Technology has influenced the current society in several ways, from social, individual, to academic levels. The Internet has been used to control the world both from a professional and personal perspective. Academically, humanities, history, natural and applied sciences, and social sciences have been impacted by the Internet in society. Technology through the Internet has influenced the four academic lenses by providing a means of further research, room and opportunity for extensive learning, accessibility to quality education, digital media interaction, conversant with the latest changes, and improved interaction between a teacher and the students. The Internet has impacted the academic disciplines of history, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences in various institutions.
Given the rise exponentially in the use of the Internet, digital literacy and history teaching has expanded within the institutions. Expert practitioners and policymakers had arguments and disconnects that history education could not be experienced via the radical changes in technology (Mann, 2020). This has been proven wrong with time with the current educational institutions where the teaching and learning of the history lessons take place through the Internet. This includes research, assignments, interactions, and question and answer sessions (Mann, 2020). Digitalization of the existing historical sources and archives has been enhanced through the Internet, which has positively improved educational experiences in learning institutions.
The discipline of humanities is involved with areas such as religion, philosophy, literature, languages, and the arts, including music and drama. Technology through the Internet has improved social relations as well as professionalism in this educational realm. Access to facilities and resources, for instance, within the art lessons, has been enhanced and made easier (Mann, 2020). This has improved the quality of education as there is a variety of means to access knowledge, information, and educational resources, hence an increased learning opportunity (Trowler, 2020). Internet access within educational institutions will have a developmental impact on learners, scholars, and the teachers in the humanities department.
Natural sciences with chemistry, geophysics, and biology focus and aim to understand the natural world during the learning process. Technology via the Internet has further enhanced this in various ways, and academic institutions have noticed the impact. Several studies have seen an increase in students who used the Internet for learning and research purposes, unlike those who did not (Trowler, 2020). It serves as a source of scientific information and study resources. Looking through the lens of natural sciences in the academic discipline, using technology through the Internet has made learning more accessible and exciting in institutions as assignments and practical activities can be delved into with ease.
The field of social sciences encompasses disciplines such as psychology, anthropology, law, sociology, and archaeology. Social scientists, including learners and teachers, use the Internet in testing theories, and research has been done to come up with accurate data (Mann, 2020). The Internet is not only a source of information but a means of interaction and improved relations among students and scholars within the institutions.
The general educational lenses of history, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences have been greatly influenced by technological advances, including the use of the Internet in the learning process. This has made the educational experience enjoyable and in-depth for students, scholars, and teachers, with an opportunity for better professionalism, further learning, and improved relations in society.
Through Lenses of History and Humanities
Internet social media has become the most extensive and fastest-growing media market in the 21st century. Over 4 billion people worldwide have social media accounts (Ortner et al., 2018). And about 60% of that number are avid social media users (Ortner et al., 2018). The creation of platforms like Facebook and Youtube, and other similar online entities had a tremendous impact on humanity and the lives of individual citizens, allowing them to exchange information much faster and without the threat of potential censorship. At the same time, the creation of these technologies also affected its users on a biological scale. The purpose of this essay is to evaluate and analyze the design and development of Internet social media through the lenses of history and humanities.
The historical lens primarily concerns itself with what happened and reasons for it, establishing correlations and causality connections between different events. Even prior to the modern technological developments, the emerging methods of information sharing gave a significant boost to the overall progress of humanity (Rosol et al., 2018). From a historical perspective, social media is a natural development of other forms of media, which is a process formulated mainly by progress and technology (Haustein et al., 2016). Previous ways of information dissemination, such as newspapers, radio, TV, and others, were considered significant breakthroughs at their time, all of them gradually increasing the visibility, availability, and representability of media. Newspapers became a viable concept after creating the printing press, which enabled the masses access to information in general – something previously available only in rare and expensive books (Haustein et al., 2016). However, that form of media was limited by how fast it was capable of reaching the receivers.
Radio media surpassed that obstacle, able to supply news directly to the users with great speeds of radio waves, but struggled to transmit visual information. That milestone was reached by television, which enabled the users to receive both visual and audio data at their convenience. Likewise, modern Internet social media came as a logical development from creating the Internet (Haustein et al., 2016). It is superior to TV in a way that it allows for viewers to not only receive the information but actively create and distribute it, allowing for proactivity. The Internet, on the other hand, gives people tools not only to broadcast but to receive any type of information instantaneously and safely, making it a critical utility for both governments and private organizations (Rosol et al., 2018). This implication alone had changed society altogether, and social media is a product of this development.
The humanities lens concerns itself with viewing the subject through the prism of a wide range of subjects and disciplines. Some of these include art, literature, philosophy, and others (Ortner et al., 2018). From the perspective of the humanities lens, social media can be viewed as an art form. Its use of visual design, humor, memes and other structures could convey both an art message, a representation of personal and collective systems of values, as well as political stances on various issues (Haustein et al., 2016). At the same time, these representations would mirror and be heavily influenced by the times that produced them, as could be seen in the gradual evolution of the meme culture between 2000-2021, with memes reflecting the values of the society in relation to events occurring in the particular time periods.
