The Malta Independent 23 August 2019, Friday

The reality of our modern Maltese society: you and your technology

Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 09:17 Last update: about 3 months ago

Luke Ellul

For the past four years now, I have been a Communications student at the University of Malta, the kind of course that gives importance to the smallest of details and tries to give you an overview of each aspect around us, being journalism, philosophy, English rhetoric, sociology and so on.

In my last year in this course specifically, I realised even more how important social media is and how it affects us on a daily basis. In fact, that was my choice of research for my thesis, evaluating the effects of social media on different ages on Maltese society, taking specifically the young millennials and those that are in their 50s or older.

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Specifically, I've really come to know even more how no matter the age, social media has become such a big part of our lives, even more than you and I might even know. Everyone has directly or indirectly been sucked into this digital world, something that nowadays we could call inevitable. With the results obtained from a simple questionnaire posted on my Facebook profile, I came to the conclusion that, as expected, people that are in the younger age group stated that they use social media more than three hours a day whilst the majority of the older age group stated they use social media for at least an hour a day. Something that was quite predictable, having millennials rely more on technology and social media than others.

More than 90% of the 230 responses representing the '18-25' age group each had selected that they own an Instagram (96.9%) and a Facebook (99.57%) account, whilst more than three quarters of a total of 118 responses of the '50-75' age group had selected that they own a Facebook (96.6%) account . This goes to show how, no matter the age, these applications have become essential nowadays and they all have a specific purpose and reason of why in fact they are owned by individuals.

These for some might just seem a bunch of numbers and percentages, but in reality they are statistics portraying facts. It's really fascinating, how everyone nowadays, being the millennials or people that still remember the old days are so reliant on social media and its many platforms.

You can't get by without them. Yet there are a few reasons of why this in fact so. Nowadays, most of the people want to be included, they want to be part of something that could be considered bigger than them. For those younger in age, it comes almost naturally really.

For those older in age, an old lady in her late 60s would like a Facebook profile just like their grandson just so she could post an embarrassing clip on his timeline, or maybe even get to read more news posted through a quicker, more consistent basis. Another reason why people tend to go for social media more nowadays is because that's the way things go nowadays.

Actions such as communication, sharing, buying and selling, exchanging, learning, meeting, gaming etc.; were are all actions which were adapted by both the young and the old in the past. Things that used to be carried out in a specific, more personal manner. However, taking into consideration nowadays and the digital age we live in, these factors are presently managed and done primarily through technology, where the merge with this modern age took place.

It is the emerging online life of the digital native.  We now share and communicate through Facebook and Twitter, and post photos through Instagram. We tend to learn through the likes of Wikipedia and YouTube, which for many is their primary  source of information, whilst also buying and selling through the various online sites like eBay and Amazon, where no or barely any sense of communication takes place. This contributes to the perception that is naturally adopted by generations. Those who didn't use social media and technology in order to carry out all of these actions would generally state that they are not living life how it was intended to be lived, seeing how nowadays we carry out all of these actions whilst being sucked into a world that could do us more harm than good.

On the other hand, the more modern generations would state that they are carrying out these actions differently from the previous generations, as that is the way of the future, and it would be illogical and unnatural to reject it, hence one must embrace it as much as possible. 


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