I chose to write on this important topic because of its need and relevance. I think a better understanding should be thrown on the concept and use of social media. Social media is an online platform that enhances interactions between people. According to wikipedia, Social media are computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks
Some popular social media platforms are Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter, instagram, whatsapp, skype, snapchat, pinterest, Google+ etc. If a proper research is carried out, it will be discovered the highest user of social media are the youth.
As popularly known, everything that has a good side also has a bad side and social media is one of those things. I will not be so wrong to say that the negative side of social media outweighs the positive. Hence its misuse. But then, we must bear in mind that these platforms were created to solve certain problem. So the misuse of these platforms is not directly caused by those who built the system, but rather by the end users, for whom the system was built.
Advantages of social media
Social media has lots of advantages which must not be neglected. These advantages include;
- Bridge communication gap: Social media is a great tool that must be deployed to bridge communication has. Indeed, it has successfully bridged such a gap. Social media fall under the Information Technology cum telecommunication industry. By telecommunication, we mean communicating in a far distance. Taking a close look at each of these social media platforms, you will agree that each of us has one or more friends whom we are geographically separated from each other.
Nature creates a geographical divide among us but social media comes in to bridge such a gap. In some cases, we interact with people whom we do not know and we might never know them in the real world. Also, with social media, you can share an information and it will be seen by millions of people (especially for boosted posts). Therefore, this is the very first importance of social media.
- Enhances interactivity: As much as social media bridges the gap in communication, it is also important to know that it enhances interactivity. We see many groups and pages on these platforms and as such the goal of enhancing interactivity is achieved.
- News gathering: It is also a platform through which many people gather news of daily happenings. Since the world has moved into the digital, newspapers are now in low demands and with time might become obsolete. Many of the internet users are not aware of websites that provides news. All they know is Facebook, whatsapp, instagram etc. Many other people who are aware of news websites, goes and get news and then comes and shares the news via various online platforms. Therefore, those who knows about social media platforms and nothing more will have the privilege of also staying updated as a result of the information share by a friend.
- Communication at a low cost: Online platforms also enhances communication at a low cost. The only thing we do is to subscribe frequently to have internet access. Consider all the communication you make via online platforms. If they were to be made as calls, check out how much it will cost you. Then you will agree with me that social media saves you more than 10 times of the money you use for calls.
- Means of learning: Also, social media is a great medium for learning. If you have fully engaged the social media, you will agree that there are lots of things that you have learnt via some of these platforms which you might not have learnt from anywhere, not even in the classroom.
For example, we see some boosted posts on our Facebook timeline title “thing to consider before choosing a project topic”. If you click on the ink, it takes you the website where such content was published. After reading the content, you find it so helpful. You might not have heard about the website that published that content before and you might not remember to memorize that name. Still you might not even know the person who composed the content but you have benefited from it. So you see how Facebook has helped in learning.
- Means of socializing: As the name implies, it is a means of socializing. Hangouts are done via some of these platforms. Virtual meetings are held via some of the platforms too. Birthdays, wedding anniversaries etc are done via some of these platforms. Therefore, social media is a means of socializing. Most times, we make more friends on the on social platforms than we make in the real world. We see people who are introverts having thousands of friends on their various social platforms, yet in the real world, they might not have up to two hundred friends.
- Job creation/awareness: LinkedIn is very good for this purpose. Companies use their various social media pages to advertise vacancies in the organizations. These platforms has created tons of jobs and has also published various job openings.
- Business promotion: Businesses are also promoted via these platforms. For example, I have gotten more traffics to my two websites (christianityupdate and infoducation) by promoting my contents on social media than through search engines and direct links.
These are just few of the advantages of social media, yet the full advantages of social media cannot be overemphasized. But the sad part of the story is that many of end users of these platforms only know about communication and nothing more. They chat morning, afternoon and night. Even when they are not chatting, they still decide to remain online doing nothing meaningful.
Therefore, the next section of this post talks about how these platforms are been misused.
1) Posting trash: Many times, many students and young people in general post unnecessary contents on these platforms. Although, some of these platforms provides strong privacy policies, terms and conditions for use, yet many abuse its use. I have deleted many friends from my list because of this act. If you are currently reading this post and you are guilty of what I just stated, then may I inform you that you are misusing the social media.
