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Website warfare intensifies as social media outlets expand

February 21, 2013

 

POLIZZI

Addie Martin
Staff Reporter

 

Social media includes forms of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages and other content.

 

This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Scott Levin, an assistant professor of English, said social media was originally a device used to promote businesses, as well as a means to communicate for friends, but it has been grossly criticized in recent years.

 

“I primarily created a Facebook because my colleagues use it and initially used it for rhetorical purposes,” he said. “It was an opportunity to create a persona that I knew future employers would potentially look at; hence, it was a tool to create an appealing facade.”

 

Internet users can tell another’s interests, hobbies, activities, location and company just by looking at a Facebook page.

 

Taylor Mack, an associate professor of geography, said if individuals want to hold social media accounts, then they have to be smart with their privacy settings, as well as emotionally mature enough to use an account.

 

“Students need to realize Facebook does not care about anyone’s privacy,” he said.

 

However, social media has become more than just a place to share funny videos and pictures; many have begun to use their social networking sites as more of a place to rant or insult.

 

Lauren Connor, a junior kinesiology major, said she has begun to see more people using Twitter and Facebook as a place to complain, but when rants get annoying, she just “unfollows” that person.

 

“Social media meanness is a real issue,” she said. “We need to be more cautious because it could lead to bullying and more serious issues.”

 

Social media is not just an easy access to bullying but it also serves as a direct line to cutting down celebrities.

 

Nicole Polizzi, originally from “Jersey Shore,” commonly known as “Snooki,” is a victim of cyber bullying quite often, but she replies to all ugly tweets with positive and encouraging responses.

 

For example, @snooki tweeted, “Getting my workout in so I can look good in my dress for @JLaValle later.” Once reading the tweet, @Joeyl666 tweeted to @snooki “are u workin out ur face?” and @snooki replied, “Can I borrow ur pretty 1?”

 

Mack said people need to learn to be polite, and celebrities aren’t exempt.

 

“If you do not like certain people, then just leave them alone,” he said.

 

Levin said there will always be bullies, and they probably view social media as a way to be passive aggressive about what they do.

 

“For instance, because they are doing the bullying via social media, they probably don’t think they will be doing as much harm,” he said. “They are wrong.”

 

Connor said our culture is so rooted with social media that she thinks online negativity will never disappear completely, but face-to-face interaction should be encouraged.

 

“A simple decrease of the problem is better than nothing,” she said. “So if you do not like someone or something, just ‘unfollow’ and be nice.”

 

Email comments to alm085@latech.edu.

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