Is social media good or bad thing? This is one of the important and interesting questions related to social media networks. Well, this media has totally changed our living style. Like all other things, it also has both positive and negative effects. Today in this article, I’m going to tell you about social media, some really interesting facts and figures about its usage, its positive and negative aspects, and its impact on our mental health.
What is Social Media?
During the past few years, the rise of social media has increased with too much pace and the number of social platform users is increasing day by day. Most often, we consider these media networks a place where we interact with user-generated content, establish a network of contacts and followers, share text, images, or videos, and then spread the content. But actually, social media is a complex term.
We can say that our actions are determined by what happens in society, that we communicate and interact with others, and that we cooperate and create communities. But the “social” also has to do with social problems. The social network is the first and most important term that makes us think about how Internet problems are interacting with society.
What influencers say:
“Social media is your opportunity to reach a massive number of people with transparency, honesty, and integrity.” – Brian E. Boyd
“We are living at a time when attention is the new currency those who insert themselves into as many channels as possible look set to capture the most value.” – Pete Cashmore, Founder of mashable.com
“Just be nice, take a genuine interest in the people you meet, and keep in touch with people you like. This will create a group of people who are invested in helping you because they know you and appreciate you.” – Guy Kawasaki, alltop.com
The Use of Social Media
Social media is now a part of our daily activities. Many of us spend hours and hours every day using social platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. According to the stats, in 2019 the number of worldwide social media users is 3.484 billion.
As the above shows, only 38% of males were using Twitter in 2020. But the figure shows they were more interested in using Snapchat, 61% of Snapchat users were.
On the other side, if we talk about females, they have shown more interest in Facebook and Linkedin. 58% of Facebook users were females and the percentage of Linkedin users was 57% of females.
The power of social media is increasing such that the number of worldwide social media users is expected to hit 3.43 billion active monthly users by 2023. It is around a third of the entire Earth’s population. Out of this number, around 800 million expected users will be from China and 450 million Indian users.
Global Social Networks by Number of Users in 2021
Find more statistics at Statista
What social media platform is most popular worldwide?
The first social network which passed the number one billion registered users was the market leader Facebook, now it has 2.74 billion monthly active users. As Facebook also owns Messenger, Whatsapp, and Instagram, in 2020 the core family product users were reported to have over 3.3 billion monthly active users.
How many people use social media?
The world’s leading social platforms are available in many languages, this option enables users to connect with people all over the world and build relations and communities. Now, there are an estimated 3.6 billion users on social media signals and this amount is still expected to rise towards bigger numbers.
The Challenge of Social Media
Today, social media is the most emerging communication source in the world. It connects us but like all other things, with its positive aspects on one side, it also has negative factors on the other side. Now it’s up to you how you are utilizing such an advanced and most important technology. That’s the main challenge of social media.
Social networks expose both good and bad conflicts and loyalties. To make positive progress, we need to shape the evolution of technology and how we use it, rather than just trying to limit it to a broader set of rules.
Reasons Why Social Media Is Good
Now, I’m going to tell you some positive effects that provide the reasons why social media is good for us:
1- It’s Easy To Make Friends
A few years ago, it’s not easy to connect with people, make new friends and build relationships. But then a new technology came into place, “Mobile Phones”. They made it easier for the people to talk with one another no matter how much distance they were from each other. Then, a more advanced form of mobile phones came, called Smartphones.
After that when social networks had arrived, they totally changed the way people connect with each other. Those school or college friends, who were out of touch with each other had the opportunity to again connect and communicate with each other. On social media, you can make hundreds of thousands of friends from anywhere around the world. You can build relations with those whom you don’t know in real life. I also have thousands of friends on my social platforms and I don’t know them in real life.
2- Allow People To Communicate
Another good aspect of social media networks is that it reduces the communication barriers between us. These platforms allow people to connect with their friends, meet new people whom they don’t know before, and also communicate with each other.
What we can do is share our thoughts and feelings about different topics with the huge number of users present on these networking sites. By doing this, we can raise our voice about certain topics and people will come to know about our thoughts and they also give comments on what they think about that. In this way, a positive debate takes into place and people communicate with each other. More, you also have the option to join groups of your interests. Only those joining these groups who have a similar type of interest that you have. So, you can connect with relevant people more effectively.
3- Online and Offline Relations
In this aspect, the primary anxiety is whether shallow, inauthentic online relations are taking over the place of deeper offline relationships. But that’s not true, in most cases, online interactions are another aspect of the same offline relationships.
Instead of representing a rise in meditation, social media helps in revealing the mediated nature of prior communication and sociality which includes face-to-face communication with each other. It gives confidence to the people when they have a face-to-face talk.
In some societies, the improved visibility of the people through social media enables users to see this representation as potentially more truthful than offline observations of those around them. While in some other societies, use social sites encourage people to befriend the friends of one’s friends or relatives. And in others, it fosters entirely new relationships including friendship from strangers.
4- Education and Young People
A common worry among the public is that social media distracts the children from education and also minimizes the social skills of younger ones. But the prior research rejects such types of conclusions.
The fact is that low-income families often look towards social media activity as a useful skill, improving literacy and providing a pathway to alternative and informal education channels.
In order to appreciate the impact of social media, the best way is to focus on specific sets of relationships: those between schoolchildren, between teachers and schoolchildren, and between these two groups and parents.
More, friends use these platforms to discuss topics related to their education. It is said that social networks can increase one’s quality of life and lowers down health risks.
5- Social Media Makes the World Smaller
It is also another one of the good benefits of social media. No matter where and in which country or city you are living, you can build relationships with anyone around the world by just using your smartphone.
