“The influence of social media is unbelievable. It’s sad to see – it’s a fake life that some people live.”
Virgil van Dijk, Athlete
Advantages & Disadvantages of Social Media Networks
Social media networks are used by billions of people worldwide.
Since people can interact and connect through social networks, social media can have many important advantages.
However, there are also some issues related to the use of social networks.
In this article, the pros and cons of social media are examined.
Pros of Social Media
- Most social media networks are free
- Easy to use
- Communication in real-time possible
- Connection to people all over the world
- Quick access to news
- Organization of events
- Job opportunities
- Chance to get out of poverty
- Learning in social groups
- Education of others
- Finding people with similar interests
- Getting help for your daily life issues
- Promotion of crowdfunding
- Collection of donations
- Building a brand
- Social networks can be fun
- Facilitation of political change
- Social media can help investigations
Most social media networks are free
One important advantage of social media platforms is that most of them are free to use.
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube don’t charge users for using their services.
There are also some social media networks like LinkedIn which provide users with a free basic account and a user can upgrade his or her account to premium through paying a certain free for even more features.
However, the basic features are free in most networks.
This allows people all over the world to use those networks, even if they are rather poor as long as they have access to a computer and to the internet.
Easy to use
The use of social media platforms is also fairly simple.
You just have to create an account and verify it.
For most networks, you do not have to wait more than one day until your account had been activated and you are ready to join discussions or any other things you want to do on social media.
Thus, even if you are not experienced with social media, you will quickly learn who it works.
Communication in real-time possible
Social media platforms also offer the possibility to chat with people all over the world in real-time.
In former times, you had to call people from other countries if you wanted to talk to them, which had been quite expensive.
Now, with social media platforms, as long as you have access to the internet, you can chat with people around the world for free.
Connection to people all over the world
It is quite amazing what opportunities social media platforms provide for humanity.
You can stay in touch with people all over the world quite easily by using social media platforms.
For instance, say you met some people during your travels and you became good friends.
In former times, it was hard to maintain this friendship since if people changed their phone number, they would no longer be able to communicate with each other.
However, through the use of social media, you can simply write to your friends all over the world and stay in touch with each other without any effort.
Quick access to news
Since there are so many people on social media, all sorts of news are being spread at a pretty quick pace.
This means that even only a few minutes after an event happened, there are plenty of discussions on social media about it.
There had never been such quick access to information and this information could help people to stay informed and also to protect themselves, for example in case of natural disasters.
Organization of events
Social media channels are also suitable for the organization of group events.
For instance, if you want to organize a demo, you can create a group on social media and share all the important information regarding the event there.
Moreover, people can ask questions and you can answer them basically in real time, which makes the whole organization of the event much easier.
Social media platforms have also become increasingly popular when it comes to finding a new job.
Some social media platforms like LinkedIn are even focused on the career opportunities of people.
Thus, recruiters can hire people directly over LinkedIn, which makes it easier for companies to find highly-qualified employees and employees do not have to apply in a conventional and time-consuming manner anymore.
Chance to get out of poverty
Social media also provides poor people with a better chance to get out of poverty.
For instance, people who were borne in poor countries often have a hard time finding a good job.
However, through social media, they could start a blog and share their latest articles.
By doing so, they could build an audience and could make serious money from blogging, which may help them to provide for their family.
Thus, social media and access to the internet offers plenty of opportunities that people didn’t have decades ago.
Learning in social groups
Social media channels can also be a good learning opportunity.
Since people can interact in real-time, they can discuss their homework or other questions via social media and find solutions to their problems.
The more people participate in those groups, the more likely it is that someone could help you solve your problems.
Education of others
If you are a teacher or if you just want to educate people on all sorts of topics since it is your passion, you should definitely use social media channels.
It is quite easy to invite people from all over the world into your learning group and you can share your knowledge in order to improve the education of people on a global scale.
Finding people with similar interests
Social media platforms are also a great way to find people who have similar interests.
For example, if you just moved to a new city and do not know too many people yet, it can be a great way to join a social media group and to meet up with people who are interested in the same topics as you.
By doing so, you can quickly connect to many people and find new friends pretty soon.
