Over the last ten years, the layout and use of social media has increased drastically, and I think it will continue to do so for the future. In 2005, 7 percent of all adults in America used some form of social media (Perrin, 2015). Currently, 65 percent of all American adults are social media users (Perrin, 2015). A 58 percent increase in just ten years is pretty amazing. These statistics raise the question of why social media has become so popular and is that good for our society.
As a social media user myself, I can see both the positive and negative effects of the rise in social media. The platforms I use the most are Twitter and Instagram. Since I am a college student, my accounts are used to connect and keep in touch with my friends and family back home. I can see what big moments are happening in their life even though I cannot be there to experience the moments with them. Social media allows me to keep others informed about my life as well. I find this to be a positive aspect of social media because I am a very busy person. If I had to call all of my friends and family to catch up with each other’s lives, I would have no time to do anything else. For me, social media is a one-stop-shop for keeping in touch with everyone.
Social media can be used for so much more than just keeping up with others’ lives. Businesses can create brand awareness, manage their reputation online, recruit people, learn about new technology and competitors, and intercept potential prospects (Sarkar, Ghosh, Agarwal, & Nath, 2015). Most social media platforms are free, so companies can use it as free advertising. It is also a place where people can find jobs, assistance, and advice. Platforms like LinkedIn let people create digit resumes and portfolios for employers to look at. In today’s society, a lot of employers take advantage of this platform because it allows them to get to know those being interviewed better and shows if they have to ability to be tech savvy.
It has been brought up that social media is decreasing younger generations’ ability to verbally communicate and be productive. A survey was given to 237 employees in a study conducted by an IT research company called Nucleus Research. The results found that about 77 percent of employees logon to their Facebook account during the time they are supposed to be working. It was also found that on average, 1.5 percent of productivity is lost for businesses that allow their employees to have access to Facebook through the company network (Sarkar et al., 2015). That may not seem like a lot of productivity lost, but for companies who are running with a tight budget, 1.5 percent could make a huge difference.
Cyberbullying is another reason why social media could be dangerous to society. Research done by the Cyberbullying Research Center shows that about 25 percent of middle and high school students have been bullied online at some point (“Cyberbullying facts”). Cyberbullying is hard to stop on social media because there is not face to face access with the source of the problem. A lot of people say things online that are inappropriate because they do not have to look someone in the eye and say it to them. Talking behind a screen gives them a false confidence that lets them say whatever comes to mind, even if it is mean or hurtful to others. If social media did not exist or was not used as often as it is, cyberbullying would be cut down by a lot.
I agree that social media has its flaws, but overall I think it is good for our society. If we teach younger generations how to be responsible with social media and how not to become obsessed and absorbed in it, social media has a chance to enhance how quickly we perform tasks from a business and social standpoint. Social media has become so advanced and innovated with aspects of it constantly changing that we get caught up in it and forget about the rest of life. We need to learn how to balance social media within our lives so we can advance technology while maintaining a level of skills dealing with people face to face.
Cyberbullying facts. (n.d.). Retrieved November 5, 2015 from http://cyberbullying.org/facts/
Perrin, A. (October 8, 2015). Social media usage: 2005-2015. Pew Research Center. Retrieved November 5, 2015 from http://www.pewinternet.org/files/2015/10/PI_2015-1008_Social-Networking-Usage-2005-2015_FINAL.pdf
Sarkar, A., Ghosh, A., Agarwal, S., Nath, A. (May 2015). Impacts of social networks: A comprehensive study on positive and negative effects on different age groups in a society. International Journal of Advance Research in Computer Science and Management Studies, 3,5. Retrieved November 5, 2015 from http://www.ijarcsms.com/docs/paper/volume3/issue5/V3I5-0051.pdf