Social Media is an aggregate of web-based tools and applications devoted to help people communicate with one another. Some define it as platforms for relationships and interactions. Strictly speaking, the aforementioned definitions are correct and inclusive. However, it is an ever-evolving thing. Different websites and platforms are developed every day and could later on affect this definition.
Users have been both greatly helped and adversely affected by the technology. Generally, it is of great help when it comes to communication. However, it also has its drawbacks. The following are some of the advantages and disadvantages of social media.
- Faster and Easier Communication
Communicating with your friend or relative on the other side of the world is no longer a problem. Facebook, Skype, and Viber have replaced the good old snail mail. With just the click of a button, you can already see your loved one.
- Real-Time Information Sharing
You no longer have to wait for the 6 o’ clock news or the newspaper to know the news. Social media platforms share information real-time. As such, news channels capitalize on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to update their readers and viewers.
Businesses also use these applications and websites to connect with their prospects and clients. Even school teachers incorporate social networking sites into their teaching methods. Class discussions can now be conducted away from school through the group chat and video conference features of these web-based platforms. Being away from school is no longer a reason not to learn.
- Cheaper means to communicate
Aside from providing speed and ease in communication, it has also made communication cheaper. Sending a message through a social networking site is way cheaper than making an international phone call or sending traditional mail.
- Lack of privacy
This disadvantage relies solely on how the person utilizes social media platforms. Those who post everything online run the most risk on invasion of privacy. Aside from identity theft, people could use the information they gathered online to steal or to cause harm. All sorts of scams have been devised in order to gather information from social network users. People have developed online scams such as phishing, money laundering, greeting card scams, lottery scam, and credit card scam.
Users have to be aware of privacy settings in their accounts. They should carefully choose whom they share their posts and pictures with.
- Cyber bullying
Bullies have also found their way into the internet. Use of these social networks runs the risk of exposure to cyber bullying and other forms of harassment. Cyber bullying is not only experienced by children and teenagers but by adults too. This form of harassment may seem harmless compared to traditional bullying as there really is no physical contact. But the emotional and psychological harm it may cause upon the individual is troubling. This type of bullying can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the virtual world. Some experience bullying so extreme that they are forced to inflict self-harm upon themselves.
- Loss of productivity
As earlier mentioned, companies and schools use these tools and websites to increase productivity. However, this may backfire. Employees or students may spend much of their time on their accounts that they neglect their jobs and studies.
Social Media, per se, should be helpful. However, due to irresponsible use of these said platforms and websites, the aforementioned disadvantages arose. Simply put, it is up to the user to properly and responsibly utilize these tools and applications in order to maximize the advantages and minimize the disadvantages.