Social Media and Society

Posted by Amanda Parkinson on May 7th, 2019

Social media is the collection of online communication channels dedicated to help communities interact through making their inputs, collaboration, and sharing of content. Among the various forms of social media platforms, most websites and phone applications are dedicated to social networking, micro blogging, forums, social curation, social bookmarking, and wikis. The development of computer and technology has led to the increase of information flow between people in all regions of the world. The world has turned into a global village due to the increased effectiveness of information sharing. It is evident now that social media platforms have made tremendous impact on culture, business, education, mass communication, and the world at large. Social media platforms are the most popular and commonly visited sites of the internet. There are numerous about the social media networking. First, Facebook, Twitter, and a collection of other social media sites are for children, although over 50% of the people registering with these websites are aged 35 years and above. Such websites have transformed and revolutionized how people communicate and socialize through the web. However, apart from chatting with friends Facebook, seeing new pictures on Instagram, reading about popular personalities on the blogs and doing other things on Twitter, there are some other real impacts both positive and negative ones that the social media has had on the society. This paper looks at the positive and negative contribution that the social media has had to society.

Common Social Media Platforms

Facebook is the most popular free social networking site where users are required to register and create a profile, upload and share their photos, videos, connect with friends and family as well as send messages. The size of the message is not restricted. To connect with friends, one is required to send a request and be accepted by the recipient or be a member of a group. According to Scott and Jacka, people spend more time on Facebook that on other websites.

Twitter, the free micro blogging platform, allows the registered users to share, broadcast and comment on short posts called tweets. To connect with friends, twitter members are required to follow other members.

LinkedIn is a social media network designed only for the business community. The objective of the site is to allow registered users establish a documented network of people they know and can recommend professionally.

Pinterest is a social curation site that helps members share and categorize images found on the internet. It requires a brief description of the image but the site’s focus is on the visuals. By clicking on an image, one is taken to the original source to interact with the original sender.

Positive Effects of the Social Media

Social Media and Business

Social media has become an important part of life on the internet as the social platform and applications proliferate. In business, social media has been used in product marketing, brand promotion, connection with current customers, and fostering new businesses. From a customer’s point of view, social media makes it easy to tell a company and the rest of the world what one experienced with a given company whether positive or negative. The business also has the opportunity to respond to such queries, tend to customers’ problems, and help rebuild customer confidence. Enterprise social networking also helps a company in connecting like individuals sharing similar business activities or interests. Externally, the social media help an organization in staying connected to its customers and making it possible to undertake market research that helps in improving the product, business process, or the operations. Within an organization, social tools help employees in accessing information and resources required to work effectively and solve a variety of business problems.

Net-savvy organizations have made use of the available opportunities in the social media to advertise their products, create customer loyalty, and develop other customer relations activities. Customer interaction and their feedbacks help the business in understanding the market and fine-tuning their products and strategies. Most businesses have found a need to organize contests and award prizes to more enthusiastic consumers who visit their website more often. As opposed to the costly television advertising and other expensive marketing strategies, the social media presence is cheap, wide, and more effective in improving brand image and product popularity.

Social Media and News coverage

The increased popularity of twitter, Facebook, and other social networks has gained attention as the most viable mode of communication for bloggers, content, and article writers. In addition, it has enhanced information sharing from business to individuals as well as from individual to individual. Social networks provide people with the opportunity to reconnect with their long lost friend and acquaintances to make friends, share trading ideas, content, and pictures. Users are able to stay abreast on the latest local and international development and participate in campaigns and activities they prefer. Professionals also use social media to enhance their careers and expand their business prospects using platforms like LinkedIn. Students are also able to connect with their peers abroad to improve their communication skills and academic proficiency. One can also learn about different cultures in the world and various societies by connecting with people through their local networks.

Impact of Social Media on Politics and Governance

Social media has played an important role in elections and governance around the world. Every worthy politician has sought the need for social media in running campaigns, spreading their ideologies, and increasing their popularity. This has happened all over the world in China, India, the USA, Iran, and other countries as well. The social media have also served as a mode of gathering people when rallying for a cause, inspiring mass movements, and cautioning the government against evils in governance.

