By Justin Lin
Today, social media has become a major part of numerous lives through countless websites and apps, and people have been able to connect with others and share their thoughts, emotions, experiences, etc. It’s been able to provide a source of entertainment and shopping, and many businesses have even found it useful for promotion and marketing. At this point, social media has had such a huge impact on society that it seems like people couldn’t live without it. However, with these advantages, social media has also had a number of disadvantages that have affected our lives. This includes the result of major problems having to do with mental health issues, insecurities about one’s self, and addiction.
The main reason behind why social media seems to control so many people is its ability to benefit and support businesses and people in so many ways. Whether it’s promoting companies or reaching out to friends and family, social networking has shown to be a major advantage to almost anyone, anywhere.
If consumers like what they’re seeing, and if relationships are built between them and company workers, they’ll want to buy the product of the company. This can result in businesses being able to productively grow at a much faster rate. In an article titled 12 benefits of social media, and all the ways it can impact your business for good, Jessica Wells writes, “Right now, most companies have anywhere between four and 10 social profiles that they maintain. A strategy like this enables you to reach out to an older audience on Facebook, use an interesting image to connect with younger users on Instagram, and foster professional relationships and thought leadership through LinkedIn posts.”
Through social networking, workers are able to directly respond to clients who have questions, concerns, or suggestions about the product of the company. This will assure customers that companies are paying attention to their needs and desires, which in turn benefits both sides (company and buyers). In 10 Advantages of Social Media Marketing for Your Business, Blue Fountain Media writes, “Customers appreciate knowing that when they post comments on your pages, they will receive a personalized response rather than an automated message. Being able to acknowledge each comment shows that you are attentive of your visitors’ needs and aim to provide the best experience.”
Aside from businesses, social media has allowed people to connect with one another in a much easier, comfortable, and faster way.
In Top 5 benefits of the internet for entertainment, Allconnect talks about how social media’s different applications have allowed chatting to become much simpler to use, which has created multiple ways to chat without having to worry about going over a time limit.
Use of social media has even allowed people who are shy to feel more comfortable expressing themselves. In 21 Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Networking, it says, “About 1 in 4 teens say that their experiences on social media have helped them to feel less shy when interacting with others in real life. Almost 30% of the young people in that group say that these encounters help them to feel more outgoing, while 1 in 5 say that their confidence got a boost.”
Apart from comfort zones being broken, a major positive impact of social media has been its ability to save lives in desperate situations.
In 31 Eye-Opening Pros and Cons of Social Media Use, Develop Good Habits explained situations where people’s lives were saved during natural disasters. Through the quickness of social media, emergency help was able to receive the needed information and reach those people just in time.
Even with all the benefits that are gained from social networking, social media has also caused issues related to mental health, self-confidence, and personal security.
In 2018, The University of Pennsylvania conducted a study involving 140 undergraduates either continuing their regular use of social media apps or limiting the amount to 10 minutes per day. In New Studies Show Just How Bad Social Media Is For Mental Health, Alice G. Walton writes, “As the researchers expected, people who limited their social media use to 30 minutes felt significantly better after the three-week period, reporting reduced depression and loneliness, especially those who came into the study with higher levels of depression. Interestingly, both groups reported less FOMO and less anxiety in the end, which the team suggests may just be a resulting benefit of increased self-monitoring.” FOMO stands for “fear of missing out.”
Is social media making more people insecure explains how many teens become very insecure by social media and feel pressured to do certain things that’ll make it seem like they are “cool” or living up to specific standards. A sense of competition could be created between friends and this could result in friendships being broken.
Cyberbullying has also been a big problem for many teens around the world, occurring whenever threats or comments are made online to hurt others, whether it’s intentional or unintentional. Social Media and Teens: How Does Social Media Affect Teenagers’ Mental Health says, “Teens girls in particular are at risk of cyberbullying through use of social media, but teen boys are not immune. Cyberbullying is associated with depression, anxiety, and an elevated risk of suicidal thoughts.”
With the impact of cyberbullying being a major problem, a lighter but still important problem has been a lack of productivity being shown among many students.
In 10 Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media for Society, Bilal Ahmad talks about how social media has caused numerous teens to waste a lot of time doing things that aren’t as important, saying that “They get involved very extensively and are eventually cut off from the society. It can also waste individual time that could have been utilized by productive tasks and activities.”
Ahmad also goes on by explaining how easy it is for people nowadays to use scams that allow access to others’ private information. This could be very dangerous to one’s identity and security.
All in all, social media has been the cause of many advantages and disadvantages. Social media has helped many businesses grow and promote itself, and has helped people find a better way to connect and communicate with one another. On the other hand, it’s also provided many people with problems involving mental health, emotional insecurities, and waste of time. With social media being such a big part of people’s lives, it’s important to understand the impact it’s made and how it could affect the future of this world.