I have personally experienced the power of social media. Facebook has allowed me to maintain friendship with people in Ireland, England, and New Zealand. While studying abroad with limited internet and technology access I was able to share my experience with my family and friends through pictures, Skype, and messaging. Twitter allowed me to follow the events of the marathon bombing. I have been able to attend Celtics games, concerts, and musical shows due to organization and advertising done through Facebook. Even though I am one who is constantly behind on the social media trends, it is hard for me to imagine my life without technology and social media in my life. It is ingrained in almost every aspect of our lives.
I recognize, appreciate, and utilize the advantages of social media and the growth of technology and even believe that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of social media. I argue that it is important for us to be aware of the downfalls and negative impacts of social media so that we can utilize it in the most powerful and productive way. As Professor Kane talked about in class today, “Social media is a competency that can be learned and taught. It is about the wisdom of the crowd.” It made me question my idea that it is the tool of social media that is causing societal impacts, but now am convinced that what is more important to consider is how we as people use these tools. I decided to take this blog post to bring attention to some of the negative consequences of social media. Here are some consequences that I brainstormed:
- Unrealistic Expectations-Because we can choose what is and is not on our public profile we have skewed perceptions of our friends’ lives.
- Health Implications-Because we are spending hours on the internet we are not exercising. How will our eyes be affected by constantly looking at a screen?
- Cyber Bullying-If we aren’t competent in social media it can be used to hurt us
- Inaccurate Information-We saw this with Reditt!
- Loss of Face to Face Communication-self-explanatory
- Privacy Issues-Where do we draw the line?
- Question of Authenticity-Due to the speed of the internet, how can we identify original ideas?
- Inability of legal system to keep up with growth of social media
Some who see these negative impacts rebel against the mainstream ways and reject social media completely. Here is a link to a story of someone who quit using social media. She claims that the following are three reasons to quit social media:
- It hurts your self-esteem
- “Your blood pressure will thank you”
- Online is no substitute for Offline
To me, it seems like many of these pitfalls and consequences can be avoided if we as users are educated on how to use social media correctly. We need to learn when we can trust information, what is appropriate to share, and how to filter the information that we see. It seems like younger users are more susceptible to these dangers. As a college student, my use of social media has transformed and developed over the last four years. We need to use our collective knowledge and awareness to “check” each other and unsure that accurate information is out there. In researching for this blog I have found that we are already starting to do this. There are blog posts that provide tips and tricks to better use social media. Here are some that I found:
· Remember that people post their greatest hits, not their blooper reel.
· Limit online time
· Set up the right profile
· Find the right filters and right tools
· Invest time to build your presence and engagement
We can continue to keep each other accountable and warn each other of the dangers of social media. Here is a link to see tips that allow you effectively use social media in the business world:
Be mindful, attentive, and aware when using social media. Social media only is what we are. What are other pitfalls of social media that you think we as users should be aware of?