Despite being a relatively recent creation, social media is already ingrained in our lives. Here are a few reasons why that could be cause for celebration, and a few reasons why it may be cause for concern.
- Streamlined Communication: Perhaps the greatest gift social media has given us is connectivity with the rest of the world. There are countless platforms under the social media umbrella, all of which allow you to see what’s going on and connect with people across the globe. It can also let you keep in touch with people who may have otherwise fallen out of your life.
- Easy Access to News: Social media has also changed the way people stay informed. Young people, in particular, get the majority of their news from platforms like Facebook and Snapchat – free of charge. As a result, people can more easily stay up to date on current events.
- Sense of Community: With so many people in constant communication with one another, it’s no surprise that they often find common ground. Through posts such as memes, one can express their fears or anxieties from a comedic perspective, and they will often find that others relate to it. Social media has helped people realize they are not alone in how they feel, thus building a sense of community.
- Job Market: Social media has revolutionized the job market by making it much easier for companies to connect with potential employees and vice-versa. Some platforms, like LinkedIn, are dedicated entirely to business and professional relationships. Applications and interviews can be done entirely online, and if one job doesn’t pan out, there are countless others only a click away.
- Permanent eFootprint: We’ve established that social media has both professional and casual uses. While this may seem like a positive, problems can arise if your casual posts affect your professional life. People who have grown up with social media likely have posts from their youth that would be seen as undesirable by a potential employer. Even if you clean out your account, nothing online is ever truly deleted, meaning it could still come back to haunt you.
- Spread of False Information: Part of the beauty of social media is that anyone can post essentially anything they want. However, this can be a double-edged sword in that it allows for the easy spread of false information. The sad truth is that many people do not bother to fact-check their news sources; they just believe whatever they read, and phony, uncredible sources are pervasive online.
- Hinders Real Life Social Skills: People growing up using social media often find themselves stunted when it comes to real-life social interaction. Studies have shown that excessive use of social media can cause personality and brain disorders, particularly in young people whose brains are still developing.
- Can Be Used to Promote Hate: Unfortunately, the freedom that comes with social media can also be abused. We’ve seen hate groups and terrorist organizations use social media to spread their own, evil messages. Some platforms have implemented regulations to ensure that this does not become commonplace, but the sad fact of the matter is that the messages still get out, even if only for a limited time, and people still gravitate to them.
At the end of the day, social media itself is not inherently good or evil; it is up to us to use it responsibly.