Let's consider an imaginary scenario. You wake up one day and realize that all social media platforms are down for the day. You look at your phone in amazement and open the Instagram app. It shows a blank white screen. You try to open facebook.com in your browser and nothing happens. Snapchat, Twitter, Linked In and Pinterest are also down.
The people around you can't communicate with each other like they used to. The younger population that grew up with the internet is freaking out. Influencers with more followers fail to reach their audience. Marketing teams struggle to find a replacement for their online advertisements.
In short, chaos would ensue and the market would collapse. And without social media, it would only take a day to cause such a stir. A little over a decade ago, social media was just getting started. Today we cannot live without them. Crazy, right?
Every disruptive invention follows the same path. Take cars, electricity or cell phones, for example. For hundreds of years, man managed to live in one way and an innovation emerged to introduce comfort that gradually became a necessity. And these jumps happen all the time. Just as we evolved genetically, we also evolved technologically, albeit in unconventional ways.
The advent of social media is one of the most recent (on the scale of human civilization) of such disruptions. He surprised the world and its people. If you're not on any social media platforms today, people will make a confused expression and ask, "Why?" And in the back of their minds, they will also ask, "What's wrong with him/her?"
Therefore, participating in the various social media platforms is no longer a privilege, but a mandate. If you stay away from them, you'll miss out on many of the benefits they offer. That said, does social media offer perks and benefits on its own? You are welcome. These platforms also have a dark side that can harm you in many ways.
However, social media platforms cannot be categorized as good or bad. What makes them useful or harmful is how they are used.
This article examines the pros and cons of social media.
13 advantages of social networks
The advantages of social networks are well known. Here are 13 benefits of social media platforms.
1. Faster Connectivity
You can connect with anyone anywhere in the world by clicking a few buttons. To improve this, you don't even need a computer or a fixed internet connection anymore. You can pick up your phone and text friends and strangers with one hand while eating a slice of pizza with the other.
2. Save yourself the hassle of sitting face-to-face in meetings
In the old days, if you had to arrange a meeting with an unknown person you weren't related to, you had to knock on several doors and wait several days for the interaction (if any) to take place.
Today you can send a connection request to anyone in minutes. Of course, the outcome depends on how well you manage to make a good impression, but the previous barriers of physical familiarity are gone.
3. Faster communication
If you need to get ten people together for a Saturday night party, just send a group message. Imagine calling so many people on their landlines, meeting them at home and agreeing on a time. Ugh, I was sweating just thinking about it. God forbid if you have to change plans at the last minute.
4. Opportunity to gain visibility
Social media offers a platform to make a name for yourself.
If you're an author, you can self-publish on Amazon today. Contrast that with sending your manuscript to hundreds of publishers. If you are a musician, you can start a YouTube channel. Contrast that with finding a music director willing to introduce you.
While the internet has created more competition, with a dash of hard work and a dash of talent, you can make a name for yourself on your own.
5. Bring change
Every event that happens on the globe spreads like wildfire. Events such as corruption, poor customer service and unnecessary arrogance come to light. You don't even need a media team to cover the story on your channel or website.
People record videos and post them online to show reality to millions of people. Brands value providing better service to avoid bad reviews. At the same time, a corrupt government official knows that the video of him accepting bribes is a death knell for his profession.
Although such problems still exist,social media searchmakes people more aware of their actions.
6. Faster feedback
Would you like feedback on an unknown service or product? You can read what other users have to say in the reviews.
Looking for recommendations on what to do on your backpack? Find a Facebook group and many will offer suggestions for free.
Yes, you get suggestions from someone you've never met about a product you've never used, but you know you can follow suit.
7. Social groups
No matter what your area of interest is, you can find like-minded people on social media. Facebook has groups for everything you can think of. Not everyone is active, but with a little effort you can find a dedicated community to share your ideas. Without social media, it would be hard to find a handful of people in your area who share the same interests as you.
8. Job seekers find opportunities
A decade ago, to find a job, a candidate would have had to scour newspapers and billboards, take a file folder to an office and wait for an interview.
Today you can apply for a prestigious job directly from your desktop. If that's not enough, recruiters themselves will reach out to you if you have an influential LinkedIn presence.
9. News travels fast
Newspapers and television served as news sources for decades. Since the advent of social media, they have been losing audiences. Social networks offer several communication channels on the Internet and an unbelievable propagation speed.
You no longer need to search for messages. You will find the news.
10. Businesses target the right audience
Traditional sources of advertising for businesses include large newspaper ads, hiring a brand ambassador agency, an eye-catching TV commercial, or a billboard on a busy street. Such forms of marketing relied on reaching large numbers of people in the hope of capturing the target audience's attention and converting it into a sale.
Social media has turned this approach on its head. When you run Facebook ads today, with the right targeting, you can only reach those who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. It doesn't matter what you're selling, whether it's an antique clock from a haunted house or a Persian rug from Aladdin's time.
