By Jenny Q. Ta
By now, we are all aware that social media has had a tremendous impact on our culture, in business, on the world-at-large. Social media websites are some of the most popular haunts on the Internet. They have revolutionized the way people communicate and socialize on the Web.
However, aside from seeing your friends’ new baby on Facebook, or reading about Justin Bieber’s latest brush with the law on Twitter, what are some of the real impacts, both positive and negative, that social media has had on our society?
Here is a closer look at the effect of social media on politics, business, socialization as well as some of the negative effects such as cyber bullying and privacy.
Impact on Politics
Every politician worth his salt needs to jump on the social media bandwagon. This is because social websites have played an important role in many elections around the world, including in the U.S., Iran, and India. They have also served to rally people for a cause, and have inspired mass movements and political unrests in many countries.
Impact on Business
Net savvy companies are using social media to advertise their products, build customer loyalty and many other functions. Interactions and feedback from customers help businesses to understand the market, and fine-tune their products and strategies. Many firms organize contests and give away prizes to enthuse consumers to visit their social website page more often. Compared to television advertisements and other expensive forms of marketing, social media presence is a cheap and effective means to enhance brand image and popularity.
Effect on Socialization
Social networks offer the opportunity for people to re-connect with their old friends and acquaintances, make new friends, trade ideas, share content and pictures, and many other activities. Users can stay abreast of the latest global and local developments, and participate in campaigns and activities of their choice. Professionals use social media sites like LinkedIn to enhance their career and business prospects. Students can collaborate with their peers to improve their academic proficiency and communication skills. You can learn about different cultures and societies by connecting with people in other countries.
Negative Effects of Social Media
Unfortunately, there are a few downsides too to social networking. Many introverts and socially reclusive users place too much emphasis on virtual interaction, and ignore the real world outside. Read on to learn about a few more negative repercussions of social media.
Cyber Bullying and Online Harassment
If you are not careful, unscrupulous people can target you for cyber bullying and harassment on social sites. School children, young girls, and women can fall prey to online attacks which can create tension and distress. If you are a victim of cyber bullying, do not take it lying down, but try to take appropriate legal action against the attacker.
Impact on Productivity
Many companies have blocked social networks on their office Internet as addicted employees can distract themselves on such sites, instead of focusing on work. In fact, studies show that British companies have lost billions of dollars per year in productivity because of social media addiction among employees.
Impact on Privacy
If you are not careful, what you post on the Net can come back to haunt you. Revealing personal information on social sites can make users vulnerable to crimes like identity theft, stalking, etc. Many companies perform a background check on the Internet before hiring an employee. If a prospective employee has posted something embarrassing on social media, it can drastically affect their chances of getting the job. The same holds true for our relationships too, as our loved ones and friends may get to know if we post something undesirable on social networks.
Social media has its advantages and drawbacks as revealed in this article. It is up to each user to use social sites wisely to enhance their professional and social life, and exercise caution to ensure they do not fall victim to online dangers.
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