Social Media: Pros and Cons

Social Media refers to any form of media that allows one to share ideas, thoughts, pictures, videos, etc. in a social manner.

In today’s world, everyone is active on social media, even if they don’t know it themselves. Social media basically refers to any website that allows users to share ideas, thoughts, pictures, videos, etc. In addition to just sharing information, one of the other cornerstones of social media is that is allows users to interact socially on these websites, which include inputting data, editing data, writing comments, asking users to vote, etc.

Adhering to this definition of social media, many websites fit the definition. There are the usual suspects such as Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Digg, YouTube, Flickr, etc. However, what most people fail to realize is that websites such as wikis, and mainly Wikipedia, also fall into this category as they allow users to add and edit existing articles. Also news websites, blogs, etc. fall into this category as they ask people to comment and share their articles.

These days, social media has gotten a negative connotation. Many people claim that social media is bad, or that it is making people superficial or narcissistic, etc. However, fewer and fewer people have been touting the benefits of social media. In fact, social media is now commonly used a marketing and networking tool, and with much success. Let us look at the advantages and disadvantages of social media.

Pros/Advantages

Cons/Disadvantages

  • Fast and cheap way to spread information
  • Can be used to reduced marketing costs
  • Is used to police to target and hunt attackers such as pedophiles or sex offenders
  • Is used to monitor terrorist threats
  • Allows people to communicate and share information
  • Allows people to easily keep in touch all around the world
  • Social networking sites help students do better at school.
  • Social media helps empower women, especially business as it gives them an open platform to talk
  • Helps employers find employees and job-seekers find work.
  • Has led to new fields of business, such as social networking and social marketing
  • Helps facilitate political and social change
  • Helps people who are socially isolated or shy connect with other people.
  • Allows for quick, easy dissemination of public health and safety information from reputable sources
  • "Crowdsourcing" and "crowdfunding" on social media allows people to collectively accomplish a goal
  • Provides academic research to a wider audience, allowing many people access to previously unavailable educational resources
  • Allows musicians and artists to build audiences and get a break

 

In Social Marketing:

  • Can lead to increased sales
  • Can increase traffic to the website
  • Can improve ranking on search engines
  • Can lead to greater customer engagement
  • Can lead to greater access to international markets
  • Provides opportunity for customer feedback
  • Provides opportunity to conduct market research about your customers
  • Improves networking opportunities with customers and other businesses.
  • Can be used to share wrong or incorrect information, such as hoaxes
  • Can be used to target innocent victims by pedophiles or sex offenders
  • Social media harassment
  • Cyberbullying
  • Sexting
  • Lack of privacy
  • Can lead to jealousy and envy in people observing other peoples’ lives
  • Can become a distraction from life and reality
  • Social networking sites can lead to stress and offline relationship problems.
  • Leads to wastage of time
  • Posting the wrong thing on social media can lead to not getting a job
  • Has been linked to personality and brain disorders, such as the inability to have in-person conversations, a need for instant gratification, ADHD, and self-centered personalities, as well as addictive behaviors.
  • Causes people to spend less time interacting face-to-face
  • Leads to social isolation
  • Harms employees' productivity
  • Encourages amateur advice and self-diagnosis for health problems which can lead to harmful or life-threatening results
  • Aids the spread of hate groups
  • Enables cheating on school assignments
  • Unauthorized sharing on social networking sites exposes artists to copyright infringement, loss of intellectual property, and loss of income
  • Site users are vulnerable to security attacks such as hacking, identity theft, and viruses

 

In Social Marketing:

  • Additional resources may be needed to manage your online presence.
  • Social media is immediate and needs daily monitoring.
  • If you don't actively manage your social media presence, you may not see any real benefits.
  • Greater exposure online has the potential to attract risks. Risks can include negative feedback, information leaks or hacking.

Image Courtesy: smiaware.com

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