Impact of Social Media: Pros and Cons

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Written by Khadija Garba

A graduate of English Language, Khadija Garba grew up in a small town in Zaria. She is a writer whose random thoughts and beliefs get penned down. Not to mention she derives happiness and fulfillment going through her own published works. Khadija has an addiction for early morning cup of black coffee, Japanese 2D animations (anime), manhwas then finally, English novels. Romance remains her favourite genre.

September 1, 2020

Everything believed to have an advantage —especially man-made inventions— usually gets accompanied side by side with disadvantages. In a century where developments through technological innovations are the order of the day, the internet and social media have made a lot of things simpler for everyone. For instance, you can just wake up, walk to the kitchen to grab yourself a coffee then come back to the coziness of your bed to read the news. You don’t have to leave your house to get a newspaper. And it’s not just reading you can enjoy while been comfortably home, you can also get yourself goods without ever leaving your doorstep. Not to mention how communication has been made extremely accommodating.

Pros Social Media

Social media is made up of websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or participate in social networking. Platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are currently the most recognized and used apps for social networking around Nigeria. Social Media has a lot of uses and here are just a few.

1. Connecting People

Connecting to new people is now a simple quest, since finding them is no more a difficult task. Social media applications like Facebook and Linkedin are very good at connecting people. Wanting to interact and associate with new people can stem from the need to widen your horizon using people who think broader and different from you. It can also because of wanting to align with people who share the same cause and ideology with you for the betterment of your environment and humanity at large. And not just new people, even old acquaintances you’ve lost contact with due to fallout or migration can now be located using the internet.

2. Information Dispersing

Just imagine trying to pull together a reunion where you have to send every attendee a personal invitation to their respective homes! Hectic right? This is exactly what social media has now eliminated. All you have to do is post whatever invitation you want to your social media accounts while urging others to share. Eventually, it’ll reach the intended audience within a short period and at a minimal cost. All you have to do is log into any of your accounts, and you’ll be updated with “What’s Up” within mere seconds. Governments, organizations, and individuals spread information to either inform or raise alarm using social media. The NCDC (Nigerian Centre for Disease Control) is a testament to this. It has utilised the advantages of social media in disseminating critical informations about the COVID-19 pandemic.

3. Easy Access to Aid

People who get manhandled or denied their rights turn to social media to create awareness to obtain help and get the justice they deserve. Rape victims who don’t have the necessary power, connection, and money to get predators punished seek help from these networks. People who have health conditions turn to social media for medical assistance. When awareness is raised, rendering and obtaining help becomes easy.

Read: I Was Molested and It Still Haunts Me

4. Enlightenment

You don’t have to stress yourself by going to classes or camping in libraries just to learn a few things. Some people have dedicated their time and resources to raising awareness and educating people on various situations online. Some apps like Quora go as far as answering your questions to satisfy your curiosity while clearing your doubts. Informative apps like Coursera and Udemy offer online courses at affordable prices. All one has to do is search, then filter while processing the acquired information.

5. An Equalizing Force

Social media provides both the poor and rich equal opportunities to become who they want to be. Whether you have artistic talents or entrepreneurship skills, the internet is an already made audience ready to recognize your value, waiting to patronize your skills at any given time. Many people have succeeded in making it from social media, while numerous other businesses depend on social media. From an audience comes interested investors for future development. People who have to recognize your services will want to pave a more broader and accurate way for your growth and development. A lot of talents have been born from social media. A lot of businesses are a success thanks to the global connection.

6. Job Outreach

Social Media creates more employment opportunities. Employers barely go-to news outlets to advertise vacancies they need filling. What they do is paste the advert online. Because people live inside the internet now, applicants gush in fast. So If you are jobless, always be on the outlook when surfing the net. You can just compose a post of your situation and what you can do, ask people to help you share and get it to spread. Your employer might pick you up from there. There are other platforms like Linkedin or Jobberman who connect those searching for jobs to their prospective employers.

7. Shopping Made Easy

Where are my busy and lazy fellas?! Social Mediums have made getting materials you need for survival or luxury a lot easier. You don’t have to start thinking and dreading the hours you need to spare to get you to the market on time.

