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The Hidden Mystery Behind Impacts of Social Media

During a decade, social media has developed from being an entertaining tool to being utilized in every aspect of daily life. Social media integrated itself into a social network and politics, workplace, home life, and business. It surely enriches human life with many benefits, but its related issues are now extending across sectors. This post will cover the definition of social media and why people are willingly engaging in it. Also, its advantages and disadvantages t. Finally, the closing recap will wrap up an important lesson that smart users of social media should learn to move forward.

What is Social Media?

Social media is a computer-based innovation that encourages sharing thoughts, contemplations, and data through the building of virtual systems and communities. It ordinarily allows users to generate their contents and personalized profiles. The contents include but are not limited to personal information, videos, photos, and electronic communication among users.

Social media has many forms of tech-based activities, such as messaging, blogging, photo sharing, social gaming, social and business networks, video sharing, virtual worlds, reviews, etc. In fact, many see it as an alternative to having a website! Users can access web-based apps on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices via download services to engage in these activities. According to the most recent study by Statista, the global leading social network is still Facebook with approximately 3.6 billion users, following by Youtube, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat. TikTok has become one of the fastest-growing social media apps, targeting younger digital audiences by doubling the number of users to 45.4 million in 2020.

Number of people using Social Media in 2019

By utilizing social media, we can limit the negative effects of physical distances. Thus, nowadays, social media is used by individuals and businesses, governments, politics, school admission, etc. According to Statista, in 2020, around 3.6 billion individuals are utilizing social media worldwide, up from 3.4 billion in 2019. The number is anticipated to extend to 4.41 billion in 2025.

Why do people like to be on Social Media?

Social Media provides a variety of tech-based activities that people want to join, so they like to be on Social Media. Moreover, sharing is not a new definition in our life, but it is human nature.

In 2011, the New York Times Customer Insight Group researched why people are willing to share information on Social Media. Their research reveals the following five major reasons:

ENTERTAINMENT:

49% say sharing allows them to inform others about the products or ideas they care about and potentially encourage actions.

DEFINE OURSELVES:

68% share to provide people with a better sense of who they are.

RELATIONSHIPS:

78% share to stay connected to people and to grow and nourish relationships.

SELF-FULFILLMENT:

69% share to feel more involved in the world.

SUPPORT A CAUSE:

84% share because it is a way to get the word out about causes and brands they care about.

Social Media’s Pros

Individuals:

Individuals use Social Media as a social tool to keep in touch with their friends and families they may not otherwise stay connected with. Social networking sites, such as Facebook, enable real-time collaboration, social interaction, and emotional support. They can also make new friends over the globe who share the same interests, sentiments, knowledge. Social networking improves the online connection between individuals by supporting them with photo directories and search capabilities. That being said, Social Media is well-suited to develop new forms of relationships and maintain human ties easily.

Moreover, Social Media is also an effective way for people to express themselves truly and accurately. Without privacy concerns, people can present who they are to others via online social context. This allows people to share their characteristics with less risk of disapproval than face-to-face interactions. In case they get positive comments, likes, and followers, it would help enhance self-esteem and build the motivation to maintain their self-image.

Furthermore, people also use Social Media as a news source, and the frequency of using social media news decreases across age groups. The recent survey in 2020 reports that 35 percent of respondents confirmed that they had to use Social Media to update news last week. Facebook remains the leading social media news consumption among U.S. consumers with a 35% share.

Businesses:

Social Media platforms can be integrated into B2C (business to customer) and B2B (business to business) levels. Within an intra-organization network, Social Media helps monitor and share industry/market news, other relevant content, and best practices. Regarding the B2C level, Social Media is a bridge between businesses and their customers. It allows businesses to introduce products, brands, and promotions to customers. Then, customers can interact with the companies directly without time concerns and engage in feedbacks and reviews. More importantly, it can mean a business's success!

Nowadays, people get familiar with the term “e-Commerce,” and social commerce is a part of it. According to Statista, as of April 2020, 37 percent of U.S. internet users between the ages of 18 to 34 reported they had committed to at least a purchase via social media. Moreover, social commerce is projected to increase in the future, especially when locked down during the pandemic. This forces a business to carefully build its social image and invest more in social media advertising. In 2020, the U.S. ad spending in the Social Media segment was accounted for $38 million, which increased by 4.5% compared with the last year’s figures.

