Social Media- A Blessing or A Curse?

In today’s day and age, the impact of social media is immense. Having grown tremendously in the past few years, it has become a necessity for some to take part on social platforms as their way of living has been revolutionised by these websites. From the way we communicate to the way we handle and execute businesses, social media is a phenomenon which, by some, is considered a big improvement, although some would disagree. Just like anything that can be used for both good and bad, even though the benefits are evident, the downsides of social media too are undeniably present. Maybe to budding businessman it is a great way to market his newly developed business, but to a teenage boy, it is a platform of negativity due to peer pressure. We decided to look at some of the pros and cons of social media this week, to help look into the matter with a clearer perspective.

PROS


BUSINESS MARKETING-  Social media has proven to be extremely useful in creating and conducting business along with handling transactions. But the best of all has to be that it provides the lowest cost form of marketing. Businesses have been thriving due to social media providing market research, insights on your products, and intelligence. It acts as an extremely useful tool to learn about the kind of market you rein and to gain intelligence on clients, deals, competitors, and so on. Basic software is expensive, or in the cases of some top sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and more, free. You receive instant feedback from any part of the world and the availability is 24/7. All this with just about any device! Essentially, you are virtually connected anywhere at any time. Advertising couldn’t get easier with social media. These sites garner so much traffic that advertisements are almost impossible to ignore. They stand extremely influential and are great to expand reach, so much so that there are actual organisations and companies along with entrepreneurs who almost entirely depend on and work through social media. Many would find it difficult to operate without its existence, too.

SOCIAL CONNECTIVITY- Probably one of the most revolutionary and obvious perks of social media has to be the power to connect you to anyone in any part of the world, at anytime. It is instant and quick, and mostly free. You can use Twitter to connect with celebrities and get noticed or use Facebook to stay in touch with your distant relative who lives in another country; you can even video call someone across the world or make new friends from places you haven’t even heard of before. This ability to reach anyone we want at any point of time has changed the way we live and communicate with others entirely. This ability also makes it easier to scout for jobs or locating assistance, spreading word, and is in fact in plain words, the easiest way to get your message across to a million people, at the cost of just one post.

PROVIDES INFORMATION- Many remember how limited information was, due to the fact that it was only accessible by books or the newspaper. Research was difficult and educational resources were hard to find. Now that we find ourselves connected all the time, the days of waiting for the newspaper to come around are gone. News can travel across the world within seconds and information can be shared with the rest of the world, and all you have to do to access it is click a few buttons. Statistically, students with internet access at a rate of 50% have reported using social networking sites to discuss school work. It also benefits the teachers and makes it easy to educate. You could follow anyone you like, educate yourself and not even have to pay for it.

CONS

CYBERBULLYING-  With the prevalence of social media, where an individual can share his/ her personal content, cyber bullying has become a major concern, especially among youngsters. Cyber bullying includes posting, sharing, and sending negative content about someone. Some common social media sites where cyber bullying occurs are Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Other ways are through emails and text messages. Victims prone to cyber bullying experience significant psychological and emotional distress such as depression, anxious, lower-self esteem, lack of safety, anger, and they are generally least interested in life. In some cases victims who are constantly being tortured by their peers might feel that the only way to escape is through suicide. This kind of cyber attack not only affects the victims but also their families, as they often feel helpless and vulnerable. Research has shown that parents/ family members of the victim experience various health problems such as depression, headaches, and other stress-related issues. In order to stop this horrifying cyber attack, first and foremost, the victim must stop responding and should block the offender. They must find the courage to talk to a trustworthy adult about what they are going through. They must also be made aware of the various organisations that are there to help them.

HACKING OR IDENTITY THEFT- Along with cyber bullying another major drawback of social media platforms is hacking or identity theft. Most of the personal data that has been shared online can easily be hacked. However, out of all the common computer crimes, hacking is most vague in terms of its definition. Computer hacking involves a certain degree of violation on the privacy of others or destroying computer based data such as web pages, software, or files. Hackers have an advanced understanding of various software and tools that are needed to hack. Hacking is done through a set of software programs and scripts. There are some software’s that are specially designed for the purpose of hacking, which take the data and manipulate them in order to extract the desired information. Typically, entry-level hackers access this type of software. Hacking leads to financial loss and damages reputation, hence it is very important to take some measures in order to prevent this crime. One must create complex passwords to access their accounts or other apps, use a password manager, change your password often, do not share your password with anyone, and most importantly, always remember to log out of your account.

ADDICTION- Social media addiction is a far bigger problem than you think. According to some research done by the Statistics Portal, as of 2017, the daily social media usage of global internet users amounted to 135 minutes per day, up from 126 daily minutes in the previous year. Social media addiction makes one susceptible to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and stress. It also reduces intellectual abilities, which further damages your brain by not allowing it to respond quickly to certain situations. This type of addiction also leads to social anxiety. People suffering from this will find it extremely difficult to indulge in face to- face human interactions. Some ways to reduce the time spent on social media is: tracking and limiting the time spent during the day on social media, temporarily deactivating your accounts, and removing apps from your phone. Apart from this, one of the best ways is to indulge in outdoor activities.
Now that we have given you an insight into both the advantages and disadvantages of social media, the next time you are browsing through the apps remember to use it wisely.

--- Akhila and Rubaina

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