Negative Effects of Social media

However, despite all these positive developments and opportunities provided by the increase in networking, there are some effects that have had resulted negative influence on society. It is quite unfortunate that there are few downsides related to social networking. Most introverts and social recluses have placed too much emphasis on virtual interaction while ignoring the real world outside. Some of these effects are too serious that they have resulted in loss of life and property and even collapse of the government in some cases. Social sites like Facebook and MySpace allow users to connect and find connections with just anyone from coworkers in the neighborhood to socialites as well as other complete strangers. Browsing through these sites makes one feel connected to a bigger community but such casual connection in the electronic environment has had its downside.

Cyber Crimes

The immediacy that social media provides is readily available to predators. If one is not careful, unscrupulous individuals, hackers, and con men use this carelessness to commit crimes like fraud, cyberbullying, and online harassment. Schoolchildren, teenage girls, and women have often fallen prey of online attacks, which has resulted in their harassment, kidnapping, rape, torture, and extortion. Children are ultimately more vulnerable to cyber-bullying because the perpetrators anonymously pose as people trusted by their victims in order to terrorize them in front of their peers. These online attacks can have devastating effects that can leave deep psychological scars on the life of the victim to the extent that some of them commit suicide. Cyberbullying cases have increased over the years with 42% of cybercrimes reported among the youths. All of this is caused by the anonymity of online services, helping criminals capitalize on the dark impulses.

Decrease in Productivity

As the corporations and businesses use the social media as a tool for marketing, finding and communicating with a client and potential consumers, the sites have also been proven to create massive disruptions to staff that show more interest in what their friends post rather than perform their tasks. According to Lovett, there are two studies that have demonstrated how online socializing has damaged productivity. In 2010, Facebook alone reduced the productivity of employees by 5% in office productivity. Morse claimed that companies in Britain have lost .2 billion in revenue per year as individuals seek more time for the social network as compared to work. Innovative technology has created products that allow organizations to block social networks within their vicinity but the effectiveness of these products remains spotty as workers use alternatives to by-pass those blockades.

Impacts on Politics and Governance

Unlike its positive use in spreading campaign manifestos to voters, social media has had its fair share in spreading propagandas and causing disruption, protests and civil wars in different countries. The anti government operatives in regions like the Middle East used the social media to spread propaganda about the government and, at the same time, recruit fighters in the insurgence. This led to the collapse of several governments like Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and Libya. According to Scott and Jacka, there is a need to perform social auditing in order to identify the risk it has on people and effective governance.

Exposure of Privacy

Most social networks encourage people to become public in regards to their personal life. Since intimate details about people’s lives are easily posted on the internet, most users are not able to employ filter settings on their accounts to protect their private lives. Therefore, the things they post remains available on the internet indefinitely. For instance, as a picture of an individual and friends at a party may appear harmless to the individual, the image may appear unattractive to a potential employer undertaking a background check to an applicant. As most social sites allow their users to take control of the things they post online, such limitations are often ignored, hard to control or they do not work as advertised.

Therefore, if someone is not careful, the things posted on the internet can come to haunt someday in future. Revealing personal information on these sites increases the vulnerability of users to social crimes like theft of identity, hacking, or stalking. Many companies use the social media to perform a background check of the applicant before hiring them. This provides the company with information on various attributes of the individual hidden from the application and the resume. If a prospective employer has a history of posting embarrassing content on the social media, it can drastically reduce the chances of getting the job. The same case applies to friendship and relationships as people’s loved ones and friends like to know where the materials posted on the internet may be desirable to them or not.

Social media has its own benefits and drawbacks as illustrated. Therefore, it is up to the user to employ effective controls when using the sites to enhance their image, safety, and professional principles. People should exercise safety caution to ensure they do not fall prey of cyber threats. Despite the increasing negativity of social media, people should be encouraged to use the platform more positively for social, economic, security, and political benefits. There is great potential on the internet that can bring people together and unite the world.

Amanda Parkinson, the writer at and a passionate series movie watcher. She used to lifestyle blogging and solo traveling. 

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Amanda Parkinson

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Amanda Parkinson
Joined: May 7th, 2019
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