Social Media- A blessing or a Curse!
By: Suhail Ahmad
With the advent of internet, the world definitely saw a paradigm shift with distances becomes too fragile to stop people conversing with each other while being continents apart. Communication is very easy and swift now. Social media is one of the recent additions to this; by definition social media is any that branch of media that allows social interaction, some among the famous includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram etc. More and more people are joining these sites to interact with friends, family and even with strangers.
The recent statistics show that Facebook had 2.19 billion users in the first quarter of 2018, YouTube had 1.57 billion users while twitter has 336 million users (Jan 2018). These figures show the penetration and popularity of social media in today’s world. Like every other platform, social media has its pros and cons and one mustn’t ignore these two shades of reality.
Social media has improved our connectivity to the outside world; we can easily communicate with friends and family living anywhere around the globe. It has helped in learning processes as well as thought sharing by bringing people from diverse range of opinions, religions and regions together on a single platform for sharing their respective thoughts in a cordial and appropriate manner.
Students can have an easy access to experts and professionals through their Facebook, Twitter pages as well as YouTube channels where they provide free expertise, lectures etc. Social media is also a peoples media that provides best platform to sharing news, information and updates in shortest possible time.
There are many motivational speakers as well as tech and education experts who provide a lot of help and expertise to their subscribers without even charging anything. While such sites are a source for advertisement and business promotion it is also being effectively used by NGO’s and other social organizations to spread awareness and information for various social welfare activities. It can be and is being used for fund raising also. Such platforms are also being widely used for fighting crimes, traffic violations, health related issues (as misconceptions about many diseases were eradicated with active help of social media).
While such platforms have definitely carved a niche, but, like all other technologies, these can be used to cause conflicts which negatively affect the public life. “ The more social media we have ,the more we think we are connecting people yet we are really disconnecting from each other” JR ( French Artist).
One of the most serious issues confronting such platforms is bullying and trolling that can make a person vulnerable to cyber bullying and trolling which can cause depression, anxiety, isolation or even suicide apart from hate crimes and social targeting.
Social media has led to loss of privacy, because people give out personal information without knowing who can see it, an example of which is the data leak of Facebook to “Cambridge Analytica” that led to an occasional uproar about privacy around the world .
Hacking is yet another issue that has caused both financial losses and severe threats that loom large over most of the online transactions as social media and financial transactions are mostly inter-connected. Hacking can also lead to identity thefts as the social media accounts being an identity of a person upon hacking can be used by the hacker to spread malicious and fake info on behalf of the account impersonated.
It is also a researched fact that Social media is extremely addictive and disturbs personal life as it makes user lazy and lethargic, which in turn leads to depression and isolation. Excessive use of social media leads to a negative effect on users health and people using it for large amount of time remain away from physical activities which leads to a number of lifestyle related diseases.
Social media, it is also a well documented fact, has been many times used to ruin reputation of individuals and institutions by creating fake and malicious stories and spreading them across social media, where a large number of users without verifying share and spread the same.
As evident from above points social media should be used in a prescribed limit for positive and developmental features rather for spreading fake and malicious contents, keeping in view our own health and wellbeing as well as responsibilities of a sensible citizen and social media user.