Influence of Social Media on Society

Social media is a channel of communication that uses the internet. Users can engage in conversations, exchange information, even produce content for the web via this platform (Reference: University of South Florida, Marketing Department). Social media comes in different avatars, such as social networking (Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn), messaging apps, blogging and publishing sites, photo and video sharing websites, interacting apps (Snapchat, TikTok), discussion forums, curating content and bookmarking, podcasts, anonymous social networks, and more.

Humans are social creatures; hence the rise of social media was hailed as a blessing in previous decades with the good intentions of connecting people and sharing information. Well over past years, Communication and Information Technology have undergone fast transformation, with the introduction of social media becoming a significant advance. For instance, social media’s influence has been greatly shaped by the advancement of mobile phones. In terms of overall time spent online, mobile phones rule the world. They give everyone access to the ability to connect at any time, from any location, using any device. The world is ruled by online relationships.

Some of the many advantages of using social media are they are the fastest expanding platforms for delivering news, knowledge, and general awareness to a broader audience in a shorter time frame. The social medias like Facebook, twitter, Instagram and others allow collective interactions among individuals enabling them to develop has a community even from rural areas. Even while there may be a significant majority with a differing viewpoint on a certain subject, the internet lets minorities with the same opinion to form a wider “majority”. People with divergent viewpoints can engage, network, and produce novel works such as publications, memes, and collaborative global works that collectively challenge dominant viewpoints.

The key benefit of social media is the visibility it gives the public in relation to diverse social, religious, ethical, political, and environmental scenarios, conclusively gathering the numerous viewpoints of those shedding light on various concerns.

This visibility is no frivolous game, and it helps to alter the equilibrium by transferring power from a selected few to a majority.

Many people have benefited from platforms like YouTube that enable knowledge sharing, whether it is through practical hacks or in-depth videos on various scientific topics. Sharing our profile in LinkedIn application is a fantastic method to launch a career.

Nowadays, it’s uncommon to come across a business that doesn’t use social media in some capacity to connect with its clients and potential clients. Social media is important for businesses to engage with customers and increase sales. Businesses have come to recognize they can utilize social media to gather data, increase demand, and develop specialized brand portfolio especially e-commerce industry which can aid in more brand awareness and brand reputation.

These are only a few of the numerous applications for social media, and its potential is virtually endless. Our lives are steadily coming under the grip of social media. As humanity progresses into the virtual world period, there are downsides on the flip side of the coin. Social media is a “new age drug” that is addicting for both young people and adults alike. Its use skyrocketed during the COVID 19 virus outbreak, when it was social media that saved the day. Face-to-face encounters, which are essential for acquisition of social and communication skills as well as personality development, have been mostly eliminated from people’s lives, particularly those of younger generations. Overuse of social media platforms has hampered true emotional connections by making it difficult to interact with others, limiting “actual social life,” and fostering more virtual friendships.

Social media gives you a dopamine rush right away. Social media has made it simple to compare one’s life to others’ “happy lives.” People have problems with depression, fear of missing out (FOMO) and low self-esteem as a byproduct of being unsatisfied with their existing situation. The viewers are unaware that this is only a small portion of the lives that people are broadcasting, and that most of it may be fake. Over community, allegiance, as well as self-acceptance, many are placing a higher value on wealth, popularity, and appearance. A whole generation has been transformed into shallow narcissists by social networks, from false photo angles that are intended to make people look and seem appealing to manipulating the Facebook feed to appear as though we are enjoying more than we genuinely are.

Cyberbullying is a criminal offense affecting people, especially youngsters, by readily trapping them in blackmail, scams, as well as other harmful behaviors. False information, trolls, online predators, viral trends which are dangerous, adult content and rumors are easily propagated, which might result in suicide and depression. The fragility of social media has also highlighted how simple it is to collect anyone’s credentials. To prevent such circumstances, privacy settings must be regularly updated but also profiles must be locked. Social media has also been used to promote misinformation and falsehoods online, which has increased the number of violent crimes reported in society. With the advent of social media, avoiding bad news and its detrimental effects on our lives has practically become unavoidable. This may have long-lasting psychological effects, including thoughts of our world collapsing, distress, and anxiety.

Due to our hectic lifestyles, social media has replaced the organic family time spent together with everyone glued to their smart device screens. It is a bitter reality that spending time with loved ones and forming relationships in the real world cannot be substituted by social media. The concerns mentioned cannot be solved by restricting access to social media. Instead, it can be instructive to adopt a fresh perspective and consider both the advantages and disadvantages that social media contributes to society. The wise course of action is to be cognizant of the benefits and drawbacks of social media and to utilize our time and skills responsibly for both individual and societal advancement.

Sruthi V. Roy graduated from TKM College of Engineering in Kollam with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and currently working as JRF at NIT Surathkal

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