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What are the advantages and disadvantages of social media?

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 easily stay in touch with friends and family, connect with like-minded people, and expand business contacts. Social media has also been used to increase awareness of social and political issues and organize demonstrations. Frequently cited disadvantages of social media include privacy concerns and a decrease in real-world social interactions.

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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.

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sarneson88 | Student

We are in the midst of grappling with the answers to this question as a society. Because we are living it, the answer is ever evolving, developing by post and tweet by tweet, dwindling into a mundane mass, or going viral for fleeting minutes of fame. The alive, thriving and organic nature of social media naturally creates advantages and disadvantages that intermingle, and that we are just beginning to realize. Volume, instant access, and inflammatory content are both advantages and disadvantages to social media.

The volume of sheer information is intoxicating and revolutionary; with the click of a button you can research any topic and learn what others think. You quickly compare and contrast views, add your own voice to the conversation, and learn. You can also get lost in misinformation, misdirection, and flat out lies. You can enrich your world view, and jump to false conclusions all in the same session. There are organizational tools in the form of forums and groups that can organize the volume around your interests. These can become intoxicating wastes of time, or fascinating forays that deepen your knowledge.

Instant access to information via social media has made us all experts on politics, global events, and our neighborhood. We know NOW when something is happening, usually as it develops. While knowledge is certainly power, and learning about your world both large and small opens your mind, it also can simply be too much. The barrage of instant access content can make us immune to events that should shock us into action, and allow to assume we have deeper knowledge than a flash of content can ever provide.

Inflammatory content comes in the form of passionate outcries of opinions, pictures that move us to tears, and the combination of both in a multitude of settings. At best, this can inspire good deeds, turn thought into works, and connect like minded others who can take actions together for the greater good. At worst, this can provoke rage and trigger a desire to be right and win the argument at all cost. Sometimes the cost is very human.

We must understand the advantages and disadvantages of social media if we are to take its inherent power and use it to propel us forward instead of setting us back. We are in the midst of it. Ultimately, the advantages and disadvantages are ours to shape.

professorsanders | Student

There are many advantages and disadvantages to social media, and this is an area of Sociology which is currently being studied for greater understanding. This would most likely fall under Cultural Studies or even the more specific Media Studies catagory. The truth is- we just don't know yet what the long-lasting impacts of social media will be on society, and how they will change our world. We are just now entering a time when we will have an entire generation of people who grew up with social media during their entire existence. The debate continues, and it is a truly interesting one with great points and lots of supporting evidence on both sides.

In terms of the advantages of social media, you can think of globalization as the best example. We are now more connected than ever before. There is an app for most things, and as a result we have a global society, rather than one divided by a lack of contact. We can interact in second through social media, and stay connected more than ever before.

On the disadvantage side, some would point to disconnection in "real world" experiences as evidence of the downsides of increased screen time. For example, dating can now be conducted through apps rather than face-to-face interactions. Is it negative to interact through a screen rather than in person? Time will tell. Another example of a disadvantage can be seen in our reliance on social media. In other words, some fear we are becoming increasingly reliant on technology to fill the gaps in our lives. This leaves us vulnerable to social media-dependance. Does "social media addiction" exist? Some would say yes. What do you think?

nguthrie1 | Student

Social Media has many ups and downs and to so many it can be the light of their day or it can bring darkness.

Pros:

  • Keeping up with friends and family
  • Keeping up with news and current events
  • Entertainment
  • Staying on top of what’s trending
  • Research and information gathering

Cons:

  • Misleading information
  • Striving to keep up appearances
  • Procrastinating and Distractions

Heres an article that further discu the pros and cons of social media.

https://www.success.com/20-pros-and-cons-of-social-media-use/

triciah-3 | Student

Social media has experienced tremendous growth in the last decade. People are now more connected than ever before. However, just like all other technologies, social media has both advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages

One of the benefits of social media is that it provides a free of charge avenue for learning. There is free education that can be gained from conversing and following teachers, experts, students and professionals online. The second advantage is that social media provides increased connectivity. The technology allows people to connect regardless of geographical location. Social media also provides useful platforms for receiving news and updates on current events. Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook can be accessed at any time to remain updated with any news from across the world. Social media has also been helpful in developing and growing businesses. Businesses use social media to promote their products and services as well as to improve their reputation. For example, when a company receives positive comments and reviews on their social media account, it gives potential customers the confidence to engage them. The government and its agencies also use social media to fight crime. The officials can search the online presence of a suspect to know what kind of a threat they pose to society. Other advantages include building communities by allowing people with similar interests to form groups where they can share.

Disadvantages

Social media can cause addiction which can be harmful to the user's life. Addiction can result in problems such as unhealthy withdrawal from family and friends. The excessive use of social media also causes the individual to waste time that could have been used engaging in productive activities. Social media has also provided an avenue for fraudsters and scammers to reach millions of people. Through social media, people who are not cautious can be easily conned. Another disadvantage is cyberbullying. The technology provides anonymity which can be used to threaten, intimidate and spread rumours about others. Teenagers and young adults are the most affected by cyberbullying. Another disadvantage of social media is the possibility of hacking where personal data can be hacked and shared online. For example, private data stolen from personal accounts can be used for identity theft. Other disadvantages of social media include health issues, where excess use contributes to an inactive lifestyle. Social media can also support engaging in detrimental behaviours because it glamorizes them, for example, alcohol, drugs and sex.

scotty17 | Student

Let's begin with the positive aspects of social media. Popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest (as well as others) allow users access to information that traditional media does not cover. Furthermore, social media provides ways of meeting new people as well as connecting with family and friends in a near instantaneous manner.

Moreover, savvy or even inexperienced entrepreneurs can promote their business online or advocate for a noble cause (pet rescue, helping veterans, etc).

One of the other advantages concerns connectivity with respect to learning about different cultures in a globalized world.

With respect to the disadvantages, there are several. One of the foremost complaints of psychologists and sociologists concerns addiction. Much like a drug (alcohol or otherwise), a growing number of people are so consumed with being online that it disrupts their normal life.

Perhaps the greatest danger of social media is that one's data/information can be hacked by unscrupulous persons for pleasure, revenge or gain.

In addition, there is a modicum of instances of flirting which then leads to infidelity or cheating on one's spouse. Moreover, there is always the danger of spreading false information or what has been coined "fake news."

majeswandar | Student

Since the previous answer was mostly positive I will play devil's advocate and give you some of the negatives of social media. The biggest negative that I see is that of safety. Right now you can easily find the location of almost anyone on social media. Do you want to find dirt on someone? Just simply type in their name into Google and you will often find something. Want to know their phone number? just check their Facebook. Same with their addressee, ect.

Another negative would go hand in hand with what the above poster said. It allows all groups to come together much easier. Hate groups are able to find each other much more easily these days and form bigger groups that allow them to perform much larger demonstrations.

Then their is also the mental stress that it can cause by always being connected to everyone. Always being buffeted by so much information. It has been proven that anxiety and depression can be worsened by the onslaught of information that you are given daily.

More information on that can be found here https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/why-we-worry/201612/social-media-loneliness-and-anxiety-in-young-people

iminasian | Student

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. 

jschultz2008 | Student

Advantages:

  • 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

Disadvantages

  • 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
thewanderlust878 | Student

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.

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atyourservice | Student

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.

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chrisyhsun | Student

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.

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shmindle | Student

Advantages:

  • Easy and practical way to quickly communicate
  • Reach people fast
  • Connect with people all across the world
  • Widen business contacts

Disadvantages:

  • Less face-to-face communication
  • Decreased privacy 
  • Hackers
  • Takes time away from other things
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