Is social media good or bad?
The question "Is social media good or bad?" has sparked numerous debates among people. While some may swear that social media has more benefits than drawbacks, others believe it has more drawbacks than benefits. Before answering this controversial question, let’s look at some key items.
WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA?
Wikipedia defines social media as interactive technologies that allow the creation or sharing/exchange of information, ideas, interests, and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks.
ADVANTAGES OF SOCIAL MEDIA
1. Social media helps create awareness
Because you can't be in two places at once, it's difficult to keep up with everything that's going on in the world. However, social media keeps us informed about events not only in our immediate vicinity but also around the world.
In 2020, when the global COVID-19 pandemic was in effect, social media was a tremendous tool for keeping us up to date on the outbreak, educating us on how it functions, and teaching us what to do to prevent it.
Even during the lockdown, when individuals were unable to leave their houses, social media was a terrific tool for staying informed of various happenings
2. It is a source of income for millions of people around the world.
Social media is a major source of income for many people. Numerous job opportunities have been made available, all thanks to social media, and as a result many people now have their daily bread.
Let’s take blogging as a case study.
Without social media, it would be much harder for bloggers to gain readers and build an audience (especially when they are first starting out), as they would undoubtedly have to go through the hassles of mastering Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The presence of social media, however, allows bloggers to reach a wide audience even without learning SEO.
If you blog, you probably already know that a lack of readership, audience, or a lack of substantial page views equals a lack of businesses interested in working with you. And a lack of businesses interested in working with you equals a reduction in income.
Regardless of the presence of social media, it is strongly advised that every blogger masters SEO. As a blogger, learning Search Engine Optimization (SEO) increases your reach, allows you more freedom, and even gives you a backup plan in case social media goes extinct one day.
3. Social media allows you to build connections with people from all walks of life, and expand your network.
Having a great network can help you in more ways than one. Social media, if used wisely, can be a fantastic way to expand your network and connect with individuals from all over the world without ever having to actually meet them.
Few weeks ago, I received a direct email offer for remote work. The email stated that someone recommended me. I was utterly astonished when I saw the name of the person that recommended me, and this was because the person that recommended me was someone I had never met in person.
As a matter of fact, I met this person on Twitter, built a professional relationship with her, did some jobs for her which she was extremely satisfied with, and months later, she recommended me to a huge company. This is just a snippet of how far building connections with the right people can go!
4. Social media is a fantastic platform for learning.
Social media can be a vast learning environment depending on how it is used. It is impossible to overstate the amount of knowledge that can be acquired on social media. I took a course on public speaking via Twitter, and it was great to say the least.
In terms of learning on social media, YouTube has completely changed the game and is a popular resource for millions of people worldwide.
5. It is a source of entertainment.
Did you have a long day at work, school, or just a long day in general? Social media can help you relax and have fun. Afterall, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
Research has shown that social media is one of the leading sources of entertainment. You can watch YouTube, watch people argue on Twitter, view pictures on Instagram and whatnot. Indeed, social media is a huge form of entertainment.
With all that has been said, you can see that social media has some positives.
DISADVANTAGES OF SOCIAL MEDIA
1. It is a huge source of comparison
Social media presents a near-perfect image of practically everything, to the point where people begin to compare their lives to what they see there.
Even after knowing that the things on social media are tweaked to fit the narrative of a “perfect life”, a lot of people still find it difficult to not be intimidated by the things they see on social media. A lot of people are fazed by social media, more fazed than they realize/are willing to admit.
However, regardless of what you see on social media, it's crucial for you to understand that "nobody has it all together," "nobody's life is flawless," and the concept of a perfect life only exists in your imaginations.
You simply need to accept who you are, where you are, and other aspects of yourself. The focus should be on improvement (Are you better today than you were yesterday?) rather than the stuff you see on social media.
It should always be you versus you, not you versus the things you see on social media. Social media isn’t and will never be real life!
2. Social media is addicting
The amount of people addicted to social media is alarming. Stuck to their devices and always scrolling through feeds when they are supposed to be doing so much more with their time.
Many youths, teenagers, and even adults waste more than 10 hours every day scrolling aimlessly on social media instead of engaging in any meaningful activity. This is a significant drawback because time lost cannot be regained.
Since it is obvious that the claws of social media addiction could have a strong grip on anyone, it is important to try and take control of how you use social media, and always keep your social media usage in check.
Social media and cyberbullying are like bread and butter. The amount of bullying that happens on social media is outrageous.
The fact that social media is an online platform makes it easier for people to pick on others and leave comments that could leave long lasting emotional scars. Cyberbullying can have a terrible impact on the recipient. From leaving the receiver feeling terrible about themselves to negatively impacting their mental health, cyberbullying is hands down a huge disadvantage of social media.
4. Anxiety and depression
Research has found a connection between social media and poor mental health. Studies show that a large percentage of those who use social media for no more than 30 minutes per day feel substantially better than those who use it for longer periods of time. People were able to lessen their feelings of depression, anxiety, and loneliness by spending less time on social media.
If we ask ourselves “Is social media good or bad?” We know that social media has some negatives as well. What now?!
IS SOCIAL MEDIA GOOD OR BAD?
Social media, in my perspective, is an equal mix of good and bad. While social media has unquestionably amazing benefits, it also has drawbacks that cannot be ignored.
The effect social media will have on you, however, boils down to how consciously and effectively you use it, how you absorb the things you see on there, and how you let what you see there affect you.
You have control over a lot of things in your life. One of which is how you let certain things affect you. You have the ability to not let yourself be bothered by the negative things you see on social media.
When dealing with social media, inhale the positive and exhale the negative. You’ll be just fine!