Social Media: Tweet Like Share
Think about how much time you spend updating your Facebook status, sending out tweets, or watching YouTube videos each day. Social media is a great way for people to connect with friends, family, and even strangers from all over the globe. In today’s world, anyone can be a creator, sharing and posting content to the Internet on a variety of social media websites and applications. A hot topic for debate these days is the question if social media is actually good or bad for us in today’s society. While most people acknowledge the innovation and usefulness of social media, there remain questions about the overall impact it has on society and individuals. Social media usage can have many negative effects on society and individuals, however the positive effects should not be ignored.
Social media can have many positive effects. One prime example of this is that social media helps people to connect with other people. In society today, people are moving around the globe more than ever. According to Sarah Snow, content writer for Social Media Today, It is rare that families and friends stay in one place forever anymore. Through social media, people can keep in contact with their friends and even connect with and make friends with people that they may not otherwise have a chance to meet (Snow, 2012). Social media also allows any person to add their voice to the global conversation (Snow, 2012). In their book, Social Media Marketing: A Strategic Approach, Melissa S. Barker, et al. point out that social media is all about conversations. Social media is not controlled by one person, organization, or government. Rather, it is created by user participation and dialogue (Barker, et al., 2013).
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Another benefit of social media is that people get information faster than ever before. In his conference speech at the XI Scientific Conference, Professor Malte Beinhauer pointed out that the time between TMZ releasing the news that pop legend, Michal Jackson had passed away to the time that Jackson’s Wikipedia page was updated was only a matter of minutes (Beinhauer, 2010). This goes to show that through social media, information is updated quickly and efficiently. These positive effects of social media are hard to miss, but some experts are a bit more skeptical.
One of the biggest drawbacks to social media is that it becomes addictive to many people. Most of us can relate to checking our phones the moment we wake up to see what is happening in the world as well as what our friends and family members are up to. It seems harmless, but the fact is that checking social media can actually produce dopamine in the brain, not unlike the effects of overuse of drugs and alcohol. As a result, many people are glued to their social media accounts effecting both their personal and professional lives (Snow, 2012). Not only is the addictive property a problem, but social media can also cause even more personal problems for people.
While some see the connections made on social media as a benefit, it remains difficult to ignore the problems with those connections. According to Brian Jung’s article for Small Business Chronicle, through social media’s influence people begin to have a difficult time distinguishing between meaningful relationships and causal relationships. Social media can cause people to focus too much of their time on casual relationships that exist in social media which causes them to spend less time fostering meaningful relationships in real life (Jung, 2016). In addition to that, social media outlets provide a sense of anonymity. As a result, people often act out on impulses that they would otherwise control. People type out hurtful responses to others, and often use cyber-bulling to condemn and embarrass one another in front of their friends. This is not a small problem as almost half of Internet users report being victim to cyber-bullying at least once (Jung, 2016). It is not secret, as many of the cases have been highly publicized in news media, that cyber-bullying can lead to both psychological devastation and has in many cases led to suicides.
It is clear that social media does actually have many negative effects. As a result, it is clear that overuse of social media should be avoided. However, in today’s society, it becomes impossible to ignore the positive impacts of social media as well. Consequently, the use of social media should not be avoided overall, but rather should be monitored and used responsibly. One of the biggest negative impacts of social media is that it wastes time. It seems fairly easy to understand that a person might be more interested at looking at their friend’s vacation photos than they would be in doing work or studying for university. One study suggests that the social media phenomenon has caused businesses in Great Britain to lose more than $2 billion each year (Jung, 2016). More than 89% of people admit to wasting time at work checking social media while even a small percentage report that they often waste up to half of an 8-hour work day (Snow, 2012). These statistics are difficult to brush aside when considering the usefulness of social media. However, it is also important to realize that people can utilize self-control when it comes to how much they are using social media. Most people know how easy it is to think “I’ll just check out today’s top stories,” and realize soon that two hours have passed while you were reading more and more updates and stories. To combat problems like this when productivity is a factor, at work or while studying, for example, simple steps can be taken. A person can turn their phone off during the times that they should be working or studying. In addition, it is simple to enter the settings menu for social media applications to turn off notifications which would help aid in battling the temptation to open the application each time a notification came through.
Another problem with social media is that it can be addictive. This problem is particularly identifiable with millennials who have had access to many sources of technology since childhood. Almost every person in the millennial generation has at least one account on some form of social media, and most have accounts on several platforms. At least one study has been done to observe the effects of what happens when millennials are denied the use of social media. The research was done by a team of professors at Texas Christian University, and the results were not very promising. Just like drug addiction, social media addiction had a negative impact on procrastination, personal relationships, and productivity of users (Bright, Grau, & Kleiser, 2015). The fact that social media can be addictive is important to acknowledge. However, we also know that many medication can be addictive, and that does not trump the positive benefits of their usage. Knowing that social media can be addictive should serve more as a warning for users. Users of social media should look for warning signs in themselves and be sure that they are maintaining healthy relationships and regular lifestyles while responsibly using social media. It should not cause a person psychological distress if they have to skip one day of using social media.
Another commonly brought up fact about social media is that it compromises privacy. Social media encourages people to share details about their lives that they may not usually openly share with other people. One example that has been seen over and over again in recent history is that college students often share their party photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. While it may be totally expected that college students will engage in some party behaviors, what is not expected is that they will post evidence of those behaviors for all the world to see. The negative impact comes around when those students have graduated and start looking for jobs. A potential employer might not look so favorably upon a person who is pictured taking shots at a party (Jung, 2016). What people tend to ignore when they post things in social media is that these posts are permanent. Even if they are deleted from the account, it is possible for the images and posts to show back up because they cannot be permanently deleted from the Internet (Snow, 2013). The easiest way to get around this negative impact is to be discerning about what is posted to one’s social media accounts. A simple rule might be to image if you would want your grandmother, or a future employer, to see these things. If not, it is probably not a good idea to post it.
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Social Media: Tweet Like Share. (2021, Oct 20). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/social-media-tweet-like-share/
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