The Cardinal Times

Filed under Features, Opinion

Social Media Increases Conformity

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Among the problems plaguing this generation and the generations to come, one of the most frightening is a rapid decline in individuality. People are becoming more susceptible to things considered trendy or acceptable in the public eye. This increase in conformity is a result of various social media people are being introduced to at increasingly younger ages.

An article from  The Independent  by Grace Fearon supports the idea that social media is a direct cause of decreased individuality among young people.

Yet, far from a true reflection of our character,” writes Fearon, “perhaps our identity within society can become a carefully constructed illusion. Think about your own social media accounts, for instance – are they an honest representation of yourself? Or are you, perhaps, even unwittingly creating an image that is socially enhancing, one that will allow you to be perceived as popular or well-liked?” From my personal experience this can ring very true as I’ve noticed people close to me change to conform to a societal expectation. 

When people want to appear successful and be accepted by society and everyone around them, it’s easy to get caught up in the mix of wanting to appear a certain way. This can make people lose touch with who they really are and what really pleases them. A cause of the increase in conformity lies in the availability of social media. It’s incredibly easy to access and view, making social media the perfect outlet for spreading information to a much broader audience.

By 2011, approximately 83% of Fortune 500 companies were using some form of social media to connect with consumers. Furthermore, surveys suggest that consumers are increasingly relying on social media to learn about unfamiliar brands,” according to the American Marketing Association (AMA) journal. Social media can make information more accessible but it can also shape much deeper issues such as appearance and sexuality.

A blog called the “Literary Blues” by Tristan Naraine  goes further into this idea, raising important issues about what social media potentiates. Naraine talks about how with popular social figures and celebrities, there are indirect social constructs being built around a person’s appearance and their gender that pushes norms on younger audiences by providing images of what can be interpreted to be “good” or “ideal.” This information is broadcast on many social media outlets making the pictures, tweets, and information readily available to anyone who uses the platform. The target audience is anyone and everyone.

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