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The present age is featured as the era of social
media and online networks. This new type of communication is a result of the
great evolution of information and computer science technology that has played
an important role in facilitating the creation and sharing of information via virtual
communities. It is obvious that the virtual community, or-in other words- the
network society is trying to replace the traditional ways of interaction
between people. The reasons behind this aspect are mainly related to the
simplicity and ease of use of social media that provide a wide space for
expressions and interactions. In addition, social media allows us to control
our feelings when we are behind our keyboards or cell phones instead of showing
them spontaneously when we are in a direct face-to-face interaction. Today,
countries and communities around the world are more connected through Facebook,
Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Skype, and other online applications that make
this entire globe a smaller place. Information technology has therefore played
a great role in facilitating everyday communication between people through
social media.

However, the extensive use of social media could
affect people’s face-to-face interaction which is a type of interpersonal communication.
During interpersonal communication we are exchanging information, feelings, and
meaning through verbal and non-verbal messages like for instance the tone of
voice, facial expressions, gestures and body language 1. This is essential in
everyday life and is inevitable for building societies. That’s why people and
generations throughout the history focused on arts like singing, dancing or
acting to define their cultures and communities. Delivering all types of
interpersonal interactions is therefore less achievable via social media. This
means that social media may not completely substitute the interpersonal
communication although it is considered very effective in our lives. Nowadays, people
are becoming more obsessed with their personal computers, cell phones, and
ipads in a strong manner so that they are unable to live without it. In this
sense, it is important to investigate the importance of social media in
everyday life and its ability to affect face-to-face interaction. The question
of this research is: What is the impact of social media on interpersonal
communication?

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I.              
Literature Review

There are several
studies that have addressed the impact of social media on the interpersonal
communication. The majority of these studies showed that social media indeed
affects the face-to-face communication between people especially among
teenagers and students. In her study “The Effect of Technology on Face-to-Face
Communication”, Emily Drago investigated a survey on students and found that the
majority of students (74%) use their cell phone sometimes when they are with
family or friends, and 46% said they communicate with friends or family more
frequently via technology than in person 2.

“The Impact of
the Internet on Teenagers’ Face-to-Face Communication” by Nuhu Diraso Gapsiso
and Joseph Wilson proved that the use of the Internet by the teenagers has
reduced the amount of time they spend engaging in face-to-face communication
with their family members. For instance, 66% reported that their face-to-face
communication has decreased. Most of the respondents considered communication
through the internet better than face-to-face communication because it brought
them much closer to their friends and helped them to make new friends 3.

Also, The “Impact
of Social Media on Interpersonal Communication Patterns” by Velga Vevere
mentioned that according to Facebook philosophy, social media affects how we
use social media affects how we present ourselves and how others perceive us,
It affects our our identity, our privacy and our relationship maintenance behaviors 4.

In this research,
we will extend our study to people of different ages so that we include all
members of the society.

II.             
Research
Methodology

A number of 100 participants will be chosen
randomly to answer a survey of 16 questions (see Appendix). They will be of
different ages, genders, and occupations. The questions will inform us about
the extent of the participants’ attachment to social media as well as their
opinion about this topic. They will also answer questions about their
interpersonal communication with their families and friends. According to their
answers, we will be able to estimate the impact of social media on
interpersonal communication.

III.           
Expected Results

Depending on
the survey, the results can be summarized into four main points:

–      
The majority of participants will
declare that they use social media everyday and check their accounts whenever
new notification appears, no matter whether they are busy or having a
face-to-face communication with others.

–      
The majority of the
participants will declare that they have a lot of friends on social media that
they don’t know personally, whereas they have not more than five real close
friends.

–      
The majority of the
participants are attached to Social Media despite their age, gender, and
occupation. There is a high possibility that teenagers and young people are
addicted to Social media more than adults.

–      
The majority of the
participants will declare that Social Media is affecting the face-to-face communication
with others negatively.

IV.          
Discussion:

Based on this
study, we can say that social media is undoubtedly affecting face-to-face
interaction in a negative manner. In other words, the increase of using social
media decreases the interpersonal communication. It is worth noting that this conclusion
is also very well known by people because the majority of the participants in
our survey admitted this fact. Despite that, people still depend on social
media without any intentions to diminish its use. This can be well illustrated
from the answers on question.1 (see Appendix) where the majority of
participants said that they respond quickly to their notifications. This could
be due to people’s ignorance on the importance of interpersonal communication
and its effect on the society. According to these results, we expect that
social media will have a great influence on our personal lives in the coming
years leading to a change in the structure of our society.

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