Getting help for your daily life issues
Social media platforms are also a great tool to get help in all areas of your daily life.
For instance, say you become old and you have some health issues which prevent you to go for grocery shopping.
You can find people on social media who can help you getting your groceries from the store and bringing them to you.
This is not only true for grocery shopping, but for many other things as well.
Maybe you need help to fix your dishwasher or your TV.
On social media, you will find all sorts of experts who will be ready to solve your problems.
Promotion of crowdfunding
Crowdfunding becomes more and more popular.
However, it is sometimes difficult to find enough people to invest in your projects.
Through social media, you can share and promote your crowdfunding project, which makes it much easier to collect money in order to be able to start your project.
Collection of donations
Also, for non-profit organizations, social media channels are a great way to raise the awareness of people on our global problems.
By doing so, people are more likely to donate money to those organizations.
In turn, non-profit organizations will have more money to help poor people to survive and to get proper education.
Building a brand
For companies, social media platforms have become one of the most important tools to sell things and to build their brand.
Through social media, it is possible to advertise all kinds of things and services to a targeted audience, which makes it a quite effective marketing tool.
Thus, it is not surprising that social media marketing has become one of the most important advertising channels.
Social networks can be fun
Another advantage of social media is that it can also be pretty much fun to use those networks.
You can play games, chat with friends and upload your photos and videos in order to share them with your family and friends.
This way, you can socialize, even if you are just sitting at home on your couch in your pajama.
Facilitation of political change
Social media can also be a great tool in order to accomplish political change.
Especially in countries where the freedom of people is greatly suppressed, social media can be an important measure to share information and to organize revolutions.
If people are better able to communicate and to organize, the chances for a successful revolution increase dramatically.
Social media can help investigations
Social media platforms can also be used by official authorities and the police in order to share information about criminal activities.
For instance, some people may have robbed a bank and the police is searching for hints.
Thus, by posting on social media, the police may get many hints from the general public and may be able to arrest the thieves much sooner.
Cons of Social Media
- Social media can be a time eater
- Spread of fake news
- Social media addiction
- Mental issues
- Social media can be a source of distraction
- Sleep disruptions
- Social media as tool for radical groups
- Privacy concerns
- Only limited insights about what happens to our data
- People often behave anti-social
- Social isolation
- Information overload
- Social pressure
- Social media may negatively affect grades
Social media can be a time eater
Even though social media has many important advantages, there are also some problems related to the use of social networks.
For instance, many people use social media channels in a way that is quite time-consuming and not at all effective in order to reach their goals.
For example, many people just watch cat videos on YouTube all day long.
Instead, they could use the time to improve their skills and to improve their career opportunities.
Thus, social media channels can also be huge time killers depending on how they are used by the individual person.
Social media is also often used for bullying activities.
Especially teenagers are often victims of cyberbullying.
It is hard to defend oneself against those attacks and many teenagers may mentally suffer due to that.
Moreover, also some celebrities are frequently attacked through social media and some of them even deleted their accounts since they simply didn’t want to deal with those attacks anymore.
Spread of fake news
Another big issue related to social media is the spread of fake news.
Since everyone is allowed to post things on social media, some people use this opportunity to spread incorrect information.
This can be quite a big issue.
For instance, if people share information on how to deal with a disease but this information is incorrect, many people who relied on this information may suffer from health issues.
Thus, the spread of fake news can be a dangerous issue and social media channels make it quite easy to spread this kind of news.
Social media addiction
Some people are also vulnerable to social media addiction.
Through social media, we can connect to all kinds of information.
We can also connect to many friends all over the world.
However, this might also lead to an important problem.
Some people may use social media far too often and may start to neglect their real-life friends.
Those people may just stay on social media all day long and may eventually become addicted, which may lead to all kinds of social issues in the long run.
Many people also feel quite stressed due to the use of social media.
They feel like they have to be available 24/7 and may not even turn off their phone at nighttime.
Since our mind has to rest from time to time, a constant availability over social media may lead to serious stress since our brain may not be able to disconnect and to regenerate in a sufficient manner.
The use of social media can also lead to serious mental issues.
For instance, many people become quite envious when they see the pictures of their friends having fun together.
