AFPA

Impact of Social Media

Introduction

Social media is a collection of websites, applications and other platforms that enable us to share or create content and also helps us to participate in social networking.

Apart from blogging and sharing pictures, there are many vigorous tools that social media provides because it has great influence and is far reaching.

We cannot ignore the fact that social media is one of the biggest elements present in our lives today. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more are giving people a chance to connect with each other across distances.

The whole world is at our fingertips all thanks to social media. The youth is one of the most dominant users of social media and is also mostly influenced by it.

Advantages

Social media has become part and parcel of our society. The positive aspects of social media can be seen in various aspects of people’s lives.

– Social media is a great device for education. All the information required is just one click away, people just have to look for the relevant information at relevant platforms. Students can educate themselves on various topics using social media. Live lectures have become possible owing to social media. Now a student sitting in one corner of the world can attend lectures from the other corner. This has also given an opportunity to students to seek expert advice from renowned teachers and professors of the premier institutions across the globe. Online education proved handy during lockdown imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It saved academic year of children and even provided them with the opportunity of learning at home. Both teachers and students can make use of the learning aids available online to enhance their skills.

– With the help of websites such as Linkedin, job seekers can post their resume with their professional web presence and contact with prospective employers. Nowadays, many employers also offer their office jobs on websites like Facebook and Twitter. Students can easily get in touch with business and professional organizations on social networking sites. Moreover, such sites provide career updates in various fields. Students can also give job interviews online.

– Social media gives a huge platform for creative expression to the artists. Now the artists have to just upload their content on the media and benefit greatly with the praise or criticism offered by the people having similar interests. People can showcase their talent globally, gather followers and become stars overnight.

– Digital advertising is realized as the future of advertisement and social media marketing is an integral part of it. As social media users are increasing manifold, marketers see the possibility of a much larger market here. Products can be marketed to the target audience at much lower budget. Social media marketing is also a developing career option with lot of scope for students. Many businesses have totally dedicated to social media advertising campaigns. Now many digital advertising agencies based exclusively on social media advertising are also useful.

– Social media has reduced the distance between people. They can easily communicate with their friends and relative overseas. The world has become a compact space with boundaries being diminished by the virtual world and connectivity has increased by leaps and bounds. People can remain in touch without any physical proximity.

Disadvantages

Every coin has two sides and similarly social media also comes with its peculiar set of disadvantages.

– According to a study done on social media, its overuse has the opposite effect on memory and concentration. People are so busy in their online activities that their mind is not able to relax and it directly affects their memory. The distractions caused by Facebook and WhatsApp pop ups affects the academic performance of students. Youngsters on seeing the photos or status uploaded by their friends start comparing their achievements and this causes a negative impact on their self-esteem.

– People have become so busy communicating with others in the virtual world that the real world conversations have taken a backstage. People are spending less time with their loved ones to be online and this has negatively affected relations as well. Relations and friendships have become more volatile in nature increasing mental anxiety and stress in people.

– Fake news and disinformation spreads very rapidly through social media. It is leading to the poisonous atmosphere on the web and causing riots and lynching on the road. Rumours, morphed images, click-baits, motivated stories, unverified information, planted stories for various interests spread very easily and present a challenge to society.

– Often teenagers get exposed to the questionable content like violence, pornography, hate speeches, etc. This inappropriate content grips their innocent minds and they behave in manners not expected of them. Children are exposed to online bullying and often give in to peer pressure and do undesirable acts.

– Women are the most vulnerable to online abuse. Nuisance makers resort to unwelcome behavior to harass women online and thus they are more susceptible to online sexual abuse.

Indian Scenario

India has one of the largest and fastest growing presence on various social media platforms. Indian society is a diverse one including people of various faiths and beliefs living together. Thus, disinformation has been used as an effective weapon to polarize communities and upset democratic processes.

In the Indian context social media abuse is evolving in quantity and quality both. Massive spikes of disinformation were seen in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests, elections, Delhi riots of 2020, Pandemic and now Farmer protests. This is gradually increasing as political parties have found out that if you put out organized disinformation, then any political narrative can be controlled.

The social media needs to be regulated. Laws should be developed to regulate the online content.

Currently the online content is regulated as per the provisions of the IT Act, 2000.  But any conversation on regulation of social media brings up concerns about privacy and surveillance. Hence any bid at regulating expressions online has to be proportional and concrete with adequate redressal mechanisms without any blanket provisions.

Controlling social media is a tricky issue as not controlling trolls could lead to instability and law and order problems while doing too much control could harm democracy.

There is a need to educate public, strengthen regulations and increased efforts of tech companies to make suitable algorithms for news curation.

India should also seriously emphasize cyber security, internet education, fake news education in the academic curriculum at all levels.

Conclusion

Social media has become ubiquitous in our lives. We have to deal with its disadvantages while extracting benefits from it.

People must create a balance between their academic performances, physical activities and social media.

It is possible that people spend more time on social networking sites than they do on sleeping. Excess of anything is dangerous and hence should be avoided. People should not let social media addiction hamper their productivity.

Platforms should be more aware regarding the information flowing through their media, and keep a check on the same.

People on the other hand should make themselves and their families aware about the good and bad effects of social media.

Overall, there is a need to share responsibility among the tech-platforms, the regulators and people at large to show responsible behavior online and become aware and responsible netizens.