Different shades of social media
By: War Aabid Skindar
The 21st century brought with it an era of digital advancements. Smartphones, computers, internet came into being and soon after, turned into essentials, so much that the existence of a person would be questioned without one. While the internet was still in its infancy, social networking sites came into the picture, overturning the way things previously functioned. People now had virtual friends, one they would have never met in person, and gradually, the world turned into a puppet of the social media.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are examples of social networking sites (SNS). Social networking started on the internet as a generalized online community to connect the people having the same interests and to share ideas. The first recognizable social networking site is SixDegrees.com which was launched in 1997.
Though social networking, a phenomenon ignited by social media, has turned into a boon for many, the debate on its pits and falls is one that has been circling the fields since time immemorial. An age-old topic that never seems to get old, this might appear as a group discussion topic during the admission or placement interviews. But before start quoting facts for or against the topic, have a look at the two sides of the coin.
Let us first begin with the reasons that state how social networking sites have brought about a major change in our lives and how it is more a boon for us all.
Social Networking sites help in keeping in touch with friends and family in today’s busy world. Especially during the time of pandemic, it turned out to be the strongest tie for humanity.
As the initial purpose of social media was to connect like-minded individuals, it comes with a useful opportunity to improve skills and careers by sharing ideas, information and knowledge, that might not be physically accessible to many of us.
It has been revolutionary in the paradigm of education. Teaching faculties have made social networks as an extension to classroom discussion. Many portals like Doubtnut are helping students to solve their doubts through social networking sites in just a fraction of seconds.
Many companies have started interacting with the community and potential customers. This has somehow played a huge role in creating brand value and a niche for businesses amidst a highly competitive market.
Employment hunt has got extremely seamless with students reaching out to potential employers via LinkedIn which is a kind of social network with job opportunities and internships.
Overall, social networking sites have a positive atmosphere. For instance, Facebook does not send notifications if someone is removed as a friend. LinkedIn doesn’t send notifications either when a connection is removed.
Now that we have a fair idea of the pros, let’s take a quick look at the cons.
Constant exposure to social media has made people compare their lives with others who project their life as perfect. This decreases happiness levels and also can lead to self-esteem issues.
Privacy is a big issue with social networking sites. People’s personal information gets stolen for malicious intentions. Facebook has been in serious trouble with many legislations across the globe for this very reason.
The FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) from social media has created high levels of addiction. Gossips and rumours spread like forest fires.
Social Network Users prefer online conversations rather than face-to-face. It has affected communication skills, relationships and is taking a toll on mental health.
High screen time creates many health problems like backaches, eyesight related problems, etc.
Social Networking sites are a double-edged sword. Whether they are a boon or bane to the society is for the user to decide. It mostly depends on how one uses it. However, it is important to note that children and teenagers must be guided by their guardians as they can easily be manipulated and have a high tendency of falling into traps that lead to cyber threats or cybercrimes.