In today's world, social media has become an integral part of everyone's life. People's lives have been transformed significantly as a result of social media. It has enhanced communication channels, allowing people to exchange and access images, videos, messages, and other media on a daily basis and from anywhere in the world. Social media has had a significant effect on culture today, drawing both negative and positive consequences in various contexts. Furthermore, the use of social media has revolutionized communication in areas such as education, industry, health care, and politics, to name a few. This essay seeks to identify and explain the various merits and demerits arising from the use of social media as a communicative platform.
Social media has influenced education through the different platforms on the internet that develop and avail educative information. The input on these platforms is based on sharing of content and contacts with an interactive community through forums, blogging, podcasts, and social networking. Due to a large number of students using social networks, social media has improved the eminence and the collaboration rate of students. Students can use the various platforms available to them to efficiently contact each other to share coursework in-group ventures or for assistance in their assignment. Another benefit of social media is enabling the learners who are not used to being active during class time have a chance of sharing their thoughts on the social media sites. It provides anonymity and privacy to express ones ideas without feeling intimated as they would in a class set up. Social media has also enabled distance learning and eased learning management. Instructors in the teaching faculty can now post or share teaching materials, instructions, and links for students to review outside the class. Institutions have developed learning management systems that are designed specifically for distance education or e-learning programs to avail courses and share correspondences with lecturers in a virtual classroom.
Despite the observed benefits, social media also has some negative implications for the education sector. It has become a distraction for learners in the classroom. It has averted real communication in a class context as students feel at liberty to express their input on social media and not physically in the classroom. This leads to a deterioration of active learning process, which may eventually affect the capability of the students to apply the learned concepts in real life. The use of social media to post personal information on online sites has diminished personal privacy by a significant margin. The line between confidential and public information has been blurred. This information may put these students at the risk of falling prey to fraudsters who may use the details provided negatively. Such is mainly because many students exhibit a limited comprehension of what should be shared on the social media platforms. Misleading information may be posted online leading the student to acquire erroneous information. Not all the information available online is academic, and a student must be careful in picking the sources to avoid using information that cannot be verified for accuracy or acknowledged for use in an educational context. Because social media is easily accessible, the reliance on such erroneous information may affect the learning process of a student. The advent of social media has also weakened students interpersonal skills, as it makes them evasive of face-to-face communication. This has led to their loss in having the confidence to have real conversations or communicate openly and interactively without the intervention of social media.
Besides the education sector, business organizations have also been affected by the increased use of social media. Businesses have used social media to enhance their performance through advertising on various platforms and increase the interaction with their customers. Their presence on social media has enabled the accomplishment of their business objectives and the increment of annual sales of the organizations because it is a cheap and effective way to increase brand awareness. Social media has provided the businesses with a platform to which they can have two-way communication between them and their stakeholders. They also promote their businesses through these social media platforms. Social media has helped businesses to understand the likes and dislikes of their audience in a better way. Businesses can use various platforms to interact with their customers to attain feedback on their expectations and help them better understand the market, modify their products to meet the markets needs and develop strategies to improve customer satisfaction. Social media has also helped the businesses in promoting their activities and brand by organizing contests on websites or social platforms, offering prizes to the customers who visit these sites. These awards attract enthusiasts and increase traffic to their web pages where customers find more information about a particular business. The use of social media has also enabled businesses to attain new customers through the provision of useful facilities. A business web page displays information about a business, its location and the products offered. Social media has also eased business transactions as it has enabled trading online for various products, which are then delivered to the customers desired address. Further, social media has helped in the creation of market insight. Business operators can conduct surveys on various markets in the world without physical locomotion.
Even with all the recorded benefits of social media to the business sector, social media also have negative implications. Online platforms are prone to cyber insecurity, and many large organizations have fallen victim to hackers. This poses a great threat to the finances of both the business operators and their customers. Also, various social media platforms have transformed the way various people socialize and communicate via the web. These platforms have rendered an opportunity to the individuals to reconnect with their colleagues and mates (Aral et al. 4). Social media has enabled sharing of ideas, virtual contents, and activities among diverse people beyond geographical boundaries. People can connect with old friends, make new ones, and stay updated on global developments. Social media unite people on a huge platform to trade diverse ideas and participate in social activities of their choice. Culture and different social practices are exchanged by connecting with people of diverse backgrounds. It has the benefit of unifying diverse people on one global platform. Social media has been found to have addictive elements on those who engage in it too much. It emphasizes interactions that easily get people carried away, and they tend to ignore their real world as they overindulge in this virtual world. Another undesirable impact of social media is the implications on young people through limiting their exposure to real life experiences. They are quickly drawn to it because the activities on social media require minimal input. This negatively affects their productivity in school work and life in general as they are inclined to spend their free time navigating through different social networks. Social media has disrupted the societys sense of privacy through the invasion of peoples privacy. The content availed on social media at times transgresses privacy. Strangers can acquire intimate details about a person that are supposedly protected by the security settings on these online sites. The most dangerous threat to ones privacy or security on online platforms is by hacking where private details are acquired and used for identity theft and online fraud.
Social media, therefore, happens to have various merits that will bring great benefit to the society today and demerits that affect people negatively. Social media users are advised to exercise great discretion in using these sites to enhance their lives professionally and socially and avoid the negative aspects associated with them. People should also be careful on the nature of information shared on the social media platforms.
Aral, Sinan, Chrysanthos Dellarocas, and David Godes. "Introduction to the special issuesocial media and business transformation: a framework for research." Information Systems Research 24.1 (2013): 3-13.
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