Social media can be broken down into many different categories including social networks, microblogging sites, photo-sharing sites, wiki-based sites, and virtual worlds – but there are many different social media sites that can be used for business or personal use.
But are all social media platforms good? Can it be used for good purposes only? How much time should one spend on social media daily?
In this regard, I’m going to delve into the benefits and potential dangers posed by social media platforms and how we can leverage them for the better despite their shortcomings.
The benefits of social media
Social media is a fast-growing industry. The current generation can be said to rely on social media for almost everything. Most of us have one or more social medial apps on our phones that we use at least once or several times a day.
Despite the negative rep that social media draws there are many positives that can be drawn from these platforms. They include;
- Staying updated on the news, breaking news, and any other important information that may directly or indirectly affect your life.
- Staying updated with your favorite TV show or celebrity, watching live videos of concerts, or following EPL games in real-time with crowd reaction videos from all over the world.
- You can join different online communities and learn new stuff from other users’ posts which you might find interesting.
- Discussing political issues around the world e.g. politics, health concerns, climate change, human rights etc.
- Sharing positive and significant life events with friends and family.
- Forming new connections, friendships, and relationships that would have otherwise been impossible. These things come in handy in business, dating, and socializing.
- Staying connected with people who you already know regardless of their geographical connection.
- Can be used as a learning tool by connection teachers and students or students with fellow students.
- A way of ordinary people to connect directly with government officials, institutions, and companies that provide a certain service or product.
- Mobilization of people for a given positive course is easier on social media especially courses that require donations and creating awareness.
Potential dangers of social media
As much as social media comes with significant benefits, there’s also a dark side to it. Some of the bad things that can result from social media include;
- Cybercrime is more rapant thanks to social media; there’s always the risk of account hacking given the larger number of accounts with weak passwords.
- Social media addiction is another huger problem. I don’t have to go into detail about that.
- Privacy is always compromised with the amount of information users willingly give out.
- Doxing is another privacy related concern where an individual may disclose someone else’s location which may some times result in physical attacks against the target.
- Time wasting. People spend more time on their smartphone than on any other device to access social media platforms. Remember, smartphones are portable.
- Teenagers, kids, and even adults dwell more on virtual social media friends which hampers how they interact with people in the real world.
- Cyberbullying is a huge problem where it has become easier for bullies to target their victims even if they are ocean apart. Real racists, homophobes, social justice warriors, bigots, and old school bullies usually have a field-day on social media.
- Social media propagates depression especially in instances where young and old people compare each other’s lives online; whether real or not. The fear of missing out.
- Cancel culture is also a modern-day problem that can badly affect an individual if someone digs out something posted a long time ago deemed evil by a given group of people or even corporations.
- The corporations behind most social media platforms are in it purely for profit, as a result, they can use it to manipulate the public to ensure they retain their profits.
How to handle social media with this knowledge
It’s essential to understand how social media can be used for both good and bad.
In this post, I’ve mentioned some of the benefits of using social media, as well as some of its negative impacts on individuals and society.
In my opinion, I believe social media is an amazing tool that can reap lots of benefits if used in the right way. However, the potential dangers that come with the use of social media can’t be ignored and we must appreciate how negatively it can impact individuals and society.
As a user , you have to be careful and if possible, I’d recommend quitting social media completely if you think you can live without it.