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Impact of Social Media: Advantages and Disadvantages

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 3456 words Published: 29th Jul 2021

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Do you know three billion people in the world use social media? Since social media has such a big influence the current generation does it do more good or harm to us? We all know we use social media for communication, which allows people to interact. However, with different social media types, which means different ways to communicate, but we need to know both the positives and negatives. Social media’s, affect our current generation is huge because so many people are already members or signing up daily. In the supporting pages, I will provide both the disadvantages and advantages that social media has on the current generation.

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There has been a massive increase in social media use; from nothing to taking over most of everyone’s lives. More and more people, daily sign up or use various social media accounts. “… Almost 1 million new users every day during the past 12 months” have signed up to social media (Kemp 1). With that quote, since so many people have been signing up, it is a good thing but if you knew the facts to it, you would have different thoughts. There are many disadvantages to social media the current generation does not see or understand. Thinking they are insusceptible to these problems, that if any problems were to pop up, they can get around them and to some that may be true, but to most, it is not. “Plenty of studies have found correlations between higher social media use and poorer mental health, including depression, anxiety, feelings of loneliness and isolation, lower self-esteem, and even suicidality” (Walton 1). Based on this quote, there are plenty of problems that social media causes no matter the severity of the problem. Therefore, the current generation ought to know what they can get themselves into because it can affect them. Just in this paragraph, there have been explanations of why social media is bad, but in the following pages, I will be providing other disadvantages of social media.

What the current generation does not understand is we expect security to be the main priority but in all reality, when one is on social media, safety is not essential. Anything can happen from bullying, stalking, hacking, or getting your reputation ruined and that is not all. “Once something is on the internet, it is almost impossible for it to be deleted” (Patheja 1). This generation must be aware and alert to what they are putting on the internet because it can affect them or people they know. Nevertheless, if something is not placed on the internet, it can still be saved on social media accounts and sent out to numerous individuals. Social media affects the current generation’s safety because more people get attacked or called out because of something that person have done, said, thought or the way they look; they believe social media is a form of hiding from the problems, but it makes it worse because more people can come after you. “Nearly two-thirds say they often or sometimes come across racist, sexist, homophobic or religious-based hate content in social media” (Knorr 1). We know bad things are said and done, but social media has not provided a way to protect the ones being attacked. At the same time, this generation needs to learn that if social media is going to be a part of normal life they will not be protected. This was another reason why social media has and is causing more harm to people.

The current generation does more talking on social media than they do with their own family or friends and it is affecting their social skills. They learn to communicate digitally rather than face-to-face. “There’s no question kids are missing out on very critical social skills. In a way, texting and online communicating—it’s not like it creates a nonverbal learning disability, but it puts everybody in a nonverbal disabled context, where body language, facial expression, and even the smallest kinds of vocal reactions are rendered invisible” (Steiner-Adair). Social media affects the way people react to things in person compared to their reaction when they are behind a screen. Which requires more help to understand what someone is trying to say or to fix it overall. It makes it harder to read people in real life because they talk differently when on social media. In addition, when this generation uses shorthand or emoji’s it makes it harder to recognize someone’s emotions because not everyone can comprehend what the emoji could mean. “Approximately 93 percent of communication today is already nonverbal, and thus requires an additional means of helping people understand each other (such as smileys or emoji’s)” (1). Almost everyone communicates nonverbally these days but if it continues the interpersonal skills that people have remaining will disappear. Social media has caused the current generation to stay glued behind a screen and affects their interactions with people they see or encounter every day. In brief, this is the biggest flaw that social media has, and the biggest problem caused to this generation.

Next in this paper is how social media affects the self-esteem of the current generation. The way people look at themselves or other people has a bad result in the end. Whether it is people comparing themselves to others on social media and feeling unworthy or if it being overconfident and becoming full of themselves. “A survey conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health asked 14-24 year olds in the UK how social media platforms impacted their health and wellbeing. The survey results found that Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all led to increased feelings of depression, anxiety, poor body image, and loneliness.” (Ehmke 1). When individuals are on social media, and they see pictures of other people or celebrities, they begin to compare themselves, which is unhealthy to that person. They think changing themselves is best for them, and it will make people like them more. However, when no one likes or notices the change, they assume that no matter what they do, no one will like them, which leads to insecurity and depression. “Excessive use of social media, in particular, the posting of images and selfies, is associated with a subsequent increase in narcissism” (1). On the other hand, the people that are always on social media posting pictures or taking selfies affect their self-esteem by becoming more narcissistic. Which not only affects that one person but it can also affect the people he/she talks to because they are always talking about themselves and do not care about who they are with. Many people have self-doubt because of social media; by thinking they are not good enough or will not be able to do, something affects how they see themselves or how they even treat people. It makes us make bad decisions we would never make to get people to like us from changing our appearances or personalities to bullying or doing drugs. “60% of people using social media reported that it has impacted their self-esteem in a negative way, 50% reported social media having negative effects on their relationships, and 80% reported that is easier to be deceived by others through their sharing on social media” (Goldhar 1). So most people are affected badly by social media, which affects every part of someone’s life. Most think that they need to make everyone else happy so they will be liked but doing that people end up getting used, which just affects someone’s self-esteem.

