In the modern and constantly developing world, social media has become a routine activity for many people, who use it to communicate, improve or acquire technical skills, enhance social connections, and for other purposes (Livingstone and Haddon, 2009). Additionally, it enables like-minded individuals to create groups and discuss the topics of interest, share knowledge, and make discoveries. However, social media has both positive and negative impact on people and their lives.
One of the main benefits of social media is the increased ability to conduct businesses. Nowadays, traditional marketing mediums are considered to be obsolete and expensive. However, social media connects businesses with their targeted customers free of charge and without any excessive energy and time consumption. Social networking sites enable businessmen to substantially reduce their marketing costs (Ali, 2015). Social media also diminishes communication barriers. They enable people to share ideas, discuss problems and thoughts as well as exchange perceptions of different topics. Users create groups that involve like-minded individuals. Hence, social media makes communication easy as well as eliminates time and space barriers.
Social networking sites connect people from different parts of the world, families, friends, and relations. They enable their users to find old friends, relatives, and other persons who have moved or live far away from home. Even in case the contact was lost, social networking is almost always effective. Social networking sites also improve people’s relationships (Ali, 2012). In many cases, social media is used to raise political concerns. Social networking sites are often employed by politicians and government representatives to communicate with people, discuss their political intentions, and address people’s problems. Many individuals experience lack of time to become aware of what is happening in the political and social life of a country (O’Keeffe and Clarke-Pearson, 2011). Therefore, they use social media to get updated with the latest happenings around them. It enables people to get information about every sector and share the latest events.
Although social media have numerous benefits, they also have many drawbacks. One of them is an addiction. Extensive use of social media results in users growing addicted (Ali, 2015). Many people have the feeling that they miss out essential events and contacts being offline. They are constantly involved in checking the posts of others and looking for something new. At the same time, they constantly update their own pages and inform about what happens in their lives (Ali, 2012). Spending countless hours surfing the social sites distracts the users’ attention and prevents them from essential tasks.
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Social media can lead to isolation. It is evident that social networking sites have substantially reduced the level of real live human interaction. The users become isolated behind their online identities. People forget about face-to-face communication and do not feel the need of living under one roof (Ali, 2012).
Some users share too much personal information and it may pose a threat to them. Social media is not secure and the information posted can turn against an individual (Ali, 2015). People lose their productivity as they may be more interested in communication with their friends than working. Social media also increases the risk of online harassment. According to O'Keeffe and Clarke-Pearson (2011), the users of social networking sites are exposed to numerous problems that can be classified into three groups, including lack of a clear understanding of online privacy issues, external third party impacts, and inappropriate content.
Although social media has benefits and drawbacks, it brings many advantages to the modern society. Development of technology makes it an inevitable part of people’s lives. It allows them to be closer, aware of the latest events, enables them to communicate despite distances, and offers many other advantages. Therefore, social media improves people’s lives and makes them more comfortable.
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