- What is social media?
We can define Social Media as a platform which enables people to interact and socially connect to other people in the society and around the world. It is the medium through which we communicate and share our opinions on everything under the sun.
The number of internet users world-wide up to 2019 was 4.38billion, increasing tremendously, every hour. The global number of people using social media has grown by 13 percent in the past 12 months, with Central and Southern Asia recording the fastest gains.
- The Social Media Giants
Facebook is the most preferred social media platform. With more than 2000 million Facebook users over the world, if a country is constituted with them, it would be the world’s third largest, behind China and India. The other popular social media platforms are You Tube, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp etc.
- Growing importance
It has been observed from the research that every nine out of ten companies in United States are implementing marketing practices through social media. Professionals consider LinkedIn more important than any other social media network.
HOW HAS SOCIAL MEDIA BEEN BENEFICIAL?
- A way of expressing yourself
Social media provides a global platform to express one’s views and ideas without any reservations or biasness. Through Social media, youth is exchanging ideas & views in a win-win situation. Youth are gaining much better perspectives, when it comes to cultural differences and misunderstandings. It promotes interpersonal communication and group dynamics while eliminating the barriers to communication.
- Connectivity Factor
It has the ability to connect people across the world. Social media sites such as LinkedIn help job seekers to find jobs and builds professional connections across the globe. It is an easy source to promote education and help students via YouTube e-learning sessions or applications such as Unacademy.
- Social Media Marketing
Almost all age groups are available on social media so instead of wasting money on ads, campaigns, they become more consumer centric via social media. On the other hand, people also get informed and learned about the products more frequently and easily in this mode. There are many people who have set their business using social media alone. Instagram is one of the most used platforms in this regard.
- Unites people
We have been observing the support social media has given during the times of natural disasters. It helps to unite people during the crisis, raising funds, asking help and so on. Social media has united the public for many noble causes and protests around the world. If not for social media, this would not be possible.
- Helps to spread awareness
One of the significant impacts of social media is the tremendously increased awareness of the masses in context of the news and happenings going all around the world because internet spreads news and reviews more rapidly than any other mode and social media makes them do so.
- Job opportunities
Job profiles such as Social media manager and digital content creators are very popular these days. Also, as the social media base increases, more and more professionals are required to handle the load, hence creating multiple job opportunities
CONS OF SOCIAL MEDIA
We know that anything that is accepted by us on a global platform is useful and fruitful to us but at times the adversities come into picture where we need to check and evaluate about the outcomes.
One of the most fatal consequences of social media is people getting addicted to it. Some people have lost connection and relationship with their family members due to excess use of social networking sites. People waste hours on social media and it results in a number of negative health impacts such as strain, eye problems, fatigue, distraction etc.
While many users feel their personal data is safe on social networking sites because they have set high levels of security settings research suggests this is not the case. In 2019, the Facebook databases that, in total, detailed the phone numbers of 419 million users, linked to their Facebook account IDs, were found to be unprotected by any password.
- Effect on Mental health and Peer Pressure
Social media sites can make it more difficult for us to distinguish between the meaningful relationships we foster in the real world, and the numerous casual relationships formed through social media. While on the surface it appears, social networking brings people together across the Internet, in a larger sense it may create social isolation. Sometimes, all these factors can also lead to depression.
If any post is made unintentionally or leaked in social media, such activity could probably cause unwanted threats, harassment, or trolling. Even terrorist organizations like al Qaeda and ISIS use social media to spread their propaganda and also polarize people. It has become a tool to degrade the reputation, whether it is a brand, an individual or a company. Using social media to spread hatred due to personal grievances is unethical.
- Effect on Youth
The effect of social media on youth can be summed up in just 3 words: Distraction, Procrastination and Sleep Disruption. There are cases where people have lost jobs because of being unproductive at their work-place due to excessive use of social media. It has been reported by Nucleus Research that Facebook adds to 1.5% of the total off office productivity world-over. Sites like tik-tok are causing much social disturbance and shaping the youth of the country in a different manner. We can see even small children watching YouTube all day instead of going out on the fields to play. The social media hype has affected every age group.
- No control over the content
There is no control over the content. There have been so many cases where we have come across unwanted content on these platforms. Many a times the fake news that are shared create unnecessary chaos and can be harmful. Also, scams such as the Locker room have been a major example of the misuse of these networking sites.
Though social media offers a global platform to share and express but its constant engagement is affecting individual productivity, relationships and society as a whole.
It is extremely necessary to have self-control while using these sites. Also, platforms like Instagram and YouTube have added the feature so that one can monitor how much time they spend online. With the help of self-realization and such features, one can definitely over-come the addiction.
- Privacy issues
It is the fundamental task of these sites to protect the data of the billions of users. Also, Facebook and Instagram have been keeping records of what we search. They justified these changes by the fact that in their opinion people wanted to get interest-based ads that could help them in searching for products. This, in a way is invading one's privacy.
- Success stories
Today, almost all successful businesses have social media as the main marketing tool in their agenda. If they can make millions and billions in a day, why can't we give it a try?
It is one's own duty to verify any news they see on the social media and then share it with others. We have seen the forwarded feature added by WhatsApp to control the spread of fake news. It should be the duty of every individual to not trust or share anything that comes up on the social media unless it has been verified with an authentic source
Keeping the cons aside, it is an acceptable fact that the social media has a large potential to grow personally and professionally. Hence, it should be accepted with open hearts, but we must also know where to put the full stop.
If you want to have a brief idea about how to present these points in front of a group, do watch the video-