The introduction of Social Media into our lives:
The introduction of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram has single handily changed society and altered the way we view ourselves and other people.
Take a walk down any high street and around 70% of people will be on mobile devices or will be clutching one as if it was a newborn child, leading experts to have serious concerns about the overall effect that Facebook and other social media platforms are having on our lives.
However, before we begin slamming social media and casting judgement we should outline both the advantages and disadvantages of social media below:
What are the advantages of Social Media?
- Staying in touch with family members and friends has never been easier through the use of social media. I myself can vouch for about 7 different occasions where my grandmother has shown me an old school friend and then proceeded to express her absolute amazement of Facebook’s capabilities, considering the nearest thing she had to a social media platform growing up was a speed dating profile written on an A4 piece of paper in the local town hall.
- Social Media is one of the best ways to find and interact with new people who have the same interests as you, as social media allows you to seek out groups that are focused towards your own interests and hobbies. This can be great for meeting new friends but also for love interests and internet dating which has become more popular than traditional face to face meeting, thanks to social media and the likes of Tinder.
- Social media is a great way to spread news quickly across the globe, with “breaking news” tweets receiving tens of thousands of retweets in minutes. This can be highly useful when updating individuals on important information such as weather updates and missing children.
- Social media is also a great way to catch international criminals and terrorists, as anyone with a social media profile can be tracked and located. This can be highly beneficial when it comes to solving and preventing crimes.
- As mentioned above social media has overall changed society in multiple positive ways but for absolutely no extra cost as all major social media platforms are free. Try and think of another product or service that has ever changed your life as much as social media and then think about its cost ( your car for example).
Disadvantages of Social Media:
- As mentioned above one social media’s main advantages is the fact that information can be spread to millions of people in a very short amount of time. Although this can be seen as a huge positive in an event in an emergency (as mentioned above) it can also be a huge disadvantage as information with no validity can be shared instantly. This can cause severe misinformation and panic. An example of this can be seen when a rumour spread that the Queen has passed away, down to the Queen missing a Christmas service down to a common cold. This plus multiple hoaxers creating fake news articles made many believe that the Queen has passed away.
- Cyberbullying is a huge issue caused by social media platforms as having 24-hour access into someone’s life can lead to issues, especially for the younger generation as users can leave hurtful and intimidating messages on each other’s profiles outside of school time.
- (On the highly extreme side of the spectrum) Social media can be used by terrorist groups to help spread hate about certain groups of individuals, but also can be used to help recruit and radicalise young and misguided individuals to join groups.
- Social media can become extremely addictive as some individuals are more worried about portraying a perfect life on their social media profile, rather than actually experiencing it. This addiction can lead to a drop in productivity, causing grades to plummet or even limit an individual’s progress. In some extreme cases, users are forced to attend rehab centres to get over their social media addictions and to help return to a normal life.
Social Media Affect on Today’s Society:
Social Media’s effect on modern politics:
Social media plays huge rolls in modern day politics and is one of (if not) the most valuable assets that parties use to gain votes. This is down to the pure reach of social media and its capabilities to be seen by millions of people in a matter of minutes. Take a look back at the last election campaigns in the UK and see how both parties spent millions on social media to help tarnish each other’s names and policies.
Social Media’s effect on business:
Social media has changed the way most businesses operate and run on a daily basis with 91% of large corporate businesses having two or more different social media profiles interacting and promoting products.
Social Media’s effect on individual’s:
The rise of social media has unfortunately meant an increase of social introverts in the Uk and across the globe. The constant use and dependence on Social Media lead these social recluse’s unable to speak and communicate outside the virtual interaction safety net of Facebook, instead of talking to individuals in a normal face to face manor, ultimately lowering his/her social intellect. This has serious repercussions and can cause people to resent traditional human contact.
Why are some experts worried about the effect of social media?
This increase in virtual communication is leading to a huge issue with national social skills, leading experts to predict a huge increase in the levels of unemployment across the globe and an overall serious skills shortage.
Fun Facts About Social Networking:
- There are overall 2.3 Billion worldwide active social media users.
- 91% of large corporate brands have two or more social media platforms.
- 65% of all individuals feel uncomfortable and uneasy when they are unable to gain access to their social media profiles.