The influence of social media has led to the encouragement of action and challenging of the status quo.Social norms are usually the unwritten social behaviors that are to be expected in a society or a social group. It’s a required standard; such as completing higher education in a certain social group, getting married during a certain age period, or gender assigned roles. Norms enforce conformity of behavior and order in every social group, even among marginalized groups and anarchists, but they do not necessarily represent functional principles or justice and equality.
The setting of norms starts early at home by the roles that define both parents and continue to form as we grow throughout the stages of our lives. They are reinforced by the experiences we endure and in-return for the acceptance we receive. Today, acceptance is no longer limited to a local society or a social group, but rather a global society we are connected to by social media. What makes social media more influential in comparison to traditional media (TV, Newspapers, and Radio) is its globally interactive aspect as well as the mass amount of information flow it provides.
Social media provides access to information that may have been limited in the past and, more importantly, an eye into other societies. This puts the validity of our own norms into question, which can be both a positive or negative consequence.
The ability to interact, debate, and express freely online has led to the encouragement of action and challenging the status quo. Take for instance the rise of gender equality and female rights movement online led by independent activists. The repetition of this subject online has led to worldwide awareness due to its mass and borderless audience and the effectiveness of repetition on persuasion for multiple media outlets. This, without a doubt, works on the normalization of female rights and equality, further pushing patriarchal systems in reform and the shaming of inequality on a bigger scale. This effect is leading to the formation of new social norms to conform to in pursuit of acceptance and avoidance of isolation.
In the end, reforming social norms takes great responsibility and balanced evaluation by both the individual and the institution seeking change, but since crowd psychology doesn’t solely depend on logic, it is safe to assume that we’ll face many social and cultural obstacles in the future.
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