Best 10 Pros and Cons of Social Media Use
Back in 2005, when social media was still in its infancy, only about 5 percent of users in the United States were involved in social media. In 2019, that number grew to about 70 percent.
- Pew Research Center surveyed social media usage and popularity among US adults early in 2019. The survey found that while the most-used social platforms for adults are YouTube and Facebook; teens prefer Snapchat and Instagram, while TikTok is reportedly the fastest-growing social network among younger users.
- Social media use is nearly universal among today’s teens. Pew Research Center reports 97 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds use at least one of seven major online platforms.
- The amount of time spent on social sites is astounding. One report indicates the average teenaged 13 to 18 spends about nine hours on social media each day; tweens aged 8 to 12 are on for about six hours a day.
Like most things, using social media has its positives (the good), its cautionary tales (the bad), and dangers (the ugly) that lurk and impact the lives of many, but especially teens.
What Is Social Media?
Social media is a tool that allows users to build networks and groups of contacts to manage relationships and friendships.
Individual users create a profile and post about anything they want to share with their group. They consider how to present themselves online to create a personal brand.
And, if they have a significant following, they can become ‘influencers’ to share sponsored content with their audience.
Brands can also use social media to engage their audience and customers directly.
The common elements that define social media include:
- Operates through a digital app or platform
- Users create an individual profile
- Users build networks and connections with other individuals
- A platform for user-generated content
- Allows two-way dialogue with comments
What are the benefits of social media?
Social media provides several benefits, including the following:
- User visibility. Social platforms let people easily communicate and exchange ideas or content.
- Business and product marketing. These platforms enable businesses to quickly publicize their products and services to a broad audience. Businesses can also use social media to maintain a following and test new markets. In some cases, the content created on social media is the product.
- Audience building. Social media helps entrepreneurs and artists build an audience for their work. In some cases, social media has eliminated the need for a distributor, because anyone can upload their content and transact business online. For example, an amateur musician can post a song on Facebook, and get instant visibility among their network of friends, who in turn share it on their networks.
Best 10 Pros and Cons of Social Media Use
Today, we often perceive anyone who shuns social media as old or out of touch. However, they might be the most mentally fit among us. In reality, most people have little awareness of the frequency with which they check their phones. In a 2015 study, participants checked their phones an average of 85 times each day and spent 5.05 hours per day using their smartphones. This is concerning because several studies and researchers have associated social media with several psychiatric disorders, including depressive symptoms, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
Consider these 10 notable pro and con stances regarding social media use.
- Messaging on social media sites can lead to face-to-face interactions when plans are made via the sites.
- Social media increases voter participation and facilitates political change.
- Social media helps reduce the loneliness of senior citizens who are socially isolated.
- Social media allows for the quick diffusion of public health and safety information during crisis events.
- The U.S. military and the Department of Veterans Affairs use social media to help prevent suicide.
- Social media can help disarm social stigmas like anxiety or depression.
- Crowdsourcing on social media allows people to attain a goal, empowering users to achieve positive change.
- Social media provides academic research to a wider audience, allowing people access to previously inaccessible educational resources.
- Social media sites can help improve overall well-being by providing users with a large social group creating a “contagion” effect.
- Professional networking sites like LinkedIn greatly assist companies to find personnel and job seekers to find work.
- Social media posts cannot be entirely deleted.
- Social media can endanger our military, journalists, and activists.
- Social media use is associated with personality and brain disorders.
- Students who are heavy social media users tend to have lower grades.
- Social media can exacerbate feelings of disconnect and put children at higher risk for anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, eating disorders, and even suicide.
- Criminals can use social media to commit and promote crimes.
- Social media can be a drain on time and use up hours that you can’t get back.
- Advertising practices of social media sites may create an invasion of privacy.
- Social media facilitates sexting, which can lead to revenge porn, criminal charges, and a proliferation of personal images.
- Social media use can cause personality and brain disorders, ADHD, and self-centered personalities—particularly in youth.
Clinical psychologist and author of The Teen Girl’s Survival Guide, Dr. Lucie Hemmen writes that “Most people experience huge benefits from taking a social media break. There is a way in which cultivating and maintaining your online identity can replace an authentic connection to your true self. The more grounded you are in your authentic value as a human being, the less likely you are to be a heavy user of social media and also to be negatively affected by it.”
For example, if you know that your value is deeper and more complex than what you post and how many likes and comments you receive, then you are probably social media resilient.
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