SOCIAL MEDIA – FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE
Ok, ok I admit it! Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – they are my guilty pleasures! Scrolling down Facebook and reading about all of my friends’ activities and aspirations lets me believe that there are many great things going on around me. Reading celebrity tweets and checking out music videos provides a source of entertainment. Everyone does it!
Facebook helps me stay connected with family and friends. It is definitely a place where most people go to get updates and news on daily activities. I remember seeing an article in the New York Times that reported on a new study showing social media to be a source of good news rather than bad news. The study also indicated that psychologists have found that good news can spread faster and further than disasters and sob stories. In short, people tend to say more positive things when they’re talking to a bigger audience, rather than just one person. That is the power of social media!
Social Media – Like, Dislike?
All of the social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc) are meant to be used for people to express themselves, show admiration or share motivational quotes and travel pictures. People feel like they have to share these amazing stories with their friends in order to show off the great things that are happening to them. They are encouraged to share more and more of their accomplishments once they start receiving likes, shares and retweets.
Let’s face it, how often do we find people talking about their failures on Facebook? Just doesn’t make sense right?
So, is social media a good thing or a bad thing? That is the question of the day. There are always two sides to every story; it depends on your perspective on how you perceive it. The same goes for social media, most people admire it as a revolutionary invention while others regard it as a negative impact on the society.
Let’s check out some positive and negative traits associated with social media.
The Greater Good
Staying connected: Social networks initially started off as a great place to connect with friends and in real time. We were able to make new friends, connect with old college mates and yes, even locate long lost lovers – all thanks to social media. Social networks provide the opportunity to connect and build better relationships with people.
Communicating to a wider audience: Through social networks we are able to communicate our thoughts and views over a diverse range of topics. The share feature allows us to venture our opinion with a huge group of people like-minded individuals with the same interests. And it doesn’t stop there; we are able to widen the reach to friends of friends who may have similar interests.
Networking for business: Social networks have become so much a part of our lives that it’s the first thing we do when we turn on our computers or mobile devices. We subconsciously click on to our favourite social network just to check for updates. Businesses have been quick to recognize the value of social networks and are using different tools to sell ads and promote their products. Social marketing is pretty cost-effective – it enables you to shout about your product in the digital marketspace, with the ability able to reach a wider target profile in a relatively short time.
The Not So Good
Getting addicted: Many studies have shown that the extensive use of social media can actually cause addiction to users. It is very common for people to post something on their pages or check out other posts. In fact, it has become so much a part of our lives, that it’s almost as routine as brushing our teeth each morning!
Lost and alone: Too much time spent on social networks can also result in anti-social behaviour. The constant need to update and check updates is changing our behavior in such a way that there is little time for human interaction. This not only leads to isolation but more importantly, without face-to-face communication, honesty becomes an issue as well. Can you trust a person online – how much of what they say about themselves (mostly to impress) is actually true?
Not quite productive: Many employers complain about their employees spending too much time on social media, resulting in poor productivity and missed deadlines. It is sometimes difficult to put a brake on the situation. Some companies employ “block” mechanisms but because everyone is wired these days, it’s almost impossible to track usage time.
Social media is no doubt an invaluable communication tool. It is a great platform to engage our audience – both on a personal and professional level. Not only does social media help us stay on top of the news, it is provides the opportunity to learn so much from the global university of life.
So what about you? Do you feel social media has impacted our society? Do you depend on it as a source of good or bad news? We’d like to hear from you.