For better or for worse, social media continues to have a major impact on the modern world. Whether it has actually been good or bad for humanity remains a subject of debate but, there is also no doubt that, many of the advantages of social media can also be seen as its disadvantages. Nonetheless, whichever way you look at it, social media has become a part of everyday life for many of us and it has made a profound effect on everything from the way we keep in contact with friends to the way businesses advertise and much more.
1 – Keeping In Contact with Friends around the World
There is arguably no better way to keep in contact with friends from around the world than by using social media. If you are a Facebook user, for example, consider how many friends and acquaintances that you have never heard from since you last saw them or sent them a letter or email. If you maintain a social networking profile, you are far more likely to meet that person again. There is no doubt that sites like Facebook and Myspace make it easier than ever to keep in contact with people. After all, not many people these days even use email very much for this purpose.
2 – Freedom of Information and Expression
Social media offers freedom of information and expression. The world’s most popular video sharing website, YouTube, has few restrictions with regards to what you can post. People regularly use social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to post whatever they want. This also comes at a cost, however. With the freedom of speech afforded by social media, there is also no shortage of the extremist, hate-filled rants on many social networking sites from every comer of the globe.
3 – Inspiring and Rallying Others
Social media is often used to present a cause and to inspire others to join it. Whether for promoting a campaign to legalize cannabis, petition for the release of a prisoner or rally support for the cause of free speech itself, some of the world’s most popular media services have seen the promotion of just about every cause imaginable. The fact that social media is an incredibly efficient way, accessible to countless millions, to rally others and unite also has its darker side, however. For example, Twitter was used as a platform for gathering mass numbers of people for the riots in 2011 in the UK.
4 – Impact on Businesses and Marketing
No business can afford to ignore the power of social media any longer. It is a platform by which numerous businesses advertise their products and services and reach out to potential customers in a completely different (and often much more effective) way to the more traditional forms of advertising. Today, just about every business, whether it is a restaurant or a haberdashery, has a Facebook page and a Twitter account.
5 – Impact on Personal Privacy
Perhaps the greatest concern of all regarding social media is its impact on personal privacy. In the modern world, it is harder than ever to keep your private life private. Many people don’t do themselves any favours either by posting compromising photos of themselves or controversial posts which they later come to regret. Even those stay clear of social media entirely have little or no control over what others post about them. In a time when everyone from potential employers to romantic interests check things like Facebook pages, many people are starting to find that their privacy is being severely compromised.