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The Changing Dynamic of Online Social Interaction

The Changing Dynamic of Online Social Interaction

Modern communication as we know it will be forever united by emerging technology. Communication methods are changing as technology advances to allow individuals to interact with one another online and share information almost instantaneously. Contemporary social interaction is primarily done on the internet through electronic mail and social networking – yet there are a variety of other aspects of social interaction that have undergone change.

Educational Impact of Online Social Interaction

Online social communication enriches the way students learn. A Department of Education study discovered that students involved in online learning platforms performed slightly better than those in traditional face-to-face classrooms. In an online setting, students interact with one another to collaborate on group projects, assignments and provide support to answer questions via the internet.

Today’s students can still find a learning community that’s equally as reputable as the brick-and-mortar education model and provides the same amount of support. Online students can take advantage of multimedia study materials, video lectures and discussion boards that act as a round-the-clock study session where students can participate at their convenience.

Student response to digital learning is evident through demand. More than 75 percent of the nation’s colleges now offer online degrees.

Online Social Interaction Merges with Offline Communities

It may be hard for individuals to ignore the progressively blurred line between social media and face-to-face interaction. A Pew study found 40 percent of smartphone users access social networks. Physical contact continues to be replaced by personal profiles that offer insight to the images, innermost thoughts and life chronologies of the people who curate them. The Pew study also found evidence that defies the notion of isolation through technology. Facebook users are more engaged with their friends, develop more relationships and have greater ability to maintain these social ties than non-Facebook users.

In terms of social interaction, social media has improved the ability for individuals to connect with one another, share information and stay up-to-date with each other’s lives. Typically individuals send messages and share options on these channels. Communication through various social media networks often times spur discussions that initiate social interaction that previously took place in a face-to-face setting.

Between younger generations native to this digital technology and older generations eager to learn how to operate within this new form of social interaction, the number of luddites left in the virtual dark is narrowing. Online social interaction also enables digital users to close the gaps of distance between friends and family that live in different states or across the world.

Online Social Communication and Business

The communication in chat rooms, on Facebook and on Twitter may have started as a pastime for bored or curious Internet users, but it’s transformed into a viable business tool. One study found that 96 percent of companies are boosting their investment in social media efforts.

Companies can harness platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and SlideShare as a way to collaborate and disseminate ideas to other departments or clients. These social mediums may also be used to enhance branding campaigns by producing an organic visibility among search engines that is beneficial to the e-commerce of companies.

During the recruitment process, companies can utilize online platforms to interact with potential candidates. Videos can be used to explain a company’s brand or mission and promote it on platforms like YouTube or Vimeo. Human Resource departments can also access video chat technology like Skype for interviews, which saves on the expense associated with having a candidate travel to their location. Companies can also tap into crowdsourcing for talent or various services.

On the other side of the spectrum, social media may also swallow up valuable bandwidth that costs companies money. Facebook accounts for 6 percent of all web traffic for businesses while YouTube utilizes 8 percent. As a result, companies seek to determine effective ways to reduce these productivity costs.

The prevalence of online communication in our daily learning, social interactions and business endeavors demonstrates that we are at a crossroads where technology will never be far behind any of our social exchanges. For students pursuing an online master’s degree in applied psychology from Sacred Heart University Online, proficiency in the complex web that weaves humans and technology together, can help them adapt and understand the field’s changing dynamic.