In 1942, Italian physicist Enrico Fermi discovered what currently powers the majority of our world today, nuclear  energy. The world was stunned, as the shackles that entangled us to the dependence of fossil fuels had been set  free.Yet, that very same year, across the Atlantic Ocean began the Manhattan Project and the weaponization of this hailed discovery. It was used twice over sixty years ago, and what came of it was so terrible and horrifying  that it was never used again.

There is a great and ominous danger that accompanies even the most beneficial and  glorious innovations. Like nuclear power, social media has made unparalleled progress in the ways we connect and collaborate, yet threatens socialization in a very grave and serious way. Connection and collaborating with people was a much more difficult task before social media arose, which made  it easier for people to effortlessly connect with distant friends and acquaintances.

Social media has opened a door  from old methods of communication and connection, like strictly one way telephone calls and letter writing, to a modern way of connection that allows us to communicate easily and regularly. For example, networks like Facebook  allow different ideas to merge together instantly through group chats whenthis was not possible in the past.

Can you  imagine great minds like Enrico Fermi, Albert Einstein, and Robert Oppenheimer creating a Facebook Group in which  they shared and collaborated in their studies of physics and nuclear power?

I imagine with their mighty intellect the group name would have been something clever like, “anything that doesn’t matter has no mass”. Scientists today  would marvel and dream to be a virtual fly in the room during such conversations that could occur with the channels  and mediums that we have to our disposal today.

Aside from physics and nuclear power, social media makes collaboration and connection in the field of public  forum very easy to use and effective. With social media sites such as Reddit and Facebook, the world can connect  with each other by sharing ideas and thoughts, which promotes diversity. Instead of going over to other countries of the world, people around the globe can connect and debate over many topics conveniently.

The beauty of  collaboration is that each and every person has a distinct voice. By being linked to people around the world, one can  learn about a different area, their thoughts and beliefs, and culture without leaving the comfort of their homes. This  new kind of connection that social media has introduced to us has allowed us to learn more about the people of the world. Instead of believing what is taught and seen in the media that is said about other countries, we can see what  kind of country they are and their fascinating culture without having to physically go to that country.

However, all good comes with bad and all of the good that social media provides us with comes with a cost. As social media advances collaboration and connection, it also hurts the socialization of the world. Genuine friendships  are built on common interests and the ability to talk to each other smoothly but now, a friendship is considered  following somebody on Instagram or friending people on Facebook. Instead of taking time out of one’s day to talk to a friend, people take five seconds to write a quick message while doing something else. People don’t appreciate  the company of their friends anymore because all communication is done over the internet which also causes the  problem of awkwardness. Social media allow you to communicate through networks on the internet at ease because because your acquaintance cannot see you as you speak. Having a direct conversation with somebody creates  awkwardness because now you have to worry about things such as your appearance as you speak.

The black hole of laziness created by social media sucks in many people not only causing adroit speech skills and the value of relationships to decrease but also people’s motivation. Seeing something and experiencing it are  two entirely different things but social media makes people think that seeing a picture of something is the same as  personally visiting it. Instead of feeling the thrill of doing an activity like sky diving, people look at posts about it and  think that that is good enough. However, they do not get to experience the feeling of descending thousands of feet with wind blowing your face taking in the beauty of the land below. The darkness of the black hole that they have  been sucked into has blinded people so that they can no longer see the difference of sight and experience.

With any new innovation added to our world comes change that can be beneficial or detrimental depending on how it is used. Currently, how social media is being used brings positive changes in the way the world connects and  collaborates today, but hurts the way the world socializes. With the continuous advancing of social media and the  affects the way the world functions, many might wonder what lies in store for the future of humankind and the ways of  socialization and collaboration.

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...