Social media has been getting a bad rep lately. What’s being said you may ask?
Oh, just that social media is causing teens to have high depression rates and drug usage. That social media is killing intellectual conversation and decreasing productivity.
It’s said that it’s causing people to be narcissistic and creating a false sense of self. That social media is even creating a false sense of reality.
And along with all of that, social media may not even be worth it, based on opportunity cost.
Many of these claims can be simply refuted though.
Anything without moderation can be harmful. Temperance is not only a virtue, but necessary to avoid becoming too involved or obsessed with an object.
According to this study, there is a connection between social media and drug usage. BUT this is a classic case of implied causality. Read more here. They said that SMS texting would kill spelling, but intelligent conversations still continue today. Before the internet and social media, it was normal to have very few like-minded people or good conversations in a year. Now, we can find a like-minded individual and have an intellectual conversation basically whenever or wherever we want (Source). Google Plus is a hub for intellectual conversation; we just might have to put up with a few cat pictures in the process.
Studies have proven that, in general, multitasking is actually less efficient than simply focusing on the task at hand. The act may result in time wasted due to human context switching, or worse may cause more errors due to insufficient attention. Multi-tasking is common even without social media. Many employers list it in their qualifications. With any computer software or program, any class or conversation can be interrupted at times by mobile devices and our own restlessness.
Narcissism in social media can be attributed to two factors. Social media allows individuals to express themselves and sometimes people are egotistical, whether we like it or not. Second, social media gives individuals an outlet for creativity that they might not feel comfortable voicing or showing in a board meeting or in a conversation in-person.
Just as actors portray different characters in each movie (besides Will Ferrell), sometimes we as humans like to present ourselves as something other than our true selves. This can be for coworkers, parents, family members or even our friends to give each what they want. Humans are naturally inclined to please others and sometimes mold themselves depending on the situation they are in.
For example, a normal teenager is almost an entirely different person when hanging out with friends, compared to when he/she is with his/her parents. The social media platform is no different.
With these concerns over social media and its effects, educating children (and adults) on how to effectively use social media will be extremely beneficial. Now, I’m not saying that social media education should be taught along with math or science, but it should be taught to keep children (and companies) from using it in a negative way. Learning how to manage social media, such as time spent using it, is also important.
Institutions such as public relations and advertisements have improved based on consumer feedback and up-to-date info provided by social media. The medium allows us to have a near instant conversation, whether it be through the use of video, audio or text.
Along with that, travelers use social media to stay in touch and update their friends and family. Social media also helps them to keep a personal journal or photo album that will be a complete and detailed record of their trip for years to come.
Social media inspires normal human beings to be creative. In order to receive a lot of “likes” or “+1’s”, the content we post has to be interesting and thought-provoking (for businesses and individuals).
But more than that, it has to be creative and original. Status updates and tweets …push the internet-at-large to improve their writing (spelling errors are mocked within an instant) and encourage everyone to let their creative juices flow.
Furthermore, Twitter and Facebook make us more connected to each other, in ways that we never thought possible! (Twitter is now available in 17 different languages).
Now after hearing those claims, some may say it would be easier to do away with social media. Whether you like it or not though, social media is here to stay. Like a tiny cell, it is developing and evolving ever-increasingly as we tweet, blog, post or speak!
Some related articles and videos: Social Network Analyst James Fowler
How Social Media Affects Children’s Brains and How it can be Used Positively
Travelers Use of Social Media
Complaints Against Social Media