Social Media has played a crucial role in shaping our society and has come a long way since its inception, revolutionizing the way people communicate and socialize on the web. These web-based communication tools didn’t just enable people to interact with each other but also acted as a source in connecting cultures, movements, economies, super-fandom, and much more.
Today, social media is acting as the heart of global communication. While every day is a Social Media Day, 30th June marks as an official Social Media Day, to recognize and celebrate its impact on the global audience. However, whether the impact of social media in our day-to-day lives is healthy or unhealthy remains a debatable topic to date.
Let’s consider the positive and negatives of social media, in order to draw our conclusions.
POSITIVES of Social Media
Communication and Connectivity
The fundamental purpose of social networks is to enable communication among people and connecting with each other while bridging the distance across the world. Some of the common features these networks possess include allowing users to share their information, photos, audio, and video clips, and make audio and video calls with their family, friends, loved ones, or form new acquaintances.
Source of Information
Social media platforms act as one of the largest and the latest mediums of information present today, however, the credibility of that information is questionable. These networks are excessively used as a source to seek information on serious topics, including circulating and seeking support pertaining to various social issues, health concerns, live news updates, charities, and donations, among many others.
Social media is also one of the fastest and widely spread sources of business opportunities and growth. Using these platforms, many startups, as well as existing businesses have successfully reached their target audience in the marketplace, along with facilitating direct communication with customers to understand their interests and address their queries and concerns.
NEGATIVES of Social Media
One of the disadvantages of social media networks is cyberharassment or cyberbullying. It is a common practice for some teenagers to send hateful messages, post embarrassing photos or videos on social media, or spread nasty rumours about someone. Cyberharassment is not only subjected to kids/teenagers, everyone on social media is vulnerable to this harmful, hurtful, and destructive phenomena, in the form of cyberstalking, doxxing, dogpiling, sextortion, and much more.
Lack of Privacy
Privacy is a major concern in today’s society, with the abundance of personal information uploaded by users on social media networks, as we are not aware of how much of this personal information is retained by social media platforms and what is being done with this data. In addition to this, identity theft, personal attacks, and misuse of personal information are among the biggest threats faced by social media users.
Lack of Personal Interaction
Even though social media networks provide a perfect platform for communication between individuals and for staying connected with each other, it is only superficial and lacks the ability to provide interaction among people on a personal level. The deep-rooted emotional connections, humans once had, are now being replaced with virtual words and emoticons, which are far from the reality of meeting people face-to-face and communicating in person.
A seriously destructive aspect of social media networks is their addiction, as some people spend an excessive amount of their time (between 10-14 hours) on social media, which is unhealthy. However, this cannot be true in every case, hence, it comes down to the user’s ability to balance out, organize, and improve the quality of his life.
Taking both sides of the coin into consideration (pros and cons of social media networks), the responsibility falls on the users to make the best use of social media platforms to benefit themselves and society and take necessary measures to safeguard themselves from the possible disadvantages.