There is no doubt that there are many reasons to love social media, (please read my other blog on the benefits of social media), but there are also some reasons to think twice about how you use it and whether social media is all good news and full of positive potential.
Effectively Social media gives us the opportunity to hide behind the screens of our computers, tablets and mobile phones, our prime social interaction option is no longer face to face. I guess you get the feeling of being social without having to leave the comfort of your home, but in the long term how positive is that actually going to be? If you can get the feeling of being a friend without having to work at it then how important is that relationship. If you think about how many friends you have on facebook and then think about how many you actually see on a regular basis, that will give you some idea as to how many ‘real’ friends you actually have.
Then there is the consideration of how many people in public are not really interacting with anyone but are buried in their mobile phone checking their latest facebook update or celebrity tweet. There are of course different levels of frustration relating to social media in public, sitting in a park updating your profile is one thing, whilst shopping, eating, shopping it’s all a bit frustrating especially when it seems like we can’t enjoy the world without still being obsessed by our phones.
Work related productivity is also an issue, most people don’t require much of a distraction to stop work , most people will check their profiles at work, and once you do how many times do you end up clicking on links and exploring your social media world. Is this time wasted or is it effectively a break from work that allows more focus when required.
Social Media is now a tool for people to cheat, access to your first girlfriend from school is sometimes just too tempting and soon turns in to opportunity, it makes it easier to cheat and the evidence can be found by forgetting to log out of the network or computer you share with your partner.
There is also the sheer volume of stupid, vain, attention seeking people on Facebook, it may seem mean but status messages that are usually vague, about the individuals lunch, or containing way too much personal information are frankly boring and tiresome. Add to this the posts that include poor spelling and grammar and this can account for a significant proportion of social media.
In addition to the above that I believe can be categorised as bad or frustrating, there is also the more sinister and frankly ugly side of social media. Children believe the profiles of potential predators and interact with them when in real life they would run a mile. Fake profiles are the hiding place or the weak and the cowards.
Abuse, social media access has given rise to a relatively new phenomenon, sending abusive messages, these are from ‘keyboard warriors’ who feel brave in their anonymity and are usually directed towards certain celebrities, but can also be as part of a campaign of abuse targeted at anyone.
Bullying at school is no longer limited to the playground at school, bullies have access 24 hours a day via social media, the previously safe harbour of home is no longer as safe as they used to be.
For businesses there are predominantly upsides to Social Media, however the environment has its positives and negatives, promoting the company is easier and cheaper than ever before, but the potential for disgruntled employees or clients to leave negative or abusive comments or statements is always there. Added to that is the potential for a mistake, misspell a name or like the wrong page and it could be there forever, make a comment in a temper and it could be shared by millions.
Overall the effects of social media over the last few years are somewhat in the balance, the good things tend to outweigh the bad, but when something really bad occurs it does call into question any benefits experienced.
In general if you can keep you own life on track and you don’t take it too seriously then you should be fine, if you can’t then you should consider deleting you facebook profile and going to the pub.
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