Social Media: A boon or a bane for society and individuals

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Social Media: A boon or a bane for society and individuals

Social Media has not only reshaped communication industry but has also redefined the ways in which we communicate and express. Social media websites such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc. constantly engage people in some or the other activity and amass people to get on the bandwagon of trending activities. We have embraced it so tenaciously that social media is now an integral part of our lives. It is sweeping across geographies, industries and almost every sphere. Not only individuals but also businesses, governments are utilizing social media platforms for constant engagement with the masses. Though social media offers a global platform to share and express but its constant engagement is affecting individual productivity, relationships and society as a whole.

Key Facts and Figures:

  • In 2019, it is estimated that there will be around 2.77 billion social network users around the globe.
  • According to a report by we are social, a leading marketing and communications services to organizations in the United Kingdom, the number of people using the top social media platform in each country has increased by almost 1 million new users every day during the past 12 months.
  • The global number of people using social media has grown by 13 percent in the past 12 months, with Central and Southern Asia recording the fastest gains.
  • Facebook is the most preferred social media platform. With more than 2000 million Facebook user world over, if a country is constituted with them, it would be the world’s third largest, behind China and India.
  • The other popular social media platforms are You Tube, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Whatsapp etc.
  • According to the 2017 official report published by Facebook, on average there were 1.40 billion  Daily active users of Facebook for December 2017, an increase of 14% year-over-year.
  • According to the same source, on average there were 2.13 billion Monthly active users of Facebook as of 31 December 2017, an increase of 14% year-over-year.
  • According to forecasts from media analyst firm BIA/Kelsey, U.S. social media advertisement revenues are expected to grow to USD 24.2 billion in 2021. 
  • A researcher linked to Cambridge Analytica (CA), a political consulting firm had accessed details of 50 million Facebook users. The data was shared with Cambridge Analytica, which used online data to reach voters on social media with personalized messages and swayed 2016 US elections

A positive force

  • Social media provides a global platform to express one’s views and ideas without any reservations or biasness.
  • It allows instant communication with friends and family and automatically provides up to date information also known as “statuses” while allowing us to find new individuals to meet.
  • Social Media is a cost-effective marketing and branding tool. It has created a paradigm shift in the way brands advertise and market products.
  • Social media has created new avenues for learning and job creation which never existed before the advent of social media.
  • Governments of many countries are leveraging social media to engage with the citizens and to garner their support, suggestions and views on policies for effective governance. Utilization of social media for general election by Prime Minister Narendra Modi played an imperative role in his success.

A distraction and hinderance

  • While many users feel their personal data is safe on social networking sites because they have set high levels of security settings research suggests this is not the case. A case in point is the recent case where a researcher linked to Cambridge Analytica (CA), a political consulting firm had accessed details of 50 million Facebook users. The data was shared with Cambridge Analytica, which used online data to reach voters on social media with personalized messages and swayed 2016 US elections.
  •  Social media sites can make it more difficult for us to distinguish between the meaningful relationships we foster in the real world, and the numerous casual relationships formed through social media. 
  • While on the surface it appears social networking brings people together across the Internet, in a larger sense it may create social isolation.
  • While many businesses use social networking sites to find and communicate with clients, the sites also prove a great distraction to employees who may show more interest in what their friends are posting than in their work tasks. 
  • Cyber bullying is another growing trend among social media websites. 
  • Addiction to social media results in a number of negative health impacts such as strain, eye problems, fatigue, distraction etc.
  • Even terrorist organizations like al Qaeda and ISIS use social media to spread their propaganda and also polarize people.
  • With proliferation of social media the average attention span of humans has reduced to 8 seconds and the situation is graver for millennial.

Tips to improve participation in GD round

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