The relative advantages and disadvantages of social media are a subject of frequent debate. Some of social media’s advantages include the ability of users to conveniently stay in touch with friends and family who live far away, connect with like-minded people, and expand business contacts, usually for free. Social media has also been used to increase awareness of social and political issues and organize demonstrations. Frequently cited disadvantages of social media include a decrease in real-world, personal connections and the possibilities of cyberbullying, stalking, hacking, and other privacy concerns.
One of the most important advantages of social media is certainly the speed and efficiency in which it allows communication between people. For example, in the 2013 protests which took place in Turkey, social media played a vital role in communication. Many of the protesters were young men and women, students, and they organized the protests using social media. The plans of where and how the protests would take place spread through social media accounts rapidly, staging some of the biggest protests that Turkish people had witnessed in the country's history.
This is a great example of how social media can be used for change and for public mobilization. Similar examples took place during the Arab Spring and other incidents across the world. Social media has given people, especially the new generation which is very computer savvy, a new and effective instrument to come together for issues they believe in.
Here is a short video that illustrates some of the pros and cons of social media:
The biggest advantage of social media is its power to connect people. It has become a popular way for family and friends who live far away from one another (sometimes internationally) to keep up with what is going on in each other’s lives, without the expensive cost of long-distance calling.
In a very different sphere, another advantage of social media is that it can used to connect people informally but academically. I know of other students who would not use Facebook at all if they didn’t need it for group projects and classes.
On the other hand, some critics have made the argument that social media only serves to drive people farther away from one another. While it is great that you can contact your aunt in another country, these digital interactions are still a poor replacement for face-to-face contact. Sometimes, friends don’t feel the need to be as close in real life because they think that chatting online can make up for this.
Another disadvantage of social media is that it can serve as a platform for inappropriate actions. People might do or say things they wouldn’t in real life because there are minimal rules for communication in social media.
One of the greatest advantages social media is that it allows news to travel quickly, across continents and oceans, which makes far away places seem significantly less far away. But at the same time the accelerated access to news is also the greatest disadvantage of social media because it allows false news to spread just as quickly. Social media allows just about anyone to create their own misinformed or intentionally skewed content that masquerades as news and the ease of access only serves to allow the masses to access information that may not be entirely true.
- quick and easy (simply log in on computer/mobile app)
- fast access to a large and diverse crowd/population
- typically free for most features (which is great for businesses/marketing)
- not limited due to geography
- lacks a personal touch; inability to connect in person
- lack of privacy (once posted, others have access to that information)
- open to security issues (hacking, viruses, etc.)
- requires constant commitment to maintain social media presence
Social media is a wonderful and powerful thing, yet it can also be quite harmful and lead to bad choices. One advantage of social media is the ability to communicate with many different people at one time. Chatting online with others can be a great way to strengthen long-distance ties with people you might not otherwise be able to talk to often. You can also rekindle friendships that might have been lost due to a move, a falling out, or just simply having lost touch.
Some of the disadvantages with being able to communicate more easily with multiple people on the internet is the threat, especially for teens and even sometimes young adults, of cyberbullying and stalking. Thousands of teens use social media everyday, but not all have the best intentions. Many use a computer screen to hide behind, which makes it easier to make fun of someone, because you are not interacting face-to-face. This can seriously damage the individuals who are getting bullied and cause them severe stress and pain.
So, while social media does have its advantages, if it is not used for what it was intended, many people could get hurt from it.
Social media is definitely an advantage when it comes to spreading news and bringing up new ideas. Social media is the reason Ferguson became as big as it did. When the whole event took place, if the people of Twitter and Tumblr hadn't come together to send their support and spread information about the injustice, the event might have died down just as quickly as it started. The events in Ferguson are still being discussed and it is all thanks to the sites who refuse to let it go until justice is served. Social media also has a hand in helping those in need. There are plenty of people who are suffering in life and may need a bit of money; thanks to social media all they have to do is build a GoFundMe page and share their story on a social platform where they have a higher chance of attracting the masses for help. Not only that, but social media is a big help when it comes to helping people connect. It is easier to find people you can relate to online. I, for example, enjoy listening to a type of music known as kpop, but no one around me has heard of it, but because of social media I was able to talk to many people who also enjoy this genre of music. I also happen to be an immigrant, and social media is the way I keep in touch with those I left behind. Thanks to Facebook I am able to talk to family members I haven't seen since I left seven years ago.
Despite all the advantages of social media, it is easy to see how toxic it can become and how the use of the platform can be used to do malicious things. Social media is the root of cyberbullying. It is easy to upload someone's private picture or information in front of hundreds, just for the sake of revenge. It is easy to act anonymously online, therefore making it easier to hurt someone without getting caught. Social media is also a place where it is easy to spread false information that no one questions, leading to misinformed people. It is easier to manipulate on the net than any other place. Social media is also a lurking place for predators. Online one only knows what the person in question decides to include, making it easy to prey on others.
- Easy and practical way to quickly communicate
- Reach people fast
- Connect with people all across the world
- Widen business contacts
- Less face-to-face communication
- Decreased privacy
- Takes time away from other things