Analysis Of Social Cohesion Brought By Digital Technologies
Entering the 20th century, where information becomes a resource that is even more important than the energy of raw materials, an integrated and thriving economy, coupled with the needs of social life, the emergence of digital technologies has brought the world many wonders. For over the past 50 years, technology has grown exponentially, people no longer have difficulty in connecting with each other, with only a multitude of devices that are now available to the public has changed the ways people communicate drastically. We are now communicating through digital platforms and domains called social media – a type of communicative technology, where we not only use to call or text but also share our moments through photos or videos, and can even see each other directly via video calls.
Nowadays, our world is completely saturated with social media, as consumers become more dependent on services like Twitter and Facebook for both personal and business purposes; and communication through technology has become a social phenomenon. According to the World Wide Web Foundation, there are approximately 700 million tweets with 5 million photographs uploaded to Instagram every day and over 2 billion active users access to Facebook a day (Internetlivestats.com, n.d.). We, who live in modern society, cannot deny the substantial role of digital technology in making our lives more convenient and efficient.
However, with the widespread presence of digital technologies, people are taking their presentation of self and relationships to a more digital domain. That obsession has developed people to be aware of the effect of it on the users’ real relationships. We are dominated by social media and gradually become closed to real relationships – family and friends around us. So, is it true that the use of digital technology has caused our society to disconnected or this is one of the greatest changes our world has ever experienced?
Digital technology is a modern invention that reaches the pinnacle of the human world and has become an indispensable friend in each of our lives. It does not only play a major role in the field of economics and politics but also deeply affects the spiritual life of each person. With the development of social networks, the internet helps us relieve stress and fatigue with cultural information, music, and games through entertainment websites. Moreover, it helps to connect people who are thousands of kilometers away from each other by social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, for instance. From there, people can send e-mail to contact, encourage each other through text messages or visually chat via the small screen.
Therefore, the digital world has become a bridge of confidences, sharing love and harmonious hearts. It is a social cohesion that we always want to look forward to, regardless of where the people are, they can involve in sharing values and communities of interpretation consistently, which conducting them a kinesthesia of engaging to a community, facing shared disputes, and reminds them that they are in the same community (Stanley, 2003). Notwithstanding that digital technology has enhanced our quality of life, however, young people today never take their eyes off their digital devices, especially their smartphones, showing that the young generation is abusing social media unnecessarily and gradually become its slave.
The way people are communicating with each other frantically through the use of Twitter, Facebook and instant messaging can be seen as a modern ‘crazy’ form. We become haunted by interacting and exchanging through digital media rather than meeting face to face, some people even become scared when they have to step out of the house and communicate with people on the road. According to what Professor Sherry Turkle of MIT Institute of Technology wrote in her book Alone Together with content against what she called ‘the information age’: being obsessed with communication via social networks is a behavior that has become universal can still show problems we call pathological symptoms (Turkle, 2012).
Opinions about digital technologies make our society fragile really force us to think and worry. It does not deny the role of those technologies in human life but also points out the drawbacks. But as a young generation, I believe that digital technologies create cohesion for our society. Along with that belief, through case studies in Vietnam and Singapore, this paper will prove that digital technologies, especially social networks, bring about more social cohesion than fragmentation.
According to Robin Williams and David Edge, ‘Central to the social shaping of technology is the concept that there are choices (though not necessarily conscious choices) inherent in both the design of individual artifacts and systems and in the direction or trajectory of innovation programs.’ (Williams and Edge, 1996).
Korean pop fan being connected through social media platforms
Since the late 1990s, the wave of Korean style, known as ‘Hallyu Wave’, has spread and captured the attention of many people around the world (Oh, 2017). The ‘wave’ mentioned above includes 3 categories: fashion, film and pop music. Nevertheless, Korean pop music (Kpop) is a well-organized and pre-planned culture product illustrating combined effort of the music industry’s marketing strategies, strong global fandom and YouTube’s strong contribution (Ono and Kwon, 2013).
With the fusion of synthesized music, homogeneous choreography, and contemporary outfits, Korean pop music had led the way and become a huge phenomenon for the young generation, especially in Vietnam.
Along with the huge expansion of the Korean music industry is the development of idol-support fandoms. Fans who love and admire a certain idol group will gather on social media forums, called fan-page, where they can share idols’ photos, videos. It is also a place for people with similar interests in K-pop music to make friends and interact with each other. No matter who they are and where they are, they can all participate. In addition to the fact that they communicate with each other through the love of an idol, they also have offline meetings by organizing charities under idols’ name and promoting Vietnamese culture to their foreign friends, for instance.
Singapore – Elderly keeping up with technology
Singapore is often known as a wire-up society where digital technologies infiltration rates amongst the highest in the world. Yet, older citizens still undergo social exclusion as a result of new technologies blindness. Therefore, Singapore has been planning and executing different projects to keep the elderly safe and help them to keep up with our “information age”:
Singapore wants to have a break-through the ‘invisible wall’ has separated the generations, thereby building a more coherent society with sustainability and liveability, towards becoming a ‘smart country’ where citizens are not only satisfied with material needs but also spiritually.
In conclusion, we cannot deny that we should have a clearer understanding of the fact that digital technologies create a gap between people. But overall, digital technologies have helped us to have a more convenient life, help us to stay in touch with our loved ones from a distance, connect us with new friends, as well as their support for elderly to communicate and catch up with the pace of this new age. And I affirm that digital technologies, on the whole, bring about more social cohesion than fragmentation.
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Introduction Entering the 20th century, where information becomes a resource that is even more important than the energy of raw materials, an integrated and thriving economy, coupled with the needs […]