Social Media: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Julia Sellman
Marketing in the Age of Digital
3 min readMar 21, 2021


Our lives revolve around social media. It is the morning, the lunch break, afternoon snack, and nighttime phenomenon that holds our attention and every moment in between. It is the thought of likes that makes our heart beat fast and the yearning of snapping the perfect photo for instagram with friends that keeps us moving through the day. We are dependent on social media. It truly controls our lives. So could it possibly have a positive?

I think there are two sides to every story. Sure, social media has caused honestly, well havoc on society in some ways. However, it has also created a tool for networking, making friends, awareness, knowledge, and selling. It has enabled an entire new world of connections.

The Bad
On the negative side, social media has led to cyberbullying, fear of missing out (aka FOMO), self-absorption, self-hatred, some would argue an invasion on our personal information, and particularly, misinformation. In Sinan Aral’s book The Hype Machine: How Social Media Disrupts Our Elections, Our Economy, and Our Health — and How We Must Adapt, he references the idea of hyper-socialization. This is the idea that the Hype Machine, or social media as a giant and everything it comes with, has caused an excess of human socialization. Likes, shares, posts, advertisements, and more have created many different focus points in our lives, taking our social selves to a new level. This hyper-socialization makes messages and posts more viral and the “friends” we have on our networks are people that we often feel like we trust, even if we don’t know them. This “familiarity” makes messages from others seem more believable and more relatable, even if it’s completely misinformation. And the ability to differentiate the truth from lies has become increasingly difficult.

Misinformation has become a significant problem throughout the growth of social media. In his book, Aral explains that fake news travels faster than the truth. There is so much misinformation out there in the social media world, it’s quite frightening. This is a reason social media is so dangerous in our society- unfortunately, people tend to believe this fake news if they see it a few times over in different places. And enough fake news can cause a widespread pandemic of worry.

The Good
On the positive side, social media can make our worlds better. It can reinforce good habits- Sinal mentions in his book that runners had more consistent schedules in their running practice due to social media. It has also helped with the flow of creation and creativity among individuals, which has become another way to celebrate creative people. It has allowed individuals to stay in contact with people they might’ve never spoken to again had they not connected on social media. It also enables new friendships, professional relationships and even romantic ones. Social media has empowered some individuals to have a voice and to use that voice for the greater good.

My Thoughts
I think that social media is both positive and negative. It’s such a huge part of my life today that I have trouble imagining life without it. I do admit it’s had adverse effects on me- but it’s also had positive ones. I’m so entangled in the jungle of social media that I can’t agree entirely that it’s good or bad, it just is. And my power as a future marketer is to try to use social media to speak the truth and provide people with genuine content. Beyond that, who knows where social media will take us.