Social Media is a term used to describe platforms where people network with aka socialize with each other via the internet, whether by sending messages or uploading media or commenting or someone else’s media. Some social media apps like Facebook and YouTube come pre-installed with pretty much any phone you can buy these days. Thanks to these apps, we can easily share our thoughts with our friends or engage with them. No matter how far you live from each other, you connecting with a friend has become instant through the power of the internet.
However, with great power comes great responsibility – so while there are ample benefits to using these virtual networking sites, there are some drawbacks too. Let’s take a look at some of the top 5 pros and cons of using social media.
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Pros of using Social Media:
Sharing Real-Time Information:
You can share real-time information and keep up-to-date with current events from all over the world. Most of these sites provide instant messaging services, so exchanging information quickly is really easy too. Some social networking websites even have tools that allow you to organize and plan events, send out invites and keep track of who’s coming.
Connects You to the World:
One major advantage of using social media is connectivity – you can connect with literally any of your friends or family regardless of their location. You can extend your personal base, make new friends or extend business connections and build a network too. Your ‘news feed’ receives constant real-time updates from peers and others you follow. You can also join a group that shares your beliefs, popular website that gives reviews and ratings, get location assistance, find a job or if you’re really lucky, even a life partner!
People from all walks of life can benefit from the awareness social media generates. It has a real potential to bring change to people’s lives. Making a change in society in a short span of time has become possible nowadays, thanks to the exposure your cause gets and the sheer number of potential ‘followers’ supporting your cause.
Advertising on social media is absolutely free, but paid advertising options are also available for those running businesses. ‘Social Media Marketing’ is a massive industry in itself as you can customise the audiences you want to target for your ads. There are various tools that allow you to publish or schedule posts, track analytics for your ads and support your marketing strategy.
Many experts and professionals educate others via social media regardless of location and background. Many e-courses are available which offers knowledge free of cost. Some teachers even ‘live stream’ their lectures for those who want to learn but cannot attend the class. You can gain knowledge a field of your interest by ‘following’ the experts in that field or ‘subscribing’ to their channels.
Cons of using Social Media:
Risk of Fraud:
If you haven’t customized your privacy settings, some content you post can be accessible to anyone who is clever enough. According to a report by Bankrate, millennials are the fastest growing group of cyber victims. A few pieces of your personal information falling into the wrong hands can make your life miserable. There are many incidents where individuals have committed fraud through social media.
Hacking is the most dangerous thing everyone fears on social media. You may suffer financial or personal losses from credit card or identity thefts. Many celebrities on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites have been victims of hacking in the past.
Due to excessive use of social media, people are becoming lethargic; this is having a negative impact on their health. It’s been observed that excess usage of social media brings disorder to life of an individual. Staring at the screen for a long time can cause eye problems, too much of keying on smartphones can result in carpal tunnel syndrome… many have reported feeling fatigue and borderline insomnia due to staying awake late into the night, active on social media.
Many teenagers and children face harassment by internet bullies. Not only that, but children stand the risk of being exposed to pornography, graphic violence and other inappropriate content if their activities are not supervized by a parent or guardian. This could potentially result in some of them experiencing trauma for the rest of their lives.
Relationship Issues and Cheating:
With the advancement of dating sites, it’s easy to meet new people and network with them. Although it’s more of a question of morals here, apps like Tinder and Grindr make it easy for promiscuous individuals to take advantage of the application and misuse it to cheat on their partners. There are even sites specifically meant for married people looking to cheat on their partners. Alas, internet activity cannot be monitored due to the right to one’s privacy so it’s not very possible to curb such activities.
Social media, when used wisely, is a great platform to enable growth. It can function as an aid to your marketing strategy or personal growth, but it can also cause problems for you if you get too carried away by it. Sure, the pros outweigh the cons, but that’s only so long as you don’t get careless and upload and information that a miscreant can use to take advantage of you.