What is Social Media?
Social media has facilitated a lot in reshaping communication industry and redefining the ways in which we communicate and express ourselves.
Social media engages people constantly and accumulate everyone in some or the other trending activity. People have embraced social media so persistently that it has become an integral part of our lives now. It is being used not only by individuals but also businesses, organisations and governments, who are utilising Social Media platforms for constant engagement with the masses.
However, social media has both its advantages and disadvantages.
It’s true that social media has proved to be very useful for everyone and it offers a global platform to share and express, but its constant engagement is affecting individual productivity, relationships and society as a whole.
Let us do a ‘3-Point Analysis’ to help come to a conclusion
Point 1: Background Check
Social networking began in the form of generalised online communities to assemble people having similar interests and sharing any information or ideas.
•Google became popular as a principal internet search engine in 1998.
•Wikipedia started as an online encyclopaedia in 2001.
•Myspace and LinkedIn came into existence as social networking sites in 2003.
•Most popular social networking site, Facebook got launched in 2004.
As of 2017, 45% of the world’s internet users are on social networking sites.
Some examples of worldwide famous social networking sites are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest etc.
Facebook got launched in 2004 and now has become the largest social networking site in the world. More than one billion people are active users on Facebook on a daily basis.
No wonder it connects people globally and has become a part of so many people’s lives, but it has its own drawbacks.
In a recent study, it was revealed that 33% of divorce cases, ruined reputations, wrecked relationships are caused by Facebook. Suicide attempts even successful suicides caused by cyberbullying are manifested by some social networking sites.
Point 2: Positive Side
Social media provides many advantages for individuals and society:
•Increases Knowledge – You can improve and enhance your skills by sharing your ideas, knowledge and information with millions of people even if they are miles away from you.
•Easiest Connection – You can keep in touch with your friends at all times from any corner of the world and can find anyone if you lose contact.
•Educational Purposes – Educational institutes, teachers and professors can extend their classroom discussions and post assignments, quizzes and tests and assist students with homework.
•Common Interests – Social media gives teens with unusual interest and hobbies a place to share information and passion. Social media helps them to enhance and manage their social lives.
•Benefits for Businesses – Social media marketing is an excellent tool that businesses are using to get exposure at a much lower cost than any other means of traditional marketing. Everything is just one click and one post away.
•Builds your Brand – Social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook help in attracting new customers and engross the customers with products which makes their brand popular. It enables a business to get new information about their customers and improve their customer services.
Point 3: Negative Side
As per 2017 statistics, a person spends an average of 135 minutes per day on social media.
It is distracting for everyone and especially the younger generation. They are always glued to their mobiles, computers, tablets which is a wastage of time and leads to less interaction with family and friends.
Let’s look at some of the disadvantages of social media:
•Constant Comparison: People use their social profiles to project their lives as “perfect”, and people increasingly compare their lives with others and think of themselves as low. It decreases their happiness levels and leads to self-esteem issues.
•Threat of Hackers: Privacy is a major drawback of social media platforms and their increased use. Hacking accounts and using other person’s personal information for malicious intentions has been an issue since the usage of social media started and it has been only increasing.
•Addiction: People are becoming so addicted to social media that they are spending most of their time on it instead of doing any other productive or significant work. Lots of people now prefer online conversations rather than meeting in person, which is weakening their relationships. It also affects communication skill and socialising abilities.
•Health Issues – Health is the most important aspect of one’s life, and it is getting badly affected as many people spend all day in front of their computers or on their mobiles phones.
•Credibility – There are no reliable measures to check the credibility of the news and videos present on social media. People easily believe and don’t even think twice to check whether the news or piece of information is credible or not. Hence, thoughts of the innocent people get easily shaped and influenced by distorted information.
•Online Bullying and Harassment: Also known as cyberbullying, it’s the biggest danger for people and affects them badly, especially teenagers. There is a high risk for children and teenagers from cyberstalking.
•Depression – Anxiety and depression is the most underrated disadvantage of social media. Anyone who gets trolled over social media or is harassed easily get into depression. The person who is trolled by social media can’t get out of depression easily.
A latest 2018 poll has revealed that there have so many cases where people were harassed and went into severe depression, sometimes leading to deaths and suicides.
Whether social media is a blessing or a curse, entirely depends on how we use it. Social media can give you fantastic returns if you use it positively, on the other hand, you can waste a big chunk of your time on social media if you are doing it just to pass the time.
No matter how much information or entertainment we are enjoying through social media, however, life can be great if you spend less time on social networking sites and more time in the real world.