Governments and Politics:

Governments might use Social Media as a tool to communicate with citizens, cultivate citizen interests, thereby extending governments’ presence. On Social Media platforms, governments can gather and monitor public opinions, educate the public about public health and emergency actions at the minimum spending.

Regarding the civil and criminal investigation, Social Media is helpful to track down the case via social media footprint. Without privacy concerns, Social Media can be utilized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security to monitor the immigrants and search the warrants.

Moreover, according to the Pew Research Center, 23 percent of adult social media users in the U.S. say they have changed their views about a political and social issue after seeing something on social media. Some of these respondents mention the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality. This event has recently led to several policy changes, especially on racism and societal levels.

Social Media’s Cons

Individuals:

Social Media are utilized to fulfill social needs, but not all needs can be satisfied with social media. Though Social Media is used to grow and maintain relationships, it cannot replace positive face-to-face communication in which there are body language and tone of voice. For example, a real hug is much valuable than a hug emoji. Many studies on social media usage and mental health have also revealed that the prolonged use of social media might indicate mental health problems, such as stress, anxiety, depression, and self-isolation from real society.

Social Media provides users with the freedom to share information. This arose cyberbullying, which is any abusive, threatening, or harassing content via technology. Cyberbullying can have a massive impact because it can occur anytime, accessible by anyone, and be less likely detected.

Besides cyberbullying, privacy protection and identity theft are also big concerns while using Social Media. When people publish lots of their information, they make it easier for identity thieves and stalking. It does not always involve money, but vandalize your page and damage your social image or credibility.

Businesses:

Though Social Media can bring many benefits for businesses and brands, there are many risks involved. For instance, a low number of views and shares can be considered negative social proof and destroy business credibility. Negative comments and complaints can overshadow a marketing campaign. Besides, too many buttons (such as like and share buttons) can distract customers from purchasing the products.

Because Social Media makes customers free to talk about the problems, these posts go viral anytime, and it is not easy to erase your mistakes. What if a customer fakes the complaint? It can make businesses lose potential customers with an inauthentic critic.

Social Media Marketing is not cheap. It costs a large investment of both money and effort, but it can be problematic to measure the return on investment from all social media campaigns.

Governments and Politics:

According to a Pew Research Center survey in July 2020, about 64 percent of U.S. adults say social media has a mostly negative effect on political affiliation and ideology about misinformation, hate, and censorship. Respondents mentioned the misinformation or made-up news and how fast these fake news spread over social media platforms. They also concern that social media contributes to anonymous activities that spread hate-filled thoughts or prompt violence.

Moreover, the report “2019 Global Inventory of Organized Social Media Manipulation” has found evidence proving that seven sophisticated state actors (China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela) increasingly use social media to develop their foreign influence operation.

In response to the social media political disinformation, Facebook and Twitter recently announced that they would ban political advertisements on the platforms to fight against fake news and manipulation.

The mystery behind the Impacts

After learning both the positive and negative impacts of Social Media on individuals, businesses, and politics, we realize whether social media turns good or bad mostly depend on how people use it. For example, users can decide how much personal information they want to expose to social media. Their information will be not or less likely stolen if they consider it carefully and limit their information. Similarly, if a business stays focused on its quality control and customer services, there will be no or very few negative comments against it.

Social media provides a low-cost, accessible platform for self-expression and communication.

We can utilize it as a tool but not let it use us. When using social media, we have to train our mindset that online activities can affect our offline life in every aspect. Here are a few tips to stay safe on social media:

· Secure usernames and passwords as highest secret

· Guarantee login protection with security questions. Install filters and firewalls.

· Explain to other people who you believe potential targets about the risks associated with their personal information disclose.

· Only put friends you know in the contact lists.

· Do not respond to an inappropriate comment, but report it to the admins or help center.

· Think twice about the content and check your message before sending it.

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Visualwebz

Visualwebz

A Seattle web design and online marketing agency that delivers high-end websites. A passion for web development and SEO.

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