It has been proven by many studies that the level of happiness of people who excessively use social media channels is lower compared to those who don’t use them.
In extreme cases, the use of social media may also lead to depression and burnout.
Social media can be a source of distraction
Another downside of social media may be that it can have a quite distracting character.
Since we get noticed every time a person writes us or if a new video of our favorite artist on YouTube has been published, we can easily be distracted from our goals and our quality of work may suffer due to that.
Since many people also use social media platforms right before they go to sleep and don’t turn off their smartphone at nighttime, those people may be more likely to suffer from sleep disruptions since they may wake up due to sounds of their phones.
Moreover, the excessive use of social media may also contribute to sleeping disorders.
Thus, the use of social media may affect the overall sleep quality of many people.
Social media may also indirectly contribute to overweight.
Since many people spend many hours using social media, they might not exercise enough and may suffer from an increase in weight over time.
Hence, in extreme cases, the use of social media may also lead to obesity and other related health problems.
Social media as tool for radical groups
In the past, radical groups have also used social media platforms to communicate and to organize themselves.
Thus, in order to prevent any damage to the general public from attacks of those organizations, social media channels have to take action to detect those groups and to inform the police as soon as those groups have been detected.
Another big issue related to the use of social media is privacy concerns.
Since social media platforms earn the majority of their revenue through advertising, they collect huge amounts of our data in order to display customized ads.
Thus, users only have quite limited opportunities to protect against the use of their personal information and by joining social media platforms, you usually agree to lose most of your rights regarding the intellectual property of your photos, videos and so on.
Therefore, you should be quite careful about what you are posting since those things could be used in several ways against you.
Only limited insights about what happens to our data
In fact, users of social media platforms actually have only quite limited insights regarding what happens to their data.
Thus, many people simply do not know at all for what purposes their data is used for.
This may also be the reason why so many people post intimate pictures of themselves on social media.
If they knew those pictures could be used for advertising purposes by social networks, they might likely refrain from posting those pictures immediately.
People often behave anti-social
Since social media platforms are often regarded to be anonymous, many frustrated people use those platforms to express their anger and try to get other people down.
Thus, a significant portion of chats on social media is rather anti-social and people, especially celebrities, are frequently attacked on social media channels.
The use of social media may also lead to social isolation for some people.
For instance, some people may no longer socialize in person, but rather sit on their couch and chat with friends instead of going to a bar.
However, this may become quite unhealthy over time and this kind of social isolation may lead to serious mental issues.
Since so much information is shared through social media, people may be at risk of suffering from information overload on a regular basis.
There are days when we get so many messages that we simply have not time to answer all of them.
This may prevent us from accomplishing other things and may also lead to subconscious mental issues since we feel the pressure to answer everyone, even though we don’t always have the energy to do so.
The use of social media platforms can also lead to social pressure.
Since everyone is posting their nicest pictures, other people may feel obliged to behave in line with the lifestyles of their idols or their friends.
This may be especially true for teenagers who have not yet developed a stable character and may feel the pressure to fit into our society.
Social media may negatively affect grades
Even though social media platforms may be used for learning, studies have shown that the excessive use of social media channels can negatively affect the grades of students.
This is true to the fact that most of the time on social media is not used for educational purposes, but rather to watch entertaining videos or to connect with friends instead.
Thus, if social media is not used in a senseful manner, it can affect the grades of kids in an adverse manner.
Top 10 Social Media Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Social Media Pros||Social Media Cons|
|Free to use||Social media networks as a time killer|
|Communication in real-time||Cyberbullying|
|Job opportunities||Sleep disruptions and disorders|
|Learning in groups through social media||Obesity|
|Chance to get out of poverty||Privacy concerns|
|Getting help for your daily life||Social isolation|
|Building a brand||Information overload|
|Social networks can help political change||Social pressure|
|Education of others||Source of distraction|
|Facilitation of investigations||Stress|
The use of social media networks has many important advantages.
However, there are also many issues related to it.
Thus, whenever you use social media channels, make sure not to post information that might be sensitive since you don’t know exactly for what purposes this information might be used in the future.
If you are careful regarding your actions, social media can provide you with plenty of opportunities in several parts of your daily life.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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