Social Media Background
Beginning from 1997, social media has grown to be a vast part of our day to day lives; whether it is enabling social and political changes or growing network worldwide, social media has expanded its avenue in every aspect of life both positively and negatively. Social media has made accessibility to information very simple and quick. Being able to access information enhances an individual’s personality as they become well-versed on what’s happening around the world. All of which would make an individual be involved in a lot of things (for example, politics) from earlier on.
Because of social media, educational and other information is readily available. On the opposite side, social media has affected children when it comes to education. It hinders one’s performance academically and professionally. For example, their attention span decreases as their usage of social media increases. Activities like cheating on exams, plagiarizing, and cyberbullying has become a main concern as it affects one’s mental health.
As mentioned above, social media has given the society a new platform to access any type of information. Studies have shown that information spreads quicker from social media as Patel 2compared to any other media. “78.5% of traditional media reporters polled used social media to check for breaking news” (www.procon.org). Reports have shown that the news about the Paris attacks in France on November 13, 2015 was reported on social media before it was conveyed through the traditional media outlets.
According to 46% of Americans, social media sites are one of the top news sources for them as compared. The purpose of social media has evolved over the years as now one gets information while networking or connecting with people worldwide. For example, the sole purpose of Facebook was to connect with people worldwide and now, you can receive many other services which includes, readily available global news on Facebook under “Trending Now” section. Apart from social networking, there are professional networking sites as well which helps the community finding the correct job for them. “Social media gives social movements a quick, no-cost method to organize, disseminate information and mobilize people” (www.procon.org).
For instance, the Black Lives Matter grassroots campaign in 2015 in the United States which focused on racism and police brutality became so popular and trending on social media that it successfully pressured the 2016 presidential candidates to publicly address the subject. That also includes diffusion of public health and safety information not just from regular citizens but from reliable sources/organizations like the Boston Health Commission used social media as platform to its 4,500 followers to inform them about their wait times for vaccines and clinic locations during the outbreak of H1N1.
Social media has also given academic research a wider audience, permitting them to Patel 3access educational resources which were once inaccessible. “Information previously restricted to academia’s ‘ivory tower’ can now be shared with the public who do not have access to restricted journals or costly databases” (www.procon.org). Now, research study results and photos are being released making it very interactive as people from all over the world can access it and provide their inputs and a different perspective. It has allowed people finding a wider range of subjects making the research process and results more transparent and reachable to a larger audience.
Personally, I believe that social media has helped me a lot in terms of gaining access to a lot of resources academically and personally in life to become a well-informed citizen. As millennials, we do not read newspapers, watch news on televisions, or seek out news in great numbers but social media has been able to do that for us. Studies show that 88% of Millennials receive news from Facebook regularly, and more than half of them do so daily, all of which makes them a well-informed. As much social media has helped us networking and connecting with people worldwide, it has also kept us up to date with global news.
As much as social media has brought the positives, it is also bringing down a lot of negatives. When social media was first introduced, everyone perceived it as something that has brought a positive change in their lives as it has helped fostering relationships with other people, made communications easier but now, social media has paved the way to many negative actions such as defamation, cyberbullying, plagiarism, and many more. People have become less vigilant with social posts which has led to 31% of teens getting into arguments/fights with friends and Patel 4other people over someone’s posts.
Studies have also found that the more friends a person has on Facebook, the more stressful it becomes for that person to use Facebook. Social media has become such a big part of our lives that we prioritize it before education; thereof, students who are heavy users of social media tend to have lower grades. Studies prove that not only it lowers one’s grades, but it also brings down their quality of work. 31% of teens have admitted that social media risks their quality of works and students have scored 20% less on examinations when they used social media while studying. It hinders one’s focus while studying which leads to many ripple effects including grades, attention spam, and the quality of work. In order to avoid such consequences in an earlier stage of one’s life, schools should follow or create a regulation of not using cell phones while attending lectures.
Results from one study has shown that if you ban cell phones in schools, students’ performance improves by 6.41%. Schools should require students to take classes such painting, sports or arts and crafts for leisure or to keep the social aspect in mind in order to make them stay motivated. For example, I have done part of my schooling in New Delhi, India and part of my coursework required me to take an extracurricular course such as cooking, pottery classes or fashion designing which kept me motivated in school and it allowed me to socialize with my friends while taking that class for enjoyment. Cyberbullying is becoming a major issue within teens and social media is a major driver of it. More than half of students have admitted being the victim of cyberbullying with 84.2% naming Facebook as the number one site following Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.
Cyberbullying results in defamation and depression and can lead to suicide too. Middle school Patel 5children are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide, considering that middle school is major place where cyberbullying is initiated. College students have taken a major advantage of social media in a very wrongful manner. As everything is so easily accessible on social media, including class notes, previous year’s quizzes and exams that it has enabled students to cheat on assignments as well as exams.
Incidences in California, New York, and Houston where students posted pictures of standardizes tests on social media sites allowed students who haven’t taken the exam, see the questions and prepare themselves better. “Pearson, a company that administers standardized tests, identified 76 cases of students posting test materials online spanning six states in the first three months of 2015” (www.procon.org). This discourages the other students who didn’t participate in cheating and had worked and studied hard to received better grades. As social media provides you a platform where you can speak your mind, post anything you like or believe in, that can sometimes harm students’ chances for college admissions and their career as well.
College administrators have admitted that they scan Facebook profile to learn more about them and 42% of these admissions officers came across many posts and information that had a negative impact on their chances to get accepted into that college. And as far as workplace goes, survey says that “even spending just 30 minutes a day on social media while at work would cost 50-person company 6,500 hours of productivity a year” (www.procon.org). Not only productivity, but it also causes error in work that could cost the company thousands to millions of dollars even if it’s for work related purposes. Patel 6
According to social media video 2013, social media sites like Facebook has 1 billion users which indirectly makes it the 3rd largest country in the world and half of the world’s population is under 30 years old. Social media has become the number activity on the web where information is easily accessible. For example, New Yorkers received tweets about an earthquake 30 seconds before they it; even it wasn’t as quick, information/alerts were sent in beforehand. Social media fulfilled humanity’s biggest desire of connecting and making the people belonging to each other. It reminded us what we all have in common and this connect changed the way world works immensely.
For example, according to the power of social media video, Red Cross raised $33 million in text donations following the Haiti earthquake setting a record for the largest amount ever raised in a text-to-give program. On the other hand, social media have shown its negative side as it has affected the children’s education. Studies show that we are so technological oriented that nowadays 92% of children under the age of 2 have a digital shadow and kindergarteners are now learning on iPad instead of chalkboards. Not only that, whatever you post online, every post leaves a footprint behind. Therefore, social media does has its benefits but it needs to be used in a limited quantity in order to not cause detrimental effects.