Social Media – Blessing or Curse?

Social Media

This truly is the age of social media

Never before has it been possible to contact so many people in such a short period of time. A “tweet” that takes less than sixty seconds to write can be seen by upwards of forty million people in the cases of the big names such as Lady Gaga and Barack Obama. Even minor celebrities such as Joel Fletcher, an underground Australian DJ, have been able to attract thirty thousand people to “follow” him- a lot of people and a lot of publicity.

Social media does offer a great way to keep up with friends. You can send messages to the other side of the world as quickly as you could blink and you can do it for free with the “chat” function of many social media websites. Often people will prefer this to text messaging. Social media is traded almost as much as phone numbers now.

Social media also offers a great platform for performers and businesses to rise up quickly. It is extremely easy to share a link. If one hundred people see the link, and one of these people enjoyed it and share it also, it would be seen by further one hundred people. This is a cycle that can continue for quite some time. The exposure can be huge and can result in a lot of awareness of a brand, performer or business.

With all these benefits, there is a darker side to it all. Firstly, there are many cases of people who are addicted to social media and it’s easy to see why. You can put up a well-crafted Facebook status and be allowed to feel good about yourself when it is well received with many “likes” and “retweets”. This brings great emotional validation to the account holder. They can rest easy knowing that people “like” them and they are popular. . . This is why social media is so addicting- humans crave emotional validation. We can become so immersed in pleasing our fictional friends that we ignore the real people in our lives and relationships suffer.

An ego boost isn’t that bad compared to some of the other problems. One thing that social media groups are heavily criticised for is their privacy. That said, there has been evidence that users are becoming more and more conscious about what they upload but the real problem is what third parties could do if they got our information. Statements have been made that the sites are making our information as secure as possible but it is impossible to know what is really going on.

Social media can be a wonderful thing. There are many advantages to it when used correctly. It is important to remember the other side though. Don’t become so obsessed with it that you ignore your real life friends who I’m sure you value much more than your phone or computer. Finally, just remember that prospective employers WILL look you up – please don’t let a Facebook status or Tweet cost you your dream job!

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