11. Collective Collaboration
Crowdsourcing is a sourcing model where people purchase goods and services from a large group of participants. The method has wide application for various purposes, including raising capital for a business idea. Crowdsourcing uses social media platforms to introduce the concept to a wider audience.
Many entrepreneurs have raised capital through crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. For example, Oculus came to life after raising $250,000 on Kickstarter before the company was acquired by Facebook for a whopping $2 billion a few years later.
12. Faster propagation during a crisis
Due to the speed at which information spreads on social media, you can learn about any crisis faster than ever before. When a natural disaster strikes, Facebook gives you the option to mark yourself as safe. A simple click will prevent your loved ones from having an anxiety attack.
13. Have fun
Spending time on social media is a small way to have fun. You can share an update on your wall, tag your friends to get their attention, prank your brother's photo, and much more. Are all these activities productive? Not exactly. But are they fun? Safe.
13 disadvantages of social networks:
While social media has taken the world a step forward, it has also caused a lot of inconvenience that never existed before. Allowing these apps to control you could have negative consequences. Here are 13 disadvantages of social media.
Every social media platform has a great team whose sole purpose is to make sure users like you and me use the platform over and over again. So once you become interested in any of these sites or apps, you feel the urge to keep coming back.
Have you ever noticed that you open your social media newsfeed and scroll for no reason? That's what Instagram and Facebook can do for you.
2. Kills productivity
With the number of apps available today, your phone will send thousands of notifications every day. Even if a person you've never met likes your photo on Instagram or passes you a fake Tinder profile directly, your phone will beep to say, “Hey, something cool is coming. check me now
Each notification seems like a little distraction by itself, but little by little they eat up your time and destroy your productivity without your knowledge.
3. Show only the bright side
Do you find your friend posting a story about a bad day he was having? Or found your colleague sharing a photo about a cheap restaurant he visited?
Do you release these updates yourself? No way. These updates are rare, if ever.
Everyone just wants to show their expensive, interesting or glorious moments on social media. Call it passive or humble bragging, people's updates scream, "Look, I'm doing this and I want you to know."
This behavior leads to low self-esteem that makes you wonder if you're living a miserable life while everyone else is having fun. So the next time you come across an opportunity, post a good event from your life and it will be added to the already existing pile. You want to send the message that you also enjoy life, but you don't know that a friend who has seen your photo thinks your life is extraordinary.
In short, it's a vicious cycle where everyone thinks your life is miserable, while your friends' lives are fascinating. I know people who go out to post an update on social media.
4. Unreliable information
The Abraham-Lincoln meme conveys how questionable the authenticity of information on the internet is.
For those who missed the joke, Abraham Lincoln died in 1895, long before the internet existed.
Due to the speed of proliferation and people's disregard for authenticity, there is a large amount of false information circulating on the internet. To make matters worse, when searching you will find many sites mentioning the same information and you will assume that multiple sources can't be wrong. But often they all just passed along what they found without doing their due diligence.
5. Tell one side of the story
Due to the virality of social platforms and people's credulity in taking a random person's word, one-sided stories are all the rage online.
For example, in 2015, a woman posted on social media complaining about being insulted by a cyclist on the street. Millions of people supported her cause without verifying her claims, and the post was shared 100,000 times in no time. TV news channels called the man a pervert, while politicians and celebrities praised the lady for her bravery. The police arrested the "harassing suspect", who even lost his job. Nobody tried to hear his side of the story.
The truth is that the two had a small disagreement over a traffic light. The lady misunderstood the traffic rules and the guy pointed at her without pestering her. The lady had misrepresented the facts in her Facebook post.
A witness defended the boy's side, mentioning how the lady had used abusive language and misbehaved in the street. The court ruled in favor of the issue and asked the media outlet to issue a public apology.
On social media, people jump to conclusions without trying to dig up reality on either side.
6. Create false expectations
Likes and comments on social media don't always translate into genuine praise. Teenagers raised in the current generation struggle to deal with the harsh realities of the real world.
For example, a motivational post about entrepreneurship will get a lot of upvotes, but it won't guarantee a successful business venture. Impressing the opposite sex in person is different than courting a good-looking person on Tinder. Getting away with group texting doesn't mean you can grab public attention with a presentation at work.
Social networks offer a virtual experience of real life and this hurts on several occasions.
7. Privacy Issues
Facebook knows a lot more about you than you think. In the highly rated TV series Black Mirror, in one of the episodes, a character kidnaps an employee of a social media company, Smithereens, in order to contact the owner.
Shortly after the crime begins, the TV show shows how the social media company's management team knows more about the criminal than the FBI. Although the series uses a dystopian future, it subtly shows how social networks have changed the concept of privacy for humanity.
You have no control over how your information is stored and used. Often even a status update or photo you post reaches an unintended audience. Even among your followers and friends, you have no idea how people mentally judge you.
If you're on social media platforms, I can bet you've already revealed more about yourself than you'd like.