From the perspectives of history and humanities, Internet social media is an amalgamation of cultural values, historical events, and the technological development of society. As it stands, it is currently the most advanced form of media available, combining all of the benefits of previous forms with an opportunity to directly engage with content creators or be creators on one’s own. It is likely to evolve further, engaging other senses and following the trends of cultural and technological development. Analyzing the development of social media through these two lenses would enable to project of its growth and trends in the future.
Through Lenses of Social and Applied Sciences
The perspectives on the creation and development of social media vary depending on the lens utilized to analyze the event. While humanities and history lenses are perhaps some of the most widely-known and widespread points of perspective, others offer valuable and unique insights. Social and applied sciences view technological developments through the prism of astronomy, geology, chemistry, physics, and biology, and some cross-disciplines like oceanography, environmental science, and computer sciences. Additional areas of inquiry include political and anthropological studies. This essay will evaluate social media from the perspective of these two lenses.
The social lens connects the development of social media in its present form with the development of democracy and a need for information as a means of change. The 21st century saw many social movements rise to improve the situation of the underprivileged, minorities, women, and others (Sudarmanto & Meliala, 2020). The first decade was colored in multiple revolutions against totalitarian regimes in the Middle East. Hong Kong protests made use of social media for propaganda and coordination. On the other side, social media was used to propagate false beliefs and information, as a tool in political warfare and as a means of gathering intelligence on individuals (Sudarmanto & Meliala, 2020). Thus, the influence of social media was ambivalent but not outside of the historical paradigm.
Technology can be either beneficial or harmful depending on its application by the majority of users. Positive aspects of social media can be easily traced to the greatly increased opportunities for education, communication, and easier cooperation for those who use it, knowing how to avoid harassment, dangerous individuals, and disinformation (Akram & Kumar, 2017). Social media is a powerful information tool regardless of the harmful actions some of its users are able to perform through it.
Applied Science Lens
From the position of applied sciences, a curious aspect involving social media relates to the users’ physical and psychological health. Modern-day individuals spend more time browsing the media than anyone else before them, with an average of 3-4 hours, and going as far as up to 16 (Guinta & John, 2018). At the same time, the recommended time to be spent using the computer or any other type of technology with social media access is around 45 minutes – 1 hour a day (Guinta & John, 2018). Firth et al. (2019) state that “various types of Internet usage could differentially affect the brain and cognitive processes – in both adverse and beneficial ways,” especially among children (p. 119). The overuse of technology has a significant impact on one’s cognitive abilities. Users tend to suffer from worsening eyesight, poor sleeping patterns, oversaturation with blue light, and various health problems associated with the practice perpetrated by the addictive nature of social media.
Overuse of social media gives rise to a myriad of psychological problems as well. It could develop into an addictive habit, which impairs normal day-to-day functioning. The lack of face-to-face relationships results in the loss of social skills, poor communication with peers, and unnecessary drama between individuals (Guinta & John, 2018). The second major aspect of digital communication is the need to uphold online presence, which leads to constant distraction (Firth et al., 2019). It also opens a new avenue for cyberbullying and the pursuit of victims by perpetrators outside of everyday spaces of social interaction, such as schools. With social media sites being notoriously absent in oversight and censorship, it becomes easy to harass targets unmolested (Guinta & John, 2018). In short, social media, for all of its benefits, also contributes to a significant number of physical and psychological-related deficiencies for modern generations.
Social media is a powerful political tool for both progressive and reactionary forces. It was demonstrated in the past 20 years that it could be used to spark revolutions and drive social change, as well as a tool to suppress and deceive large groups of people, like it was done during the US election campaigns of 2016, 2020, as well as Brexit. From the applied science lens, social media and technology affiliated with it introduced a myriad of new health hazards that are mainly lacking in recognition in the medical field, meaning a significant lack of interventions against them. The benefits of social media, thus, are offset by the potential hazards it introduces.
In conclusion, there are many changes that continue to emerge from the development of social media and the Internet. Their profound impact on humanity has both positive and negative sides, as such a powerful communication tool introduced a number of new phenomena. It is crucial to understand that technology itself does not produce this outcome, as the users define the results of its application (Akram & Kumar, 2017). Through the four lenses assessment, it is possible to trace how the Internet and social media are shaped and simultaneously affect society.
Depending on the context, the digital interactions can lead to positive or negative behavioral and physical changes. The four lenses provide a sufficient basis for the analysis and correction of these changes by giving a greater understanding of the underlying processes behind the interaction within social media networks. Their ability to capture attention can be detrimental, yet the reason behind this phenomenon is their sheer potential for connection. The analysis of the effects of technology on society enables scientists from both fields to cooperate and positively affect the outcomes. Digital data allows researchers to acquire knowledge about these effects on a massive scale and transfer this knowledge into innovations that diminish the adverse impact of social media (Rosol et al., 2018). However, there are challenges that remain present, such as the spread of misinformation, antisocial behavior, and other negative aspects of online communication. Many other fields of human society benefit significantly from it, and social media brings many cultures closer together.
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