Okay! So you’re neither lazy nor busy but you’ve always search different markets for an item and you’re yet to get a hold of it? Why not search online? There are no good or services you won’t come in contact with.

8. Social Media Lifts Moods

After a messed up conversation, encounter, or the whole day ruined, one tweet, picture, or a short video is enough to hijack and hike up your mood. Lot lots of people turn to the media for solace. Platforms like Twitter, Tiktok, Vskit, Likeee supply constant entertainment to users.

Now! Let’s talk about the shortcomings of this social media.

Cons of Social Media

1. The Internet Never Forgets

How many times have you heard of tales where people lose jobs or opportunities because of one or two mishaps they did online? Well, those tales are true. The infamous case where an intern at NASA was fired for tweeting profanities at a member of the council that oversees the Agency serves as a good example. People grow, therefore change.

But, the internet keeps records, people keep screenshots as evidence. This makes being conscious of your activities very important. A time will come where your reputation becomes of utmost importance to your growth. Your records will either stand for or against you.

2. Impersonations

Because the internet keeps records, the impersonation of different respectful people has been made easily possible. People get other people’s pictures to open an account and use those people’s names to slander and defame them. A lot of catfish accounts are roaming all over social media. These accounts are used to scam others while jeopardizing the reputation of the person been impersonated.

3. False Information

Since the whole reputation of the internet dwells on it as being easier and faster, this makes the spread of invalid information like wildfire. Fake news and rumors cover corners within a very short time which usually ends destructive. A lot of lives have been lost because of this. The case where popular Record Label Executive, Audu Maikori was arrested by the police on charges of incitement based on a petition by the Kaduna state government attributed to his false tweet of killings in a town in Southern Kaduna is still fresh in our memories.

People read information online then digest it without carefully confirming the validity of the source. During the Ebola virus pandemic, a lot of people with high BP lost their lives due to drinking and bathing with saltwater, false information claiming it to be a prevention scheme.

4. An Open Room for Disrespect

Because people hide under an alias which is most times different from their official identity, they go as far as being bratty and misbehaving around people they normally won’t even look at in the eyes in the real world. People hide behind their keyboards to talk anyhow, rain insults on multiple respective powerful people underneath the claim ‘I am entitled to an opinion’.

5. Destructive Desire For Fame

Being famous on social media comes with a lot of influencer bonuses. For this, people try so hard to blow. However, in the conquest for wider range recognition, they get deluded and irrational. They travel far as cooking up stories to chase clout, not caring about consequences in the midst of dragging and tarnishing other people’s prestige. Another is not acknowledging the difference between what to air to the outside world and what to keep private. Being caught in a wave for fame can get you doing things you shouldn’t normally do, and make you spill things you are supposed to keep to yourself. Be wary of that wave, for it always leaves an after mark.

6. Negligence to Immediate Environment

People lose connections to the people closest to them because they get their minds buried in their phones trying to establish new connections. You would see people living together yet so far away. They barely make time to connect and show care to the immediate people around them.

7. Addiction and Dependence

Social Media has a way of getting people addicted to them by creating a sense of dependency that comes via the excitement and chills gotten from scrolling the timeline. This dependency can make you lazy in the real world. How? In-between catching up on gist and dramas, times flies. You must learn how to strike a balance so that social networks won’t disrupt your reality. Also, this dependency can bring about sadness each time your expectations aren’t met as it’s not always the scandals and jokes keep coming.

8. Affects Self-esteem

A feeling of pride in yourself? Social Networks can shatter that for you. People living there only update you on the results, they hardly show you the process.

Online, businesses look so lively and promising. Relationships look so lovely and yummy. People appear so happy, successful, and satisfied that questioning your luck using them as a yardstick can affect you negatively.

Once you’re not rich enough to afford every damn thing you see or come across, please learn to log off social networks once in a while.

Read: The Feeling of Insecurity and How To Avoid it

This has nothing to do with being grateful and contented enough with what you have, this is about your mind and mental health. Even if you are filthy rich, still endeavor to take some time off. People can get unruly and toxic after all. If not, you’re going to find yourself rolling the pit of depression.

It should be noted that, while some people find Social media resourceful, useful, and a necessity, others condemn it toxic and consuming. In the end, It all boils down to what you use it for, likewise how you plan your activities while logged on.

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