It is fair to say the way we communicate has been changed by social media, as well as the way we get daily news and do business.
But like anything else social networking has its own pros and cons. This depends in part on how you are using it and who you are in contact with.
Facebook, for example, can be an effective way to advertise a new business or it can be a source of bullying to a school kid.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and then the cons of social networking.
Pros of Social Networking
Social networking does have plenty of upsides which you can take advantage of, including the following:
1) The Ability to Connect to Others
Perhaps the most obvious advantage of social media is the capability of reaching people all over the globe.
You can keep in touch with school friends on Facebook, meet new friends on Twitter from anywhere or start chatting with Google Duo with family living on the other side of the world.
The internet and social media makes it possible to contact anyone.
Shy adults often find it easier to make friends and feel more outgoing and confident when online as opposed to offline.
Law enforcement has used social media to solve crimes faster. Some criminals brag online and the police have set up tracking units to keep an eye on this.
Finally, social networking has made it easier for otherwise lonely senior citizens to feel more connected to society.
They can access information such as church bulletins which are no longer printed and keep in touch with family and friends.
2) Instant, Easy Communication
Once upon a time we had to rely on snail mail, landlines and answering machines if we wanted to make contact with someone.
Now of course we can pick up a smartphone or open a laptop and communicate right away with anybody on Twitter or another social media platform.
3) Real-Time News and Access to Information
There’s no need to wait for the news on the TV at 9pm or for a newspaper to arrive in the morning.
All you need to do to find out what’s happening in the news is to look at social media.
Social media spreads information faster than any other channel.
You can also customize your information discovery and news preferences so you only see the type of information you want.
4) Opportunities for Business Owners
Social media makes it possible for business owners and professionals to connect with clients, sell products and services and expand reach.
Many businesses and entrepreneurs rely nearly wholly on social media and would be unable to continue without it.
On the flip side, social networking helps employers find new staff and helps jobseekers find work.
5) Enjoyment and Relaxation
Social networking can be a lot of fun if you want to relax or just take a break from work.
People are naturally social animals and it’s satisfying when your posts or tweets are liked or commented on.
It is also a great way to keep up with what friends are doing without having to ask them.
Cons of Social Networking
Social networking does have its advantages but it also has a few disadvantages.
If you get your new and information primarily from social media, you might find yourself engaging with people who have different views.
Being in a filter bubble of incorrect information can be dangerous or damaging to relationships. These are some of the cons of social networking:
1) Privacy Issues
A lot is shared online which means privacy is a concern. Social websites can own your content after you publish it or you can become a target by sharing your location on an app or social media channel.
People have lost their jobs by tweeting something inappropriate. It is a fact that oversharing can lead to severe and sometimes permanent problems.
2) Too Much Information
So many people tweet links, share videos and post selfies every second of every day, meaning a lot of information coming at you at once.
Getting bombarded with too many Instagram photos or overwhelmed by having too many friends on Facebook, means bloated news feed with a lot of content we are not particularly interested in.
In addition to this, there is a lot of false and unreliable information online and it can be hard to tell if something is factual or fictitious.
3) Cyber-Bulling and Peer Pressure
A lot of teens and young adults struggle to find a good fit with their peers.
This mans the pressure to act a specific way or pressure to do certain things can be more intense on social media than at school or another offline location.
The pressure to fit in well with others who post on social media can lead to anxiety, depression and stress, while becoming the victim of a cyber-bullying attack can have the same, or worse, results.
Now that people are connected constantly and you can look at someone’s social profile just by tapping the screen of your phone or clicking your mouse, it is easier to sub online interaction for face-to-face interaction.
It is thought by some that social networking can even promote antisocial behavior.
5) Procrastination and Distraction
People are often glued to the social apps and messages on their phones which can lead to issues such as not engaging completely with someone in a conversation or distracted driving.
Some people turn to browsing social media to avoid responsibilities and tasks. It can feed procrastination as well.
6) Disruption of Sleep and Sedentary Lifestyle Habits
Because a computer or mobile device is used for social networking, it can lead to sitting in one place for a long time.
Also, the artificial light from a phone screen or computer screen can cause sleep disruption.
Social networking can be used for all the pros described above but it is important not to become a victim of social media’s disadvantages and dangers.