it, social media has really affected the way we communicate. It has come with good things but also the bad and the outright ugly.

How can you categorize social media effects on communication? Share your views in the comment section below…

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4 comments on “Social Media Effects on Communication

  1. This is a fascinating insight into how society is rapidly changing- either for better or for worse- and how we don’t really have much choice but to keep up with the pace of change.
    You’re right, social media has completely turned communication upside down. In some ways it’s an incredible tool, for example, I travel a lot and have friends all over the world. Facebook allows me to stay in touch with them as though we live next door to one another. There are obviously downsides too, such as the bullying you mentioned. I feel that it’s also easier to become isolated from society, tricking yourself into thinking you have real ‘friends’, when in reality they’re just online strangers.
    This post has really got me thinking of how life is changing. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Chloe,

      It’s great to hear that the post got you thinking about how our lives are changing – that was the main aim behind writing it! 🙂

  2. Hi Chris. I love your Golf Course Theory.I’m from the Baby Boomer Generation and a lot of what you’re saying resonate with me. you are right social media is changing the way we live, but from my point of view it’s not social media in particularthat’s changing our existence but technology in general. And you are right you can find some ugly things on social media and some positive things as well.

    I’m a Baby Boomer who loves technology and wish I could be around to do business on mars. When I was around 5 years of age I was standing beside my grand mother, we lived on a farm in the West Indies, we heard terrible sound above our heads; we looked up; and saw a 2 engine Airplane. It was my first Airplane experience and I believe it was my grandmother’s too, because she exclaimed, ” lord Jesus what has man done now; this world is comming to an end!.”

    I believe technology is taking us to a higher level of existence. We’re getting ready to explore the other planits.

    Great job Chris. Love your post.
    See you around,

    1. This is definitely the comment of the day Eric – “wish I could be around to do business on mars”. Love that! Thanks so much for leaving this response, and for stopping by and reading the article! 🙂

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