The advent of Social Media has caused tremendous changes in our everyday lives.
In the past few weeks of lessons, we have seen many of the advantages of social media, such as:
- Keeping in touch with friends and maintaining relationships
- Opportunity for creating communities to share knowledge – putting the power in the consumer’s hands
- Start-ups to leverage on social media to generate buzz
- Boosting the ego of individuals
And many others…
While we are revelling in the world of social media, one should not forget how social media can actually cause harmful effects. I shall cover some of the more serious ones below:-
Illegal Activities Such As Identity Thefts
I believe many of you have had good looking friends who have their profile pictures inappropriately used for creating accounts on Facebook/Tinder/Twitter. While these fake accounts are easily removed through reporting if the particular individual eventually stumbles onto such a profile, many other fake accounts have yet to be discovered/removed. This can possibly cause many problems. I have attached an article below of some real life examples:
There are other illegal activities such as prostitution, robberies that have been promulgated through the use of Social Media that is hard to detect and rectify as well.
Although one can be addicted to virtually anything, including sleep and one’s bed, however this addiction is far worse. Studies have found social media to be more addictive than even, drugs. People who are addicted to social media often find themselves losing productivity and unable to stay focused at work (regardless whether it is studying or actual professional work).
Slight digression: Although Pokemon Go is not exactly a social media as it does not involve communities whereby people can share their views, it is the new unhealthy addiction. When the game was released, many people started flooding parks and public areas, day and night trying to complete their Pokedex (that logs all the types of Pokemon that a trainer has caught and seen before). Many went without sleep for the first day and others could not sleep because they were too excited over the game. In Singapore alone, there were also incidents of car accidents that happened because of the addiction towards the game, such as the one below:
“False” Sense of Connected-ness
People feel happy that they have many connections on the social media, however how many of them are genuine? Genuine, in the sense that your online “friend” would help you in times of need? People, who only connect to others online and have never met up in physical world, are unlikely to be extremely close no matter how connected they might feel to each other. The experience of having a friend in the real world and online is a world of difference, especially when one needs emotional encouragement and physical closeness is the best way to do so.
Many companies leverage on social media to build their brand name and brand loyalty. Some do it legitimately, accepting all reviews or comments, whether good or bad. While others might even resort to engaging in deceit by “forcing” their employees to leave good reviews for the company. While many of such underhand methods were discovered or exposed, there are definitely others in which have not been exposed. Consumers are then unfairly led to believe that the product is better than it actually is. What’s worse is that consumers are led into thinking that they have more deciding and information power when the actual content is still controlled through various means.
Most of these have been covered by Professor Shim, so I will not elaborate about the details.
Anonymous Bullying Through Cyber Means
Bullying has never been easier. This has been around since the blogging and tagboard days, which started in the early 2000s. Sadly, this has persisted till now in 2016. Examples includes people creating Facebook accounts without their real name in order to leave negative comments on another individual’s Facebook and tagging someone in an unflattering photo, putting them in bad light and dealing them with a blow on their self-esteem. Others include sexual harassment through making lewd comments or sending messages anonymously. As it is unlikely that one gets caught for engaging in the activities above, there has been more bullying than before.
This area has been covered briefly by Professor Shim and hence I will elaborate slightly more to add on to her analysis.
Social Media is all about “Me, me and me”, boosting the ego of individuals when they get “likes”. This eventually becomes their main conduit in establishing relationships with others. Narcissism is bad because one feels like he/she is superior to others and that they are the most important people around. This also creates a false sense of entitlement whereby their issues should always take precedence over others and it affects their existing relationships with others negatively as well, when in the physical world.
Until now, the question still remains: does the pros of social media outweigh the cons? The outcome is still indeterminate at this point of time and the answer lies in the future. In my opinion, everything has their fair share of advantages and disadvantages, just like technology. It all depends on how one uses the tool, while being aware of its pitfalls. That said, the advantages also have to be made known for one to make full use of the tool to one’s advantage, and hopefully, for the greater good of the society.
Additionally, through the creation of this post, I’ve further understood Professor Shim’s point on how creators of content actually really need to put in a lot of effort, whereas they reap nothing much in return. This is a great real life experience in understanding the course content and I highly encourage other classmates to indulge in this experience as well if one has never done so before! Personally, I spent 4 hours writing this article, so make sure you plan enough time for it if you want to write one.