Social media has revolutionized the way we interact with the world. Initially the social media sites were established with the sole purpose of connecting with friends. For example, the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zukerberg claimed that he developed Facebook to communicate with his fellow students and friends regarding the college projects. However, now the horizon and coverage of social media has vastly widened since the development of countless other social media sites including the big wigs like Twitter, Signal, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube, TickTok and many others. According to a report by Forbes, there are more than 3.8 billion social media users and the number is increasing every day.
Impact of social media:
Social media is influencing virtually every field of human activity. It has transformed all the fields and disciplines that it has touched. It has left its footprints on diverse human fields including education, business, health and care, news media, advertising agencies, entertainment industry, marketing and the society as a whole.
Education and social media:
The use of social media sites in educational institutions is gaining traction since the past decades. Students employ the material that is available on the social media sites such as YouTube to prepare for exams. The educational videos at YouTube had been instrumental during the Corona virus lockdowns, when the students had to attend online classes and many teachers started uploading lectures on YouTube and Facebook. Moreover, the students can upload, send, receive and discuss course material and improve learning experience with the multiple opportunities on the social media networks such as WhatsApp, Signal, and Facebook.
Business and social media:
The businesses have also evolved with the revolution of social media. Now global, regional as well as local businesses are employing social media tools for advertising their businesses, improving the reach of their products, connecting with their customers and providing them with the best discount offers. Small businesses are at the advantageous position due to the rise of social media networks. Now they can show case their craft and expertise with minimum costs to maximum audience and clients. Businesses have improved the personalization of products with increased customer loyalty. According to a report by Buffer, more than 73% marketers agree that social media has effective role in business strategy. All the clothing brands, food chains, fashion brands, hotels and other business organizations are using social media to propagate their businesses via ad agencies.
Politics and social media:
Social media is influencing the politics across the globe. According to Pew Research Study, around 62% people acquire political news via the social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. It must also be noted that most of famous political figures in different countries are using one or the other social media site and the most popular among them is Twitter. The political figures use social media sites to propagate their agendas, mobilize their supporters and advance their ideologies to win or lose election battles with effective strategies. However, social media is also being employed to establish smear campaigns, misinformation regarding political figures and propagation of terrorist agenda by the miscreants and terrorist organizations. According to the Economist, the 2016 Presidential Elections of USA reeked of misinformation propagated via social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
News Media and social media:
Social media has greatly transformed the way we consume, and publish news. Social media sites are proving to be the competitors of the print and electronic media channels. According to a survey, around 66% of users acquire news via Facebook and 59% Twitter users acquire news via the site. This indicates the trend of social media users towards depending of the respective social sites for news instead of relying on print or electronic sources. Many journalists and news anchors are also employing social media for publishing breaking news regarding important political news, sports news etc. YouTube channels for publishing breaking news are no more a novelty and the huge following of such YouTube channels tell the tale of a declining print and electronic media channels.
Society and social media:
Society as a whole is the ultimate beneficiary of the revolution started by the social media sites. These sites have virtually transformed the world into a global village. Now the families and friends are being connected together with the aid of audio, video phone calls, conference calls, discussions, zoom meeting via the social sites. Social media has come out to be the biggest supporter of social work across the globe. Many social, ethical, environmental problems are being addressed via using the aforementioned social media sites. Recently the Black Lives Matter movement in the America gained traction across many continents and countries and people came out in solidarity with the victims of the racist ideologies by using social media. Further, different global communities are tackling the issue of climate change on social media sites by creating awareness regarding the conservation of mother Earth.
Downside of using social media:
- Fake news and misinformation campaigns on social media are really creating divisions among the nations.
- Social media addiction is causing the young generation to ignore their real lives and affecting the mental health of the younger generation.
- The cyber attacks on social media accounts are playing with the privacy of the users and often lead to breach of private information available at these sites.
- The social media sites offer free platforms for violent activities, which create violent tendencies among the users.
- Terrorist organizations are using the social media sites to propagate chaos, terrorist agenda and create confusions among the masses.
Social media is largely transforming the way populations of the world interact with each other. The social media sites are increasing every day, which is the indication of the popularity among the masses. Regularization of social media sites is on the cards by many governments, which may assist in addressing the negative effects of social media sites to some extent. Bigger social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp are looking for ways to improve the user experience and ensure the security of user information.