There are many advantages of social media. Considering this is a relatively new medium for social communication media has changed the core of the way people share information with acquaintances. There are those who build strong relationships through social media with people they know in real-life, but many of the people connected on social media are just acquaintances.
Through the use of social networking sites, individuals who are acquaintances today may be best friends tomorrow. This is the main advantage of social media as it allows people to find and network with other like-minded people.
All the major social networking platforms have some basic abilities, and those are what dictate the advantage of social media between sites. There are just some social media platforms better for certain types of communication. The University of Minnesota put together an excellent study on the effectiveness of social media as a communication tool
For example, take Facebook. Facebook started in a Harvard dorm room but quickly took the world by storm. At one time it was mainly targeted towards college aged students, but that has changed over time. Now Facebook is used by adults to keep in touch with family and old friends. With its features such as the ability to set your hometown, high school, college, place of work, etc.. Its become the primary location to keep in touch or get back in touch with old friends whom you may not have seen for many years. While Facebook does allow you to set places of work, it’s more of a leisure platform than professional networking.
Professional Social Media
For professional networking on social media, then LinkedIn has become the clear leader. Many people use it for the advantage when searching for a new job or location B2B opportunities its core design provides. The point is depending upon the social networking site in question there may be more or fewer advantages of the social media platform.
Your intended use is what decides the benefits you receive. Let look at some of the broad aspects of social networking and discuss some of its advantages.
The benefits of social media may not outweigh the negative aspects. People are more connected online, but not personally. What will be the long term effect of this, time will tell.
5 Advantages of Social Media
Worldwide Connectivity – Social Media has made the prospect of global connectivity just a mouse click away. You can quickly search for people with a wide variety of interests.Some of the ways you may use this ease of access to your advantage are to:
If you can imagine it, then there is likely a community on one of the social media sites that you can join and take advantage of their offerings. If you have some weird hobby like underwater basket weaving, and you cannot find a group, then just create your own and invite your other basket weaving friends. This is probably one of the greatest advantages of social media in that it allows everyone to find their tribe. This makes it ideal for bringing together like-minded students in in social media groups. There is a level of promotion necessary to be effective.
Shared interests– When you find your tribe you can retrieve another benefit of social networking sites, and that is finding people with common interests. The search functions on these websites allow you to scan people’s profiles quickly and find individuals with similar likes and dislikes to yourself. Then you can reach out and start building a relationship with these people. It can be the form of joining a tiny house group if you want to learn how to create small homes or perhaps you are a gypsy at heart and want to roam the wide open spaces in your tie die van. Regardless of the topic social media makes the world smaller and allow you to learn from others with similar interests.
Real-Time Notifications– It’s common for people from the same geographical area to connect to one another on the social networks. This allows for the almost real-time sharing of information about the area. From missing child abductions to watch out for this terrible storm headed your way. This allows communities to communicate in ways that were never possible before the advent of social media platforms.
Making Money – Companies are in the business to make money, and social media is useful for those purposes. Because, at its core, social media brings people together with similar interests, then the platforms also make an excellent location for targeted marketing by local businesses. Since you have a group of individuals with similar interests, and you have a product that may help them solve a problem or something they need or want, then you can create a good return on investment by spending some targeted advertising dollars towards various groups.
Entertainment -News feeds on social networking sites can be very entertaining. Whether it is watching one of your friend’s air dirty laundry( that should probably be kept private) to keeping up with the latest funny viral videos, you can find it on social media.
These are just a few of the advantages of social media, and there are much more. The list of niche social media networks is on the rise, so if you cannot find your tribe today, it will likely be there tomorrow, or you can use the social media platforms to create your own. There are social networks that provide advantages to educators and a host of other niche groups. Of course, where there are advantages, there are also disadvantages of social media.
5 Disadvantages of Social Media
While there are some great advantages of social media, there are also just as many disadvantages.
Creates a false sense of acceptance– Many people have begun judging their worth as an individual based on the number of like, shares, or comments they may get on one of their posts. They receive satisfaction and believe they are liked more depending on the number of these interactions they may get. At the same time, if they are not getting this interaction on one of their witty or funny posts, they tie that to rejection, and it raises their level of depression. Most people at the conscious level will reject this, but the feelings are not usually at the surface and over time can build up and reduce a person’s view of themselves.
Fake News – Everyone who rarely turns on the TV these days has heard of Fake News. Social Media expands the ability of a false news story to reach a larger audience. The spoof sites and Fake news sites understand these, so they intentionally create shocking headlines and use words to provide a negative or positive connotation within its community in hopes they will kick and read the story. There have been studies that between 60-70% of all Fake News stories are shared on social media without the sharer even reading the document. The share totally based on the catchy headline. This allows false stories to move at the speed of light around the world. After all having a more connected world means we are connected to both good influences and bad influences.
Relationship Strains – Many people spend so much time glued to their Facebook or Twitter feed that they neglect the people right in front of them. This has lead to strains on relationships across the boundaries. There has also been a rise in infidelity that can be traced back to social media. Someone is surfing Facebook, and it shows you, someone, you may know from your past. Perhaps it was that romantic interest that just did not work out 20 years ago, and you have found yourself fantasizing about that person. So you reach out and cause problems with your current relationship. There are a thousand other examples of how social media has damaged people’s relationships
Stalking/Bullying – Some people have gotten into the habit of posting anything and everything on social media. This has led to instances where someone may start to stalk them as a romantic interest or more damaging intentions. People also use the anonymity of the social networks to become more brazen and in some instances have begun bullying other people through the social networks. There have even been stories of young kids committing suicide over the bullying they have received through social media. This is not social media’s fault as its just a tool and it’s the people who have the problem, but it has created a platform for hateful rhetoric to be shared quickly.
Addiction to Social Media – Many people have become addicted to social media, and they will physically start to show signs of withdrawal if they can not get their social media fix. They sleep with their smartphones and are posting or reading posts all night. This can lead to not getting enough sleep and withdrawal from the real world.