Social media not only allows you to connect with your close friends and family members, but you can communicate and build connections with people around the world you don’t see before. That’s the great power of social networks. The world looks too small after using these platforms. You are always aware of any news or incidents that happen in any place or any country. In these places, the news spread like a wildfire right away after it came.
6- Social Media Benefits Businesses
Social media is not just a platform where people build relations and communicate with each other. But it also gives huge benefits to businesses. Now, every single company whether it is small or large is using social media for marketing purposes. In these platforms, they reach out to their targeted audience, run advertisements of their products and services in order to increase their sales.
The reason why companies are using social media is the use of these networks among the people. There is no other platform like social platforms where a bigger audience is available from all over the world. Every business finds its relevant users on these social sites whether it’s a shoe brand, clothing or jewellery company or electronics brand, etc. Businesses can easily find out their customers.
Why Social Media Is Bad For Society
Above, we have discussed the good and positive effects of social media. Now is the time to discuss why social media is bad for society:
1- Depression and Anxiety
Spending hours and hours on social media every day can affect your mood. The impact of social media on mental health is more powerful. Chronic users are more likely to have mental health issues which include depression and anxiety.
The reason why it has bad effects is that social media only allows you to see the best and positive parts of other people’s life. When you are just seeing the best of others, you are more likely to compare those things with your negatives. By doing this, you will anxiety and will go into serious depression, which causes mental issues.
To prevent yourself from such mental health problems, just spend an hour on these networks every day, not more than that.
2- Unrealistic Expectations
This is the real fact that social media forces us to have unrealistic expectations in our minds. Many of these media networks lack online authenticity seriously. People share their thrilling adventures on Snapchat. Similarly, they post on Facebook about how much they love their significant others and update their Instagram stories with superbly presented photos.
But people have no way to understand in reality whether it is true or farce. Sometimes, these lives seem just incredibly superficial. But what’s happening in reality? That person may be in huge debt or in terrible terms with their loved ones. Sometimes, what people seek is some sort of validation from their number of likes and followers on social media platforms.
3- Affecting Productivity
As businesses use social media networks to find and communicate with their customers to increase their sales. Another purpose is to make their brand presence online so a huge number of audiences know their brand worldwide.
But what about those employees who are taking more interest in what their friends are posting on rather than focus on their work stats? It is a great cause of distraction of employees from their work. So, there is also another bad effect of social media which leads to great business loss If employees are not doing their tasks properly and carefully.
Before the arrival of social media, there were only a few times when we heard about cyberbullying. It was only possible to do face-to-face. But in today’s life, it’s become a normal thing and everyone is aware of cyberbullying. People make use of these social networking channels to bully other users online. We know how much effect cyberbullying has on a person.
By using social media, it is easy to make friends and build connections with new strangers you haven’t met before. Oppression scammers can use the anonymity which is provided by social platforms to win people’s trust. After winning their trust, they intimidate them in front of their peers.
More often, the results of these online assaults cause deep mental scars and sometimes even push individuals towards suicide. Cyberbullying does not only affect kids, it may also be the cause of online abuse with adults.
Social media has a great addictive impact on many of its users that makes them addicted to continuously checking out their profiles all day. This addiction to these media sites can be more than cigarettes, alcohol, wine, or liquor.
Not one can say that he/she is not addicted to social media. If someone feels he isn’t. Then remember the last time when you have not used any social network the whole day.
The only mission of these social networks is to keep you busy in these networks by scrolling down and down, seeing, sharing, commenting, and giving likes to posts. When you are spending a lot of time, they are able to show as many ads as possible so they can make a big amount of money. These platforms want you to remain on them for longer durations.
Many studies and research has proved that social media is the cause of inducing more stress than relief. Women face more mental and stress problems than men. Here is another negative effect of social media usage.
Regular use of smartphones has a great impact on causing stress and it also highly affects the eye or visual systems. Your life is directly impacted by your mental fitness.
The possibility to protect themselves from these mental and stress disorders is by using these networks for a limited time every day. Health is the most precious and valuable gift a person has. If an individual is healthy, nothing will matter in his life.
Impact of Social Media on Mental Health
As human beings are social creatures, to make progress in life they require companions. If they are socially connected with other people, it may relieve their stress, anxiety, and sadness. On the other hand, lack of social connection can be the result of serious risks to mental health.
Mental health is a state when people understand their abilities, they can solve everyday life problems, they are able to work well and make a meaningful contribution to the life of their communities. There is a debate going on regarding the positive and negative effects of social media on mental health. Social networks are the important elements in protecting our mental health. But the things that affect our mental health, physical health, health behavior, and mortality risk are the quantity and quality of social relationships.
Displaced Behavior Theory states that: “people who spend a long time in sedentary behaviors like social media, these users have less time for face-to-face social interactions. It’s proven to be protective against mental issues. After conducting a number of studies on the impacts of social platforms, it is identified that the longer use of social media networks such Facebook, Twitter, etc. may cause depression, anxiety, and stress.
Does Social Media Make People Happier?
In many cases, we see little evidence to support a journalistic claim that social media has generally made people less happy and less satisfied. Still, there are locally expressed fears that, along with gaming, it emphasizes more fleeting pleasures or that, along with the choice of clothes, social signals create additional stress over public appearance.
Social media has increased the pressure to at least appear happy online. Yet, it can also be the place where people can visually express their inspirations for a happy life.
Your Social Media Actions Can Impact You Both Personally and Professionally
Your social network profile can have a big impact on your job opportunities. With the help of social recruiting, employers usually look at the candidates’ information that supports the job qualifications, online behavior, how the candidate interacts with other users, and what other people are saying about the candidate.
A lot of research work and studies have proved that the use of social media for hours and hours causes stress, bad moods, and negative mental health. Its general thing is that most of us immediately check our Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter when waking up in the morning.