Social Media: An Emerging Power
Social media has drawn us all close. Even with your children continents away, you can talk to them as if they were sitting right across from you. Entertainment is a click away, as is the latest news and gossip. Some people have even chosen to work online. They work and receive livelihoods in the comfort of their own homes.
Participation in social networking rose sharply since the past decade. In Pakistan alone, the number of users increased by 2.4 million from April 2019 till January 2020. In January 2020, there were more than 35 million users in the country. However there are drawbacks to this rise as well. Both shall be discussed as follows.
Advantages of Social Media
Many educational technology researchers advocate using social sites for educational activities. Also, the popularity of social networking along with the increasing interest of students can boost learning. And it helps with long distance learning as well.
Even if you are in Pakistan, you can connect with people in the United States. It is literally a click away! Additionally, you can contact your relatives and loved ones with ease. Long gone are the days when we had to wait for a letter in the mail. You can get a reply within seconds. We can share anything with anyone, whether it is a video of a cute cat or a document.
If you believe you need a physical space to carry out trading, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Because with the advent of social sites, you can now create a virtual platform for your company. You don’t need to pay up rent expenses every month either.
Spread of Information
Once upon a time, information was hard to come across. Students had to spend hours scouring the library for one nugget of information. Today, we can get terabytes of data by clicking on a specific website. This has eased our research and sped up data analysis.
However, the rise of social sites does not guarantee that all is well.
Drawbacks of Social Media
This is one of the most notorious drawbacks of social networking. On sites such as Facebook, users might fill in their bio information. The information includes details like the user’s phone number, email address and even their residential address. Hackers can (and do) misuse this information. The crimes include identity theft, blackmailing and even kidnapping for ransom amounts.
We all personally know people who choose to stay up late at night to converse on social media. Or even to just scroll pointlessly through their media feeds endlessly. The effect can be damaging to our eyes, brains and overall health. Also, accumulating useless information cannot possibly benefit anyone. Which brings us to the third point.
Useless and False Information
There is a joke going around these days. In past days, people would wonder what heights mankind would have reached with knowledge at their fingertips. Today, we have all the information we could possibly need (and more). But we opt to look at cat pictures all day. We are gathering absolutely useless data with no objectives. The memes culture is a case in point.
Also, there is a lot of blatantly wrong information going around these sites each day. Some have even claimed to find the cure of the coronavirus! It is vital for our health and well-being to double check every piece of information that comes our way.
Loss in Emotional Connections
We’re together, but we’re apart. That is the best definition of social media. When conversing on a social networking site, you can’t read the other person’s expressions. Thus, we often misread and misunderstand others’ intentions and feelings. We tend to undermine them. Consequently, we are separated from our loved ones. More than we care to admit.
The debate on whether or not social networking is of any use is bound to continue. If used moderately, social sites can bring us numerous benefits. But if used excessively and without reason, we can bring harm to ourselves and those around us. We need to be careful when using such platforms, especially with the information we give out and take in. It is also better if we time ourselves on such sites.