We live in a generation where information is just a touch away. We are swayed by information all around us. People want to know, read, understand and then speak their minds on almost anything and everything. That is when social media started gaining popularity. Social media has become one of the most significant realities of today! But does Social Media has an Impact On Human Behavior And Society?
Social media is a collection of websites, applications and other platforms that enables us to create or share content and also helps us to participate in social networking wherein people can interact with one another. It is not just limited to blogging and sharing pictures. Social media provides various other tools as well which has resulted in its immense popularity and success around the globe. Three billion people, around 40% of the world’s population, use online social media. Facebook is the most preferred social media platform. The other popular social media platforms are YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, WhatsApp, etc. With more than 2000 million Facebook user world over, if a country is constituted with them, it would be the world’s third largest, behind China and India. According to a report, people are spending an average of two hours every day sharing, liking, tweeting and updating on these platforms. That breaks down to around half a million tweets and Snapchat photos shared every minute. According to a report by we are social, a leading marketing and communications services to organizations in the United Kingdom, the number of people using the top social media platform in each country has increased by almost 1 million new users every day during the past 12 months. Anything that is so vastly expanded has both positives and negatives associated with it. The power of social media is very high and has its effect on each individual. Some feel that it’s a boon while others believe it to be a curse. Let us take a deeper insight and try to evaluate both the positives and the negatives of social media to decide its impact on human behavior and society. Let us discuss with the positive side of Social Media Impact on Human Behavior and Society
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Social Media: Impact on Human Behavior and Society
Positive Effects of Social Media
Social media has made communication a lot easier than ever before. Now, with a touch of a button people could communicate with anybody anywhere in the world. Websites such as Facebook makes communication with others an easy task. It also allows users to share pictures, express views on several different topics and interact and bond with people from different origins and cultures. Thus diminishing cross country barriers and helping them globalise through the virtual space.
One of the significant impacts of social media is the tremendously increased awareness of the masses in the context of the news and happenings going all around the world because internet spreads news and reviews more rapidly than any other mode and social media makes them do so. Right from political news to social movements to story about famous personalities, everything gets communicated much faster and more accessible here. As a consequence, people are getting more aware and updated on everything.
Social media has become the next big thing for marketing by companies. People from almost all age groups are available on social media and rather than using traditional marketing techniques of TV and print ads; marketers are now shifting the focus on social media to target customers. Small businesses also can gain from this since this kind of marketing requires little investment in comparison to traditional marketing. Social media has also made mass customisation possible. The customers get to see only those products which are relevant for them, based on their search patterns and previous purchases. This technology is also helping them save their precious time, and they can choose from a variety of options and get the products delivered at their doorstep.
Governments of many countries are leveraging social media to engage with the citizens and to garner their support, suggestions and views on policies for effective governance. It can be used to create a particular sentiment amongst the public. The utilisation of social media for the general election by Prime Minister Narendra Modi played a crucial role in his success.
Negative Effects of Social Media
It has been observed that as people are getting more open about their personal lives on social media networks, there has been a severe threat to their privacy. Their personal data can be easily hacked and misused. A case in point is the recent case where a researcher linked to Cambridge Analytica (CA), a political consulting firm had accessed details of 50 million Facebook users. The data was shared with Cambridge Analytica, which used online data to reach voters on social media with personalised messages and swayed 2016 US elections.
Failure to Distinguish Between Real and Fake
It has been generally observed that with the ability to share things with millions of people across the globe, people start faking things about their real life. While everyone wants to present their best in front of the world, they simultaneously face an identity crisis with themselves. The competition to look good and show good and continuous comparison also results in stress, depression and various psychological disorders especially amongst teenage users.
Research by Nucleus Research stated that Facebook adds to 1.5% of the total office productivity across the globe. As suggested by the report, people spend most of their productive time interacting on social media, and this has adversely related their productivity at work. While many businesses are using social media to boost their businesses, they are also a great distraction for the employees who may be more interested in their friends rather than on work.
Cyber Bullying is a severe issue when many of the people unintentionally fall prey to terrorist activities, false claims and cybercrime tending to the extent of even provoking kids and teenagers to commit suicides.
One of the most noticeable ill effects of social media is that of addiction. According to a survey, internet users are now spending an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes per day on social media platforms. From checking Facebook while waiting in the billing counter to posting photos on Instagram during eating – people have been spending quite a lot of their time on social media. This addiction has negative health impacts like strain, eye problems, fatigue, distraction, etc.
We can conclude that with advancements in the digital space, social media is of vital importance to us. It can help us reach a wider audience at low cost, gain knowledge at our fingertips, enhance our communication and create awareness. But it also has its threats of the privacy breach, addiction, cyberbullying amongst others. Excessive engagement in social media is an invitation to several vices; however, if used judiciously, it can be a boon for humankind.