Social Sciences Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using social media for debate?

Expert Answers info

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write10,812 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

The advantages and disadvantages of debating on social media are closely related. The main advantage is that social media is a very inclusive, open platform on which people can express their opinions. This makes for a more frank, honest debate among people who would otherwise never get the chance to debate with each other.

However, the downside to such openness is a lack of quality control. Not all debates are the same; some are more illuminating than others. All too often social media seems to encourage a form of discourse that is at times angry, offensive, and highly abusive. As people who debate on social media can hide behind a cloak of anonymity, this often encourages the spread of extreme opinions. Racism, misogyny, and support for various terrorist groups thrive on social media due to the anonymity that the various platforms have the capacity to provide. In turn, this means that social media has become a breeding ground for trolls, creating a profoundly hostile environment for far too many people.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

bloomart6-7 | Student

The main detriment of using social media as an arena for debate, is the anonymity of the users. People get mean, very quickly, when they aren't dealing with individuals face to face. Somehow being in the virtual world makes it easier to lose one's scruples, and sense of decorum. I've seen this happen again and again on Facebook, and other sites. What starts out as a wholesome and well balanced discussion can quickly deteriorate into a situation where labels and insults are being hurled in every direction.

The benefits of social media, as a tool for debate, are not always evident to me. It is accessible by most, and a social outlet for many. It also provides a way of engaging that takes less effort and energy than interactions that require being fully present, and in person do. It can sharpen wits, and open minds to unique manners of thinking.

chesed09 | Student

Social media has changed the way most people live their lives on a day-to-day basis for either business purposes or personally. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and many other social media outlets may serve a different meaning for people such as keeping up with family and friends, being a social media influencer/entrepreneur or merely learning how to make a new recipe. While visiting your favorite social networking sites, it is essential to keep in mind that social media has many advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Social Media

Social media can be helpful in many ways, and many instances can make you accessible in ways that weren’t always possible.

1). Business Opportunities

Social media provides business opportunities for corporations, entrepreneurs, and many types of professional organizations. Individuals can quickly sell their products and have direct access to customers around the world.

2). Real-time Updates

Social media is an excellent source to stay updated on the news as events happen. If you are interested in what is going on all you have to do is get online at any time of the day, and you can stay current with news, politics, sports, or any other topic that you may be interested in at the time.

3). Sharing Common Attributes

What’s great about social media is you can follow individuals or join groups who share similar interest as you or maybe even your dislikes. Commonality groups can be helpful in sharing ideas, tips, or supporting each other. Also, social networking sites can provide live feeds for church services, counseling sessions, and a plethora of additional interest.

Disadvantages of Social Media

Social media has risks that you should be aware of when visiting these websites.

1). Identity Theft

You must be aware that individuals scan social media for individuals posting their personal information. Thieves only need minimal information which could completely ruin your life. Bankrate stated that Millennials share so much of their lives online making then the fastest growing group of identity theft victims.

2). Distracting

If you’re not careful, you could waste hours by mindlessly browsing on social media. It is easy to get distracted by constant notifications which could cause you to procrastinate and neglect your daily responsibilities at home, school, or work.

3). Being Hacked

Many employers regularly check social media sites to ensure their employees aren’t posting inappropriate content. Social media accounts are hacked on a daily basis and hackers could post information that could cause a lot of problems in your life. So, it is integral that you safeguard your personal information and don’t click on random links that could be used to gain access to your computer taking control of your social media accounts.

These are just a few of the advantages and disadvantages of social media, so have fun but always be mindful of the information you post.

Further Reading:

ljdaggett | Student

There are several advantages and disadvantages to using social media for debate. First, let's examine the advantages.

One of the main advantages to debating on social media platforms is that the debate can be held asynchronously, which means, "out of time." One person can create a point, and others can take as much time as necessary to research, compose their thoughts, and deliver a counterpoint. This can lead to more thoughtful debates.

Additionally, social media has a further reach than your immediate social circle. By using social media to debate, you may be exposed to opinions from people with vastly different perspectives and experiences than you.

Other advantages include a record of the debate that is easily searchable and the fact that the debate can easily be picked up again at a later date.

The main disadvantage of debating on social media is that many people may not take the debate seriously. People may approach the debate with different goals: some wanting simply to "win" while others want to honestly explore a question. Additionally, online debates are often sidetracked by unrelated points, which can get all participants off-topic. Finally, most people do not tend to cite source material in social media debates, which can make it difficult to find and evaluate the source of each point made.