What are some advantages of social media?

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kateanswers eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Though people may disagree over whether social media is a positive or negative influence in our lives, it certainly offers some benefits that cannot be found elsewhere. Social media websites and applications like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn help millions of people get connected and stay connected.

The biggest advantage social media offers in my mind is the ability to stay in touch with people who are far away. People who may not have access to a phone or postal service can use social media to stay up to date with friends, family, and colleagues. Even if someone does have the means to communicate in other ways, using a website like Facebook helps people to stay in touch even when they have different schedules. In my own experience, I have a very busy family and it can be difficult to know when is the best time to give grandma a call. With Facebook, I can send her a message and know that she will respond on her own time. It's also a great, low-cost way to share photos with family and friends.

Applications like Instagram offer a significant advantage to people interested in the arts. Free social media websites create a platform where artists of all levels of experience who work in all mediums can share photo or video of their creations. Many artists can't afford fees to rent space in a gallery, or may not be able to market themselves locally. Representing oneself on the internet makes art available to an exponentially larger audience than sharing art locally. Because apps like Instagram are intended for smartphones, it significantly cuts down on a photographer's monetary investment if they can combine their equipment (a camera) and art-sharing (online) into one item!

Businesses may find an advantage in using social media. Having a company profile with services like Facebook and LinkedIn can help businesses look for new employees and stay in touch with customers. Customers may find it easier to voice questions and concerns to businesses through platforms like Facebook rather than by phone, email, or a hand-written letter. Many businesses even choose to offer special deals to customers who engage with them on social media, such as offering discount codes only on a particular platform. 

Social media also really open up many people's global consciousness. Millions of people from all over the world use social media, and though that comes with a certain level of language barrier(s), it opens up the possibility to connect with people from very far away. Thanks to social media, it is possible to stay in touch with events from across the globe as soon as they happen and often before official news reporters or journalists have arrived on the scene. 

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