Social media is among the most powerful tools of communication. It has immense powers of portrayal and expression which comes both as a boon or curse depending on how it is put to use. Among the social media platforms in use is Instagram, Facebook, imo, SnapChat, Twitter and WhatsApp among many others. Words, documents, photos and even movies can be easily uploaded on a social media platform and be shared with a big ready and eagerly awaiting audience. The question at hand is, is it safe? Are there any downsides to the use of the social media? As expected of any good thing, there must be the ‘other’ side. Social media also has some not so pleasant side to it.
Social media can be very addictive and disruptive. If the user of the social media platform is not disciplined, responsible and committed to time and the goals of whatever else he does, social media can be very addictive. One will always find something nicer to view when one wants to switch off and do something else. Even with the official sites, one may be tempted to ‘check out’ a few other things which may lead to deviation from the main reason for visiting the site leading to waste of a lot of time and energy on things not beneficial to the individual and organization. This may have a negative impact on the organization and its productivity as valuable resources in time and energy may be diverted due to irresponsible use of social media.
Social media can expose one to online bullying and other social evils.There are so many ‘internet predators’ out to be mischievous and cause harm. There are instances where the predators are bullying some internet users because of their size, color or shape. This bullying usually has a negative psychological impact on the people taunted. Some of those taunted have ended tragically with some opting for suicides and other harmful activities. Also, the victims especially children, live in fear of the society and without help, they may end up being maladjusted and probable social misfits. Also, their potential in life may never be realized because they may not put it to use due to fear and mistrust they have based on their experiences on the social media. Again, one can be conscripted into cults and dangerous movements through the social media. The platforms can be very fertile grounds for recruitment as they may present themselves as simple and ‘well intentioned’ organizations only to reveal their true colors once someone joins them. There may not be options for the victims to leave once conscripted. An attempt to leave may lead one to be coerced, threatened and sometimes even killed as the groups may fear exposure and repercussions.
Falsehood and propaganda can be very easily propagated through social media.Some social media users may not have the ability to validate information passed on the various platforms before acting or sharing. This is risky as one may be a victim of such falsehoods. This may also be an avenue for character assassination and killing of some people’s dreams. This can very negatively impact businesses as business rivals may use this to gain unfair advantage in the field. Some information may not be necessarily evil but are of a little bit more sensitive nature which may need a more responsible if not trained person to pass across. An example is when one is involved in or bereaved in an accident and a person shares without empathy for the person that may be affected by the news.
The social media is a powerful tool which can be a boon or a curse basing on how one will use it.
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