2) Reading unnecessary post: The above point spoke about posting trash, yet it becomes so unfortunate to see people reading these posts. Many people are into cultism because of the contents they read via social platforms. Remember that you are a product of what you read, therefore, be careful and mindful of the kind of things you read via these social platforms.
3) Sharing contents that are supposed to be private: Many people have betrayed themselves by making public that which was supposed to be private. Many people use these platforms for sharing their nude pictures and many other things. Life has two side, the private and the public. That which is to be private should be kept private.
I heard of a kidnapper who after his arrest, confessed that he gathers information of his culprits via social media. He claims he monitors his targets via the kind of things they post and as such knows when and how to strike. There are lots of people who post everything thing that happens in every stage of their lives on social media. To the point that when they want to travel, they share it on Facebook. Be careful on the kind of things you share online.
4) Means of fraud and theft: Social media has become the greatest means of fraud. We have heard of those people known as yahoo boys of gee guys, they execute all their fraud via these platforms. Many countries has lost their integrity because of the kind of fraudulent acts carried out by their citizens online. Remember that when you commit fraud, you are not only hampering your reputation, but that of your country and in turn, you stand to block the way for some genuine people.
5) Always online: The greatest way in which these platforms has been misused is by always been online. The time which is supposed to be channeled into meaningful endeavors are been wasted online. The owners of these social platforms are multi billionaires but unfortunately, we spend all our time in enriching them. Sadly, the more we enrich them, the poorer we become. Social media is not a thing to be done every time, therefore, reduce the usage. Research has shown that those who spend larger time on these social media platforms are not as useful and responsible as they should.
6) View porn: There are lots of pornographic contents on social media and many young people resort to watching them frequently. This is also another means through which social media is been misused.
7) Hate speech: As much as we know that the social media is a platform where you can share you own mind and ear your view, yet it has resulted to lots of hate speeches. Most times, the effect of these hate speeches are felt offline. Meaning that when the offense is committed online, the punishment is received offline.
8) Others: if you try to report a post to Facebook, you will find options like, harassment, violence, nudity, false news, hate speech, spam, suicide and unauthorized sales. These are all mediums through which social media has been abused. In 2017, Facebook hired about 3000 people to monitor the kind of posts made by users. This is because its attention has been drawn to the incessant misuse of the platform.
Effects of misusing social media platforms
1) Wars: The misuse of these platforms has led to wars. Cold wars has arisen through it and also physical wars. Therefore, do not use it controversially.
2) Broken relationship: Many relationships has been broken through the misuse of these online platforms. I have heard several stories like that and I guess you have heard such stories also.
3) Sexual harassment: Young people has been unduly exposed to sex just because of the misuse of these social media
4) Killing: Killings and fighting has erupted as a result of hate speeches and misunderstood contents.
Having said so much, let me provide some meaningful points on how to maximize social media for the maximum outcome.
1) Plan your time: The very first way to maximize social media is by planning your time properly. You must have an actionable plan that will keep you guided. When you successfully ration your time properly, it will help to avoid wasting time on irrelevant things. I recommend that you read this article 21 advice to every tough minded you for a better understanding.
2) Decide to use it well: As much as many people are misusing these platforms, you must decide not to misuse them. Make up your mind to use this platforms very well. If only these platforms can be properly utilized, you will find out that there so many benefits that can be derived from social media.
3) Chatting should not be done always: Make sure that you do not limit social media to chatting and making friends. As much as socializing is the major focus of these platforms, yet there are more to the learnt and gained from them. Therefore, discover other things you can do with them and do them well.
4) Curtail your excesses: In your use of the social media, you must learn to curtail your excesses. Be mindful of how you use it. Do not be so desperate in using the social media else you stand the chance of abusing it.
I have spent a little time on this article so as to correct the menace of the social media. It is absolutely unpleasant how many of us spend almost 6 hours on social media daily. If you spend six hours daily, it means that you spend forty two hours weekly. Forty two hours per week is so much to be wasted. Many profitable things can be done with this time. Some companies recruit via LinkedIn.
Some expert give out lectures via Facebook. Most trending information are shared via twitter. You can promote your career via instagram and many more. Use these features well. Thanks for reading and I hope it enlightened you. Use the comment button to share your own opinion and throw your own view.