The advent of new media has changed the world forever, but has it been for the better? New media has been exploding in the last few decades, but what really is new media and how does it affect us? “New media” can be hard to define, but Lister, Professor of Visual Culture in the Department of Culture, Media and Drama, at UWE, Bristol gives the following definition: that new media are “methods and social practices of communication, representation, and expression that have developed using the digital, multimedia, networked computer and the ways that this machine is held to have transformed work in other media: from books to movies, from telephones to television.” In short, new media relies on the digital age. This media has continued to growing exponentially since its birth. New media has brought a range of wonderful information into the lives of everyday citizens and has open doors in many ways. However, new media, especially social media, also has a dark side. It is not always used for pure purposes.
New media, particularly social media, is encouraging narcissism. This extreme self interest, often at the expense of others is become more and more rampant in our society. When you look at the social media posts of pre-teens to adults, you see a trend of self-absorption unlike any seen in recent decades. Is social media truly to blame? Some would try to argue otherwise, but W. Keith Campbell says that social media is utilized “to look important, look special and to gain attention and status and self-esteem.” Social media was originally created as a way of connection with other individuals, but this so called “social media” is not so social anymore. Individuals hardly interact with each other past a simple “like “or one-word comment. Instead, social media is used to self-promote and show others how interesting or how cool you are. This type of new media explosion is also an explosion of narcissistic traits.
New media and other social media has other negative affects on society today. While there is a growing number of people utilizing social media for altruistic purposes (often promoting a nonprofit) there are also means to uses social media in a sinister manner. Terror groups such as IS (ISIS) have been using social media to not only promote their ideas, but also to recruit terrorists. This type of propaganda is growing increasingly difficult to control. In past years, terror groups have had to rely on more traditional media for their communication and propaganda. However, there has been a great shift in how terror groups communicate. More and more terror groups are using Facebook to communicate. “In the issue that circulated on social media in January, Dabiq ran a two-page paean to Farook and Malik, the latter of whom used Facebook to pledge her loyalty to the Islamic State’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.” More and more of this is happening, but social media companies have trouble stopping it. This social media today is not only creating a negative impact on us today, it’s creating a dangerous one.
New media and social media can be used for pure, good, and ideal reasons. Initially, these purposes such as creating and building friendships were the main reason to use social media. However, social media has taken a dark turn. Instead of being used for altruistic purposes, it has evolved to become narcissistic and even a venue for organized crime.
Is Social Media to Blame For the Rise In Narcissism? (n.d.). Retrieved April 29, 2016, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201211/is-social-media-blame-the-rise-in-narcissism