Nowadays, social media is thoroughly integrated into the lives of nearly everyone, regardless of age, gender, and location. Social media has a powerful role in the world of today, and with the great dependency on social media in everyday culture, there are both good and bad consequences of its use. However, because of the inevitability of the presence of social media platforms in the present and into the foreseeable future, the power of social media should be adapted as a tool of positivity and progressiveness.
The Bad About Social Media
The issue with social media is the overwhelming amount of negativity that spawns from platforms. Because of the laws of the Internet, everyone has the option to be protected by walls of anonymity on social media when they are interacting with others who may choose to use their real identity. As a result, people who intend to harm others can safely hide behind a fake identity, or sometimes they can just feel safe behind a screen, physically separated from their victims. While many websites and platforms have rules that users have to agree to before using the services, it is impossible to track down every violation.
Racism, sexism, and other deliberately offensive acts run rampant on social media platforms because of the sheer amount of accounts on various platforms. Affected users can report offensive profiles, but the systems to suspend or ban an offensive account are often ineffective as people can just make new accounts and continue harassing people.
Another negative aspect of social media is the unrealistic lifestyles portrayed with the use of photo and video editing. Celebrities often endorse nonsense beauty products and promote unrealistic lifestyles, which can perpetuate harmful expectations from society to look and act a certain way. So many people are easily consumed by other people’s lives through social media rather than physically connecting with others. The common obsession with social media is now being considered as an addiction as it is so often for people to get stuck on their phones at the end of the day as a way to unload the stress from the day.
The Good About Social Media
While social media can enable and promote a toxic culture, there have been great positive consequences from it as well. Most recently, global social movements such as #MeToo and Black Lives Matter have made major waves due to access to social media. While celebrities can often promote toxic cultures, they can also choose to use their platforms to support social movements, gathering greater support from the public. Because of the infinite outreach of the Internet, people can connect with others regardless of location, and that is a great way for some people to form friendships and build networks.
Social media can also be an effective avenue for creativity. Artists and musicians are discovered through social media platforms and can build fanbase online where they otherwise may not have ever gained recognition. Authors can self-publish stories to various platforms and share them through social media as well, gaining a following that they could only achieve through social media. Small business owners can allow their shops to thrive online because of the outreach of the Internet. The role of social media is not just important in the big scheme of social progression but also just the daily lives of individuals.
How Is It Both Good and Bad?
Like most things, social media can be a really good thing in moderation. From connecting with people all around the world to having endless access to information, social media can also be a great tool for the progression of society. While the positive realistically outnumbers the negative, the negative will always outweigh the positive because of the damage it causes. People will never stop being hateful and hurtful, but with better restrictions and regulations for the registration process of accounts, users can be better protected online.