8. You cannot completely delete your content
Suppose one day you posted an attractive picture on social media. A few weeks later, looking back, you feel like you made a mistake. Then you visit his profile and delete it. But does that mean your photo no longer exists on the internet? I wish I could say yes, but unfortunately no one can offer that much security, including the social media platform itself.
That's because what is posted on the internet spreads to other places against your choice. Several automated content scrapers read content 24 hours a day. Or your friend can save the photo and send it to a big WhatsApp group. A stranger can take a screenshot and post it on your blog. The scenarios are endless.
We've seen celebrities post a controversial update or photo in the past, which has led to a barrage of hateful comments. But even after they realize their mistake and delete their post, the backlash doesn't subside. This is because several people have saved screenshots and several websites have already written articles about it.
What you upload to the Internet is no different than a new virus. Once opened, you will never get rid of it.
9. Sales Guidance
Have you noticed the creepy behavior that online advertisements are following? As soon as you search for an item on an e-commerce website, you suddenly start seeing ads for related products in your browser on various websites you visit.
Online ad platforms allow marketers to target ads to people who are interested in their products. This flexibility has dual benefits for advertisers. Your ad spend remains low because only your target audience sees the ad. Second, a person who has shown interest is more likely to become a sale.
If that doesn't surprise you, Amazon's advance shipping approach will. Amazon uses a combination of its logistics expertise and data analysis process to determine your needs. In short, Amazon knows what you want to buy before you buy it. Therefore, it would not be wrong to say that Amazon knows what you are going to buy even before you do.
10. Causes mental fatigue
Using social media between boring work hours might feel like a bit of comfort, but it just exhausts your mind even more. As you scroll through your newsfeed, it makes a lot of small decisions without your knowledge.
Your brain is on high alert with thoughts like, "Should I click on this post? Does this photo deserve the same? What is the appropriate response to this comment?" All these decisions consume mental energy.
So if you use social media during breaks and think it helps relieve stress, think again.
11. Face-to-face conversations have changed
A family that once ate together now eats with cutlery in one hand and a phone in the other. Eye contact turned to heads down absorbed in the phone. Social media has caused human connection to fall apart.
Such behavior applies not only to family relationships. Friends argue over text messages and superiors give critical feedback electronically. Heck, some lovers broke up through social media messengers too.
As social media has made communication more accessible, people are turning to it over other personalized interactions.
12. Damage to Business
To buy an item on Amazon, first read the reviews, or at least check the overall rating. Anything below 4 stars becomes a mental filter for rejection. The same goes for the restaurants you visit or the books you read.
While social proof has powerful benefits, bad reviews can hurt a business. An unhappy customer can leave a bad review even if the industry has done nothing wrong. On rare occasions, companies have left false negative reviews about their competitors as a customer acquisition strategy.
Since online reviews are not moderated, wrong thinking can spell disaster for a business.
13. Fraud and Fraud
Due to the reach of social media, scammers are everywhere. If you're not careful, they'll jump on you.
Scammers use public sources to gain knowledge, the chat medium to connect, and finally use the information in an unauthorized transaction.
Take the following conversation as an example:
Operator: "Hello Philippe, you were at Honda Motors last week and won a raffle for a new Honda CR-V."
Poor victim: "Really, that's amazing. I've never won anything in a raffle before."
Operator: “We ourselves are thrilled. We need a few details to get the car ready for you. May I know your date of birth and your spouse's full name, please?"
And the conversation continues as the scammer discovers more information about the victim that can be used to change the bank account password or guess the PIN.
If you're vulnerable to the Internet, you're doomed.
Social media catapulted technology and propelled the world forward. As a platform in itself, you can't entirely blame them for the harm they do to people.
Social media is no different than alcohol. If you use it sparingly, you will enjoy the excellent time. But if you need a dose every few hours, you've got a problem. Sure, you can blame the alcohol, but the truth is, the addiction is your doing. Likewise, whether social media helps or hurts you depends on how you use it.
[Source: This article was published inclubproductivo.comBy Maxim Dsouza - Uploaded by Club Member: Logan Hochstetler]
What are the advantages of social networks? ›
The benefits of social networks include their ability to help people connect and stay in touch with family, friends, and new contacts; the opportunity they offer businesses to market their brands; their ability to spread useful, even vital, information instantly to individuals and institutions.What are 3 negatives of social media? ›
However, social media use can also negatively affect teens, distracting them, disrupting their sleep, and exposing them to bullying, rumor spreading, unrealistic views of other people's lives and peer pressure.What are 3 negatives of social media now? ›
The more time spent on social media can lead to cyberbullying, social anxiety, depression, and exposure to content that is not age appropriate.What are the bad benefits of social media? ›
Although there are important benefits, social media can also provide platforms for bullying and exclusion, unrealistic expectations about body image and sources of popularity, normalization of risk-taking behaviors, and can be detrimental to mental health.What are 3 positives about social media? ›
The positive aspects of social media
Social media enables you to: Communicate and stay up to date with family and friends around the world. Find new friends and communities; network with other people who share similar interests or ambitions. Join or promote worthwhile causes; raise awareness on important issues.