Two Sides of Social Media Coin
By Rabiyat Usman
Social media sites have taken over our lives all over the world. It’s hard to even imagine that 10 years ago there was no Facebook or Twitter!!! 15 years ago, people were actually waiting to hear from each other physically because even email wasn’t that common. Rabiyat Usman analyzes its pros and cons…
The phenomenal growth in digital technologies and the rise of social media platforms over the past few years have revolutionized the way in which people communicate and share information. The emergence of new communication technologies has impacted on the society positively and negatively.
Social media are platforms with highly accessible digital technologies such as blogs, podcasts, social networks, wikis, micro-blogs and message boards that can be used by the general public for interactions across distance. Examples of the social media platforms include but not limited to the following: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, iTunes U, Second Life, Whatsapp, Yahoo Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, BlackBerry Messenger and MySpace and many more. Their features are common to what is obtainable in a face-to-face communication.
Traditional marketing mediums such as the radio, TV commercials and print ads are completely obsolete now and demand for thousands of naira.
There are numerous positive effects of the social media, but the positive side outweigh the negative side of the coin. Daily Asset took time to find out the opinions of some users on some of the social media platform and this is what we found out.
Chidimma, a business woman who is a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram user said these social media platforms help her businesses in a variety of ways. With social media, her businesses can connect with their targeted customers for free, the only cost is energy and time. She said through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other social site you can lower your marketing cost to a significant level.
A blogger, Abdullateef told Daily Asset that the increasing popularity of social sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, social networks has gained attention as the most viable communication choice for the bloggers, article writers and content creators. These social networking sites have opened the opportunity for all the writers and bloggers to connect with their tech savvy clients to share their expertise and articles. He said “his audience will further share his articles, blog or expertise in their social circle which further enhances his networks of followers.
A Consultant and a developer, Ajibola who makes use of Whatsapp more than other social media platforms said social media have removed all the communication and interaction barriers and that she can communicate her perception and thoughts over a variety of topics and most importantly to her clients who need services in graphics, website, consultancy etc. all over the world. More so students and experts are able to share and communicate with like-minded people and can ask for the input and opinion on a particular topic through the Whatsapp Group chats. She said “another positive impact of social media is to unite people on a huge platform for the achievement of some specific objective, this is very important to bring the positive change in society”.
To everything that has positive side, there will always be the other side. The negative effects of social media is really heart breaking, this has brought sorrow, agony, tears, suicide and even death to so many. One of the negative effects of social media is its addictive tendency.
Tersoo, a business man, who said spending countless hours on the social media can divert one’s attention and focus from a particular task, insisted that it lowers the motivational level of the people, especially teenagers and students. These sets of people mainly rely on technology and the internet instead of learning the practical knowledge and expertise of the everyday life.
Continuing, he said: “Children can be greatly affected by these social media sites if they are allowed to use them without proper monitoring. The reason is that sometimes people share pictures on social media that contains violence and sex, which can negatively affect their behavioral pattern. It could even put the negative impact on overall society as these kids and teenagers involve themselves in crime related activities.
“Another downside of social media is that the users share too much information which may pose threats to them. There was a story of a set of twins that were kidnapped from school. Eventually when the kidnappers were caught and interrogated, they confessed they had been monitoring the family closely on Facebook. They never knew the twins but they always see videos, pictures and locations, all of these helped them in their kidnap plans. Even with the tight security settings one’s personal information may leak on the social sites. Downloading your videos or pictures and copying your status is an easy task and can be done within few clicks.”
Daily Asset also spoke with Imaobong who loves to gist, Albert Einstein’s quote was posed before her “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots” this was her reaction. She said social media has made people to hide behind screens which has diminished face to face social interaction to a great extent. “People get the feeling of being social without having to go out and socialize. In the same vein, it gives you the feeling of being a friend (or having friends) without having to put in any actual work to build the relationship. Just think of how many people you have on your Facebook friends list. How many of them do you see on a regular basis or even at all. Then we have the issue of how it has taken over our lives. I hate being out in public and seeing people on their phones. Seeing them talking never bothered me as long as they weren’t being obnoxious. Nor does sending off a quick text bug me; maybe they are meeting someone and telling them where they are, or something. It is obvious that Facebooking or tweeting or whatever else keeps people’s eyes glued to their phones. It also shows a serious problem with distraction in today’s society. We can’t enjoy the world around us for an hour without retreating back into that safe little digital box.
“Also, productivity is pretty much reduced, no thanks to social media, as well. Admit it, you check your profiles during work, or find yourself wandering over to YouTube or your favorite blog during work hours. Here is a fun little game: every time you get distracted by a social media site, make a little strike on a piece of paper. At the end of the day, count all the strikes and feel your heart drop into your stomach as you try to estimate how much time wasted.
“The number of relationships that has been broken over social networks is numerous. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that Facebook is to blame for this. It is just a tool that has seemed to make it easier to cheat, or to do things that cross a boundary in your relationship. Like flirty tweets with that high school sweetheart you haven’t seen since graduation or much more blatant infidelities that are sure to be caught the first time you forget to log out of the computer you share with your spouse or is it the suicide that is committed by teenagers because their boy/girl friend broke up with them. Chibueze got married to Nneka through an online dating site. After two months of marriage, he walked into the home to find his wife chatting with someone on Facebook. She assured him the guy was just a friend, but Chibueze soon saw the person’s name all over his wife’s news feed and posts. Not long after, she traveled to meet the man – staying at his place. Their child was born within a year after the visit. Chibueze sees that whole relationship as something that started and developed entirely online. He’s convinced his ex-wife’s behavior would have manifested at some point, but technology drove the two of them apart faster. Chibueze’s new relationship started through an online dating site, but he quickly moved it into the real world. He’s understandably not a fan of developing relationships through social media.
“Let’s not forget the badly spelt, grammatical nightmares that you would need to figure what in the world a student is trying to write. This has added incorrect words to the dictionary which is been misused. A student is writing an essay, he/she writes “d” instead of “the” or is it the use of “dat” instead of “that”. The use of emoticons has taken the place of human feelings.
“The dying culture of reading in our country is worrisome among young people and every Nigerian in general because young people spend a lot of time on social media than reading books and newspapers.
“Another is the loss of human sensitivity. People don’t have conscience today any more, using their smartphones to take pictures at an accident scene when they should quickly rush to help or separate individuals in a fight.”
The effects of social media have been somewhat balanced, to be honest. There are many good things about it, and many bad things. In the end, if you can keep your own life centered in reality and use social media as a small part of it, we all will be fine.