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Effects of Social Media in the 21st century
The advent of social media has taken the world by storm. There is now a completely
different method of communication that has affected many different aspects of society. Gone are
the days of having to call somebody on the phone to talk to them. Now Smartphones are
equipped with texting capabilities and provide access to the multiple social media platforms that
are available. Social media provides a way for a vast amount of people to know what individuals
are doing, how they are feeling and what their likes and dislikes are. It is a new world of
communication and, for some, it is not all good. There are drawbacks to such mass
communication that range from identity theft to unethical and threatening behavior.
There are also many positive aspects of social media. For advertisers, it is a way to reach
a large audience with the lease cost. For families, it is a way they can correspond with each other
quickly and provides a way for them to keep in touch. How else has social media influenced the
way in which we socialize with people on the Internet as well as around us? This paper will
outline how social media has changed people’s way of life. It will also raise awareness of the
forms of cyberbullying currently taking place on the Internet and how it has affected the lives of
its victims. With detailed statistics showing percentages and numbers to give a vivid picture of
the current status of social media, the paper will discuss the positive role social media plays in
society while understanding the negative side as well.
This paper will look at the importance of social media ,different platforms of social
media, issues in usage of social media in particular privacy and bullying and how to stop bullies
on social media main focus on Facebook. This paper will also establish that there is more that
needs to be done to protect the rights of everyone who uses social media in terms of securing
their privacy and prevention of harassment.
People use social media for different reasons. It saves time and eliminates the
uncomfortable sense that exists sometimes when people talk on the phone. For anyone who has
ever been in the middle of a telephone conversation and at a loss for words, you will understand.
Then there is the saying goodbye. Sometimes people never know the right time to say goodbye
on the phone and a conversation can end abruptly. Social media takes care of all these concerns
by giving people more time to think about what they want to say and how they want to end the
The drawback is that shy or introverted people can use this as a way to avoid any real
human connection. People can just stay home and be on social media all day and too much of
anything is not healthy. This has basically made the landline telephone obsolete as it is more
convenient to communicate via social media platforms. Electronic communication has become
the most common form of communication with the advent of the computer age. Cell phones,
texting, and social media are the new forms people use to keep in constant communication with
the rest of the world.
One of the most popular social media platforms and one of the first is Facebook, created
by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004. In 2016 this social media organization boasted over 1.59 billion
monthly active users (“Influencer Marketing Automation | Tapinfluence”). These people have
created a Facebook account and a profile that includes information such as education, interests,
likes, and dislikes. “Friends” are chosen to communicate with from the long list of Facebook
users. People have found that it is a great way to exchange messages about current events and
trends. You can post messages and pictures on your Facebook page and everyone who is a
“friend” can check in and see how you are doing.According to Singh,Kumar and Singhal in their
paper “Impact Of Social Media Expressions On Value Perceptions And Purchase Intentions.”
advertisers have locked into the idea that information from Facebook users can be applied to
techniques geared towards their “likes” and “dislikes” posted on their Facebook page. They can
now better understand products consumers are happy with and those that are not as popular.
They can gear advertising techniques towards these results and increase their profits. The
problem is that some people feel this is an invasion of privacy and they do not appreciate
receiving unwanted “spam” in their email full of advertisements for products they do not want or
need. Ariana, Sim and Mirabella in their paper “The Impact Of Social Media On Vocabulary
Learning Case Study-Facebook,” argue that on the positive side, Facebook has become useful to
education and business as an effective means to exchange ideas and information. Unfortunately,
statistics show that there has been somewhat of a decline in economic growth because people are
staying home and communicating on social media rather than going shopping.
YouTube is another form of social media where people post videos that are available to
basically anyone with Internet access. It is an innovative way to get millions of people to see you
singing your favorite song or enjoying your last vacation. On the negative side, people do not
want all the extra attention that sometimes goes along with this although many people have been
“discovered” by talent agents after posting on YouTube.
A new social media platform became popular very quickly when Twitter was created in
2006. People can post short messages (called “tweets”) of no more than 140 characters and other
registered users can respond but their responses are limited to 140 characters as well. The
drawback of this is that information condensed to such a limited amount of characters can often
be misunderstood and misinterpreted. Some see it as a fun way to get a message out to a large
number of people.
