Nothing beats a real-world human connection. It is a pivotal point, which spins the wheel of progress. Communication is key to survival. People thrive when they interact with others like them, share their viewpoints, express their emotions, and get a chance to hear some amazing stories in return. This companionship keeps them physically and mentally strong, boosts their morale, and gives them a strong support system in dire times.
Nowadays, as technological innovations have penetrated the modern lifestyle, this in-person contact has lessened more and more, as a result. A high-speed internet connection like Time Warner internet is enough to power your audio calls, video conferences, and chat messengers. All you need is a device with internet access to connect with your friends and family no matter where they are on the globe. Herein, social media plays a significant role.
Social media is a collection of online platforms, which enable users to create their digital avatars, consume viral content, and participate in social networking practices. It is a virtual substitute for a real-world gathering and coffee meetup. However, like everything else in the domain of technology, it has its pros and cons. In this post, we will explore the different benefits and hazards of social networks, before concluding the fate of social media and its effect on society.
The Upsides of Social Networks
According to the latest statistics, about 4.48 billion people around the world use social media actively in their day-to-day routines, which equals more than 57% of the global population! What does this fact signify? That social media has become a booming trend, though it may have started as a simple profile-making website. Here are the top merits of social media networks for average users:
Connecting with Friends
Gone are the days of pen friends and phone buddies. Social networks like Facebook have made it easier than ever to look up an old acquaintance through its advanced search algorithms. Once you come across the Facebook profile of your mate from college or an old neighbor who went international, you can send them a connection request from your avatar, and add them to your account. Not only that, you can engage in lively conversations on Facebook Messenger, tag them in relatable posts, like and comment on their published content, and get a chance to be a part of their important moments. Thus, social networks enable you to find new or old friends, communicate with them regardless of time-space restrictions, and stay up-to-date on their lives.
Social networks are not just connection-building platforms. They are repositories of information and sources of the hottest talk around the town. Yes, on social networks like Instagram and Twitter, you can discover hundreds of brands and follow your favorite celebrities. You can get an idea of what is new in the market and watch influencer stories to stay aware of the latest trends and perhaps, inculcate them into your lifestyle. Thus, social media always has something interesting to put on your newsfeed. It engages you 24/7. You are never bored. It acts as a “security blanket” to escape in-person meetup anxiety.
Expressing Yourself Creatively
Self-expression is an innate characteristic of people. Human beings love to express their perspectives and put themselves out there in order to leave their own mark on the world. Social media empowers its users to do just that. The digital profile acts as a blank canvas, whereon users can paint their ideas, feelings, emotions, thoughts, and opinions regarding anything and everything. It is a wonderful outlet for creativity and catharsis.
The Downsides of Social Networks
Nothing good ever comes free. There is always a price. For social media users, it takes the shape of long-term consequences on their psyche and overall well-being. According to a 2020 Pew Research Center survey, 64% of Americans verify that social media has a negative effect on their society. Indeed, increased usage of social media has been proven to engender a negative experience among its users, thereby, destabilizing society as a whole. Here are the demerits of social networks for average users:
Promoting Unrealistic Standards
Everything is bigger, bolder, and beautiful on social media. Photo manipulation creates an ethereal representation, which renders the real-life dull in comparison. No matter what you do, you can’t look as sun-kissed in your Instagram pictures as a celebrity model. You have to resort to filters to bring your self-depictions up to par with the standards set by influencers and promoted by brands on social media for their own personal gain. Where does this lead? An unfortunate increase in the feeling of inadequacy, dissatisfaction, and insecurity, which dials down your self-esteem and hurts your self-confidence. When you start living in comparison, you become an envious and discontented person.
Today’s generation is ruled by the “fear of missing out” or FOMO. What is it? FOMO is the feeling that arises in your gut upon knowing that an important or exciting event is happening somewhere and you are not a part of it. It is triggered by social media posts of people living the dream, which are often untrue and uploaded with the intent of seeking attention. FOMO from social media can compel you to check your phone constantly for updates and prioritize social media over other crucial tasks of the day. Besides fueling social media usage, it can trigger anxiety in users, along with self-absorption, sleep deprivation, depression, loneliness, and severe unproductivity, which can stunt societal growth to a great extent.
Invading Privacy & Spreading Hate
Every person has a right to their privacy, but the lines become blurred online, especially when social networks come into play. Expressing yourself online before the eyes of the world can turn back on you in the shape of cyberbullying or trolling. Cyberbullies may find ways to harass you with threats of manipulated photos, and social media trolls may spread hate speech about you in the comments or conversation threads. It is a tricky world out there. Once you become a target of these heinous acts, you fail to function normally in society. This invasion of privacy and hate speech leaves emotional scars that last forever.
So, what is the final word? It is true that social networks have a ton of advantages in store for you. They can serve as means of communication, information, and entertainment. However, excess of everything is bad. Thus, too much social media usage may magnify your isolation instead of decreasing it and render you incapable of contributing effectively to your society.