Social media use is strongly correlated to higher depression rates and loneliness, studies have shown. At the same time, using this conventional mean of online socialization can be highly beneficial for many of us. We can build new connections through our LinkedIn accounts, communicate with our friends and family via Facebook, and “brag” about our adventurous traveling experiences on Instagram.
Even though there are many benefits to using social media, there are also some disadvantages to it. “What is too much is never useful,” shares Dr. Cranbrook, psychologist professor at Florida State University. “An increased use of SNS (Social Networking Systems) is toxic for any individual. We must know our limits,” concludes Dr. Cranbrook.
We’ve put up this article to help you find your limits. Here, you can find a list of the advantages and disadvantages of using social media and also find out how it will affect you both short and long term. Enjoy!
Why Do We Use Social Media? Part I: The Positive Aspects
As I was saying, one of the best ways in which we can understand social media use is through careful analysis. So, we made it easier for you! Here are the top reasons on why social media plays such an essential role in our lives.
1. Getting Our News
How do we keep in touch with what is happening within our world if not through social media? I never leave the house before reading my interesting morning-article, as I like to call it. The content usually discusses interesting political and economic worldwide issues, which is precisely what my colleagues prefer to debate on during lunch breaks.
Whether we want it or not, we have to be present online to get that information. It helps us gain self-confidence in various conversations and feel empowered for being informed.
2. Doing Business
How many of you could not imagine your life without a LinkedIn account? Count me in! We are (unfortunately) dependent on building new connections and relationships. We need it both personally and career-wise – and for the latter, what better way to achieve our goal if not online?
“But there are other ways of building connections, dummy!” some might think. There are indeed. But social media makes everything easier for us; and since we have it at our disposal anyways, why would we give it away?
3. Staying in Touch
When you work or study abroad, you must keep in touch with your closed ones, don’t you? Social platforms such as Skype, Facebook, or WhatsApp are vital in these moments. Also, joining various Facebook interest groups can be a positive aspect of social media usage. You are happy that you finally found people sharing your interests and that is quite amazing, as it can provide a chance for offline communication!
Why Do We Use Social Media? Part I: The Negative Aspects
Unfortunately, social media can also be quite dangerous and toxic for us if we use it excessively. In this section, we will discuss the cons of excessive social media use.
1. Not Everything You See Is True
Social media can easily and quickly spread inaccurate information, and nobody can do anything about it. Most people will believe anything you sell them, which makes it incredibly easy for any company, vendor, or reporter to take advantage of the population’s naivete.
If you are a skeptical person, you know that not everything you see is true; but the question is, do you know where to draw the line between false and real?
2. It Makes It Easier for Bullies
According to the United States Government, cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying cannot be controlled or supervised, so it’s way harder to detect.
Anyone can share disturbing content online or start a controversial dispute, but not anyone could carry out these tasks offline. Social media makes it easier for various people to bully while hiding behind their keyboards, which is totally unfair.
Some (totally unethical!) employers use social media as a means to discriminate between individuals. If they don’t like your face, color, traits, or race, they will simply not accept you to an interview. In a nutshell, these people do not give everyone an equal chance to succeed, which is both upsetting and bothering.
4. It is HIGHLY Addictive!
Have you ever tracked your daily time spent on social media? We sometimes find ourselves scrolling down on Instagram without even realizing, don’t we? This is scary! From a mental health perspective, social media use during breaks or after work is not time spent wisely.
Research has shown that the use of social media can cause many psychological damages, including depression, loneliness, anxiety, and even ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
How Will Social Media Look in The Future?
Now that you’re familiar with the pros and cons of social media use, let’s take a look at what the future might bring us. How will our favorite platforms develop in the next decade? What are the new trends we’ll be debating one year from now?
- Users will become obsessed with secret groups! Many people will realize that scrolling down on Facebook is not beneficial, which is why they will prefer to stick to their interest group. This can lead to an increase in intelligent online discussions.
- We’ll see an increase in social media influencers and content. Instagram will probably increase its rating.
- Users won’t look and like, but they will grow and learn new concepts and ideas (not only by being part of secret groups, but by gaining a deeper understanding of various concepts).
- The video and live streaming content will explode! YouTube and Snapchat will be two of the most popular platforms.
- People will start using social media purchasing options rather than using other financial platforms.
The impact social media will have on our future is impressive. We will be able to make use of the new trends available – and if we can distinguish between right and wrong, they will make our lives easier. If, however, we are not able to pursue our interest and let us be influenced by any promotional content, we’ll suffer long term. So, keep your eyes wide open and a smile on your face!
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