Social networks have become a part and parcel of modern life irrespective of age and gender. When I was 14 years old, I joined Orkut. This was my first experience with a social networking site. My friends and I would post our pictures on Orkut. Little did we know that this was just the start of the boom of social networking sites. In no time, we moved from Orkut to Facebook. And now, social media has evolved into Snapchat, Instagram, Telegram, Twitter, Quora, and many more such applications. Exposure to them has transformed our way of life and behavior. They have impacted our society in both positive and negative ways.
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Social networking sites such as Whatsapp and Facebook have made it easier to stay connected to our near and dear ones. National borders are no longer a barrier, our loved ones are just a call away. We can text them, call them and even interact face-to-face with just the press of a button. Clearly, social networking sites have helped us stay more connected to each other. In a fast-paced life, it has also provided us an opportunity to socialize and make new friends. If one wants to start a new friendship, one just has to send a connection request. Platforms like LinkedIn has made it easier to talk to future recruiters and ask for referrals to jobs. These examples illustrate how social media has connected people across the globe.
Social media has also given voice to people. It has empowered minority and underrepresented people. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and web blogs allow people to express themselves. The current #MeToo movement is one such example. In this movement, women across the world have united against sexual harassment. People have also become more aware and vigilant because of social media. On the internet, people see videos about crimes and terrorist activities happening across the globe. They see news about government policies and laws. This has made them more aware of their surroundings and their rights as an individual.
Digital marketing has become a mantra for businesses nowadays. People make use of social networking websites to promote their products. They ask celebrities to post pictures of the products on their Instagram or Facebook stories. This helps create a brand image for its product and increases the product’s popularity.
Additionally, there is a myriad of bloggers on social media who post motivational content and inspire people to live happy life. They galvanize people to take out time for trips and their hobbies. There are also a number of inspirational Ted talks by illustrious personalities. Social media also brings together like-minded people. There are a number of groups related to competitive exams, women in technology where people can interact with other people having similar interests.
However, social media has a flip side too. If not used carefully and cautiously, one may end up hurting oneself as well as others. Social media has had severe negative impacts on the way people behave.
Excessive use of social networking websites has made young and adults addicted to these platforms. They tend to stay distracted and hence, their productivity has decreased. Consider the example of a student. He is working on an assignment, suddenly a notification from Facebook pops on his phone. Immediately, one loses focus and is tempted to go to social networking sites. Poor grades and inability to focus on studies/work are consequences of excessive social networking. Additionally, addiction to these sites can result in obesity and unhealthy sleeping patterns.
The Internet provides easy access to pornography and violent content. These videos can have a bad impact on the minds of people especially teenagers. Organizations like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) send videos to youth to manipulate their thoughts and convince them to join them. This has caused a number of young students to leave schools/universities and join terrorist groups. Pornography is another negative impact of social media. People of different age groups access the internet, be it teenagers, students, and adults. Exposure to pornography can have a bad impact on the minds of the youth and can develop violent behavior in them. This clearly illustrates how one has to be careful and alert when using a social networking site.
Political parties use social media for advertisement and manipulate the opinions of the people. They make people believe that their party will be the ideal choice in the coming elections by constantly posting positive news on their social media feeds. The businesses are no different. They collect data from social media regarding the likes and dislikes of the users. Companies make use of data generated by social networking sites to augment their revenues. They analyze the data to find what consumers like and what they are likely to purchase in near future. They send advertisements to their target customers and steer them to buy the product. This shows how easily one can be prey to businesses and political parties if one is not careful on social media.
Body shaming is another negative impact of social media. Inured to seeing models and people with fair skin tone and slim figures has given rise to stereotypes. Consequently, people feel less confident in the way they look. Additionally, trolls are common on social networking sites. People mock and make fun of others through trolls. This can damage the health of the victims. They may even lead the victim to cause self-harm, suicide, and depression. Therefore, when using social networking, one has to be cautious of the trolls.
In light of the above evidence, it is safe to conclude that social media has both positives and negative consequences. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the user to know the limit, to know how much usage is good and bad for him/her. Parents should keep a check on internet usage by teens and children. They should talk to their children and warn them against trolling, pornography, and other violent content.
Positive and negative aspects of social media. (2021, Oct 07).
Retrieved August 15, 2022 , from
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