When it comes to sharing moments through photos Instagram and Snapchat are the other
forms of social media communication which involve sharing pictures and videos. One good
feature of Instagram is that there is the ability to choose privacy settings so it limits the number
of people who can view the messages. Snapchat includes a timer that can limit how long
somebody can view the image before it disappears.
On the other hand, skype is a form of video-conferencing that has revolutionized realtime communication through the video-conferencing feature. People on Skype can see those they
are talking with on the screen. The future is now!
Finally, WhatsApp is available on Smartphones as a way to exchange messages and
documents over the Internet. The security of these transmissions is often in questions as they can
possibly intercept by unscrupulous online hackers.
All of these innovations have made social media the primary means of communication in
the world today. Unfortunately, it limits in-person human interaction and often gives people the
idea that they are anonymous so they can do what they want. Many platforms have protection
against this type of behavior but more has to be done to protect those who communicate through
social media. Privacy has become a serious issue and online intimidation and harassment are a
real concern. Social media has unfortunately made it easy for those who want to start trouble to
find many different ways to do so.
This has resulted in many instances of cyber-bullying, where people project their
aggressiveness and negativity on others. Examples of cyber-bullying include sending mean or
threatening text messages, Spreading rumors through posts and messages and false information
meant to damage somebody’s reputation. This has created a negative impact on society and puts
a damper on social media innovation.
Some of the ways that people have reacted to this is that; people are much more careful
now about who they share information with online and who has access to one’s social media
account. With more awareness and strict privacy settings, cyber-bullying will hopefully decrease.
Reporting cyber-bullying is also an important way to limit the number of instances. The problem
is that people avoid reporting these instances out of fear of retaliation. It was recently reported
that 65% of the population currently uses social media. The number of young people who use
social media has increased each year since 2009. The frightening fact is that over 55% of this age
group (18-29) have experienced or are aware of some form of cyber-bullying(“Pew Research
Center: Internet, Science & Technology”)(“No bullying – Bullying & Cyberbullying Resources”).
More has to be done to prevent this.
The online social media platforms particularly Facebook owing to its popularity should
be given much attention. One of the ways that should be implemented in any other ways is
content filtering where the said company restricts the content to be shared on the platform.
Increased monitoring of the social media platforms will make it easier to find those causing
trouble. Social media outlets should post stricter guidelines and penalties for those who are not
using the service as intended. Those who break the rules should be reported by forwarding the
messages to the internet service provider who in turn will forward it to the police for the
appropriate action to be taken.
With these steps in place, the Internet can become a much safer place and the instances of
cyber-bullying will be reduced. Nothing can stop the advancement of technology but as long as
people are aware of how they are protected when using social network platforms, the better their
experience will be. Social media can be a wonderful place to communicate and exchange
information between colleagues, friends and family, but everything that can be done must be
done to protect the privacy and safety of everyone who uses social media. Only then can the
industry advance to its full potential for the benefit of each individual. Each individual has to
take responsibility for their actions when using social media and remember to respect everyone
as though they were speaking to them in person.
Dell’Anno, Roberto, Thierry Rayna, and Offiong Helen Solomon. “Impact Of Social Media On
Economic Growth – Evidence From Social Media.” Applied Economics Letters 23.9 (2016):
633-636. Business Source Complete. Web. 17 June 2016.
Monica-Ariana, Sim, and Pop Anamaria-Mirabela. “The Impact Of Social Media On Vocabulary
Learning Case Study-Facebook.” Annals Of The University Of Oradea, Economic Science Series
23.2 (2014): 120-130. Business Source Complete. Web. 17 June 2016.
Weng, Lilian, and Filippo Menczer. “Topicality And Impact In Social Media: Diverse Messages,
Focused Messengers.” Plos ONE 10.2 (2015): 1-17. Academic Search Premier. Web. 17 June
Singh, Ajay Kumar, and Tarun Kumar Singhal. “Impact Of Social Media Expressions On Value
Perceptions And Purchase Intentions.” Amity Business Review 16.2 (2015): 32-40. Business
Source Complete. Web. 17 June 2016.
Hajli, M. Nick. “A Study Of The Impact Of Social Media On Consumers.” International Journal
Of Market Research 56.3 (2014): 387-404. Business Source Complete. Web. 17 June 2016
“No bullying – Bullying & Cyberbullying Resources”. Nobullying.com. N.p., 2013. Web. 28
“Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Technology”. Pewinternet.org. N.p., 2016. Web. 28
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