Even though individuals try to make us think social media is harmful, they do not tell us that there are many positives to it. “New research is shedding light on the good things that can happen when kids connect, share and learn online” (Knorr 2). Based on this quote, there are plenty of advantages that social media has contributed to the current generation and they would not want to use it if it was harmful. These people can connect with friends or family, share pictures or videos going on in their life, explore what is new on social media or allow us to exchange thoughts that may be on our minds. Social media has become such a global phenomenon that nearly everyone uses and it is not just used to send pictures or to communicate but to get someone’s view on something out to the world or for a business it can help build their brand. Social media has led to many things well in this world and in this quote is just some, “How did 2,000 students protest their school system’s budget cuts? How are teens leading the charge against cyberbullying? How did they organize a national school walkout day to protest gun laws” (Knorr 2)? Social media has helped this generation take stands or to put their views on display. It makes them feel that they belong and that they can share whatever is on their mind. If they are able to share their opinions, they become more comfortable with people they meet.  In the following pages, I will provide more of the advantages that social media has on the current generation.

One of the main advantages of social media is that it helps strengthen your friendship or make new ones. It plays an important role when trying to make new friends. “Nearly two-thirds (64%) of teens who have made a new friend online say they have met new friends on a social media platform” (Lenhart 1). So social media has helped the generation put themselves out to the world to make friends and strengthen the ones they have. It has helped them interact with more people like them. It has also allowed these people to stay in touch when there is no one around and are not able to meet or see friends in person. “More than eight-in-ten (83%) social media-using teens say social media makes them more connected to information about what is happening in their friends’ lives and 70% say these social platforms better connect them to their friends’ feelings” (Lenhart 2). Social media constantly keeps the generation connected to friends, so they know what is going on in their lives which allows them to go through the tough times and good times together. Social media plays a critical role when introducing this generation to new people and by using it, they become more connected with the ones around them by interacting with them more often. Based on this paragraph, social media and friendships have worked well together and have helped this generation become more interactive with one another.

Teens are not the only ones who use social media. Businesses use them as well to keep business going or to get ahead in the workplace. It has become a significant part of marketing your company and it helps them establish what kind of business they want to be. “Social media is one of the most cost-efficient digital marketing methods used to syndicate content and increase your business’ visibility” (1). It helps them establish a sturdy customer base by promoting new products or events going on. If the customers like what they see, they will buy more of the products. Business that use social media get more attention from customers then the business that do not use social media. “The millennial generation is known for being the most brand loyal customers of all… Studies show that this segment of customers is 62% more loyal to brands that directly engage with them on social media” (1).  Since the rise of social media, there has been an increase of customers that see businesses, which leads to more success. When people like your business they are more likely to post or share about their experience and when they do that, more and more people see which leads to potential customers. Social media has so many advantages when it comes to helping a business and most businesses that use it understand it helps them succeed so businesses need to get on this bandwagon, so they can succeed as well.

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The new technology that social media provides has become a benefit to the education of the current generation. Social media has provided many opportunities for the students to become educated. “By using technologies that students are comfortable with like Facebook, faculty can create a powerful learning environment through the merging of the creative, collaborative, social, and interactive capabilities of this powerful platform” (Gupta 1). Social media has made it easier for students to get information in the easiest way possible. If that is from meeting online teachers to looking up how to solve an equation. In addition, it is used as a tool to talk to classmates about what is going on in class in the quickest way possible. Allowing for more help when someone is struggling in a class or on a certain topic. “59% of students who use social networking talk about education topics online” (Gupta 2). Using social media in school keeps the students engaged because it is something they already use in “their” lives. Social networking in class allows for teachers and students to have better connection outside of school so students can get help on homework or get questions answered before a test. If social media in the classroom has provided benefits to the students, and the teachers then every school should follow because it benefits so much.

Social media has increased the awareness for several causes around the world. It is cheap and ideal for campaigns that are trying to spread awareness. “Awareness is the first step for mobilization, and numbers do matter when it comes to raising it. Most social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, have algorithms that track, follow, and promote the most popular – “trending” – hashtags, bringing pressing social matters to the spotlight” (1). If a company brings awareness to a particular subject, it can lead to partnerships in the future. It also can help the word of the awareness be spread throughout the world. Some companies pay attention to what is trending on social media with hashtags or celebrity endorsements. “Who would have predicted that something as simple as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge would have the impact it did?” It affects ALS because when someone dumps a bucket of ice and water on themselves it promotes ALS and encourages them to give donations. With more people, using social media there is more exposure to the awareness’ that are being posted or shared throughout social media. The exposure can help this awareness earn money for their program and help more people.

Finally, in this paper is the advantage social media has on our views, ideas, and opinions of the world. “One of the great things and the one of the horrible things about social media is that everyone can have their say” (1).  Ever since social media was established, we have been more and more able to share our opinions about what is going on in the world. Social media has allowed the current generation to speak freely about what is on our minds and show our views whenever we want. “It’s kind of a marketplace for idea. And some voices that sometimes are not correct or have a very partisan slant can oftentimes get amplified” (1). When we find other people that have the same views or ideas we stand firm with them, so people can hear and understand what are views are on a certain situation. Without social media, it would be harder to share our views or ideas to the world. Social media provides a freedom to give our views, and it helps provide change to the world.

In conclusion, this paper talked about the disadvantages and the advantages of social media on the current generation. The impact it has on the current generation has been either minor or huge based on the information in the paper. Social media has more disadvantages when doing research on it, but the current generation believes that it has more of a positive impact to them. Since social media has had such a big impact on the current generation, we need to know more about the advantages, and the disadvantages that it has on them. The research done in this paper has provided many benefits and weaknesses of social media.

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