The introduction of social media has revolutionized culture in both constructive and negative ways. The explosion of social media has redefined social communications, making them more fast and efficient, and it is difficult to deny the influence social media has had on society. Technology and the internet have swept into communities, and individuals now have access to handheld devices or tablets through which they can access social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Notably, social media has dramatically reshaped approaches and processes in today’s networking market, as well as playing an active part in civic participation. This paper will analyze the impact of social media on society by delving into the values and the limitations the social media has on the society.
Value of Social Media on the Society
The social media has primarily led to a political transformation. From the deepest corners of the world, social media has facilitated political disclosure which has majorly been condensed into smartphone or tablet devices. The demographic shift towards new methods of information outreach has seen political parties adapt to the rapidly changing realities of communication enabling them to reach their participants. Indeed, the social media has been a vital platform in which every person is allowed to interact in an informal and unstructured fashion. Many dialogues touching on the national issues and the government is increasingly happening on the social media and the political leaders actively interact with citizens in order to keep pace with what is happening in society. Facebook and twitter have considerably fueled political transformation. The young generation has turned to the social media and from here they are able to engage in productive talks with the politicians along with discussing the policies at a personal level without the necessity of carrying out public rallies. The Televisions and the radios are increasing being replaced by the social media. YouTube, Facebook, and twitter have provided new ways to stimulate the citizens to engage in the life of politics with electoral campaigns and elections being the underlining roles. Alam notes that “Social media has reshaped structures and methods of contemporary political communication by influencing the way politicians interact with citizens and each other” (Alam 2). Certainly, personal communication through the social media tends to bring parties and politicians to their potential voters. The politicians are able to communicate faster and thus reach their target participants and receive vital feedback, reactions, debates, and conversation from the public.
Additionally, social media has also made it easier for an interaction between the buyers and the sellers and thus redesigned the business sector thus adding value to the business sector. When one goes to For example, on many advertisements of products are posted on the Facebook. Consumers have been able to do window shopping and get access to the products they want through the social media. The social platforms have allowed business people and advertisers to market their products and services in a quick manner. Moreover, these business people are able to reach their target customers and as result, many of them have realized huge profits. Advertising on these social media is also less costly compared to other channels such as the radios and television. Employment opportunities are at times posted on these platforms and permitted people to apply and get employment. More importantly, some employers also use the social media especially Facebook to solicit more information on a possible candidate from their profiles. The information found is used in arriving at vital decisions on whether to employ or discard the person.
Social media has improved governance together with reforming government operations by calling of transparency. The impact of social media on governance give numerous opportunities and challenges to the existing theories of citizenship and leadership. Undoubtedly, the social media has been helpful in the deconstruction of the authoritarian regimes and further presented opportunities for democracy. Equality has been promoted through social media and thus remained an empowering element for democratic forces in the society. The social transformation has given an accessible to information and enhanced the exchange and consumption of information in a society (Smith 19). Public participation and transparency in the government offices has been facilitated by social media and thus improving on the government disclosure. The social media has reshaped governance and enabled public participation. It mirrors government practices and made provision for easy publication and a quick way for spreading information. Thus accountability is promoted which in turn creates confidence in the citizens. Besides, social media has opened new possibilities in the society and drove initiatives by opening access to the government activities. It has saved time and money by providing information through channels that are less costly.
Social media have overturned the world into a hub of social connection and interaction. Through devices such as tablets, smartphones, and even computers, people have been able to get connected and know what is going around them and beyond the seas. People are able to communicate at any time and any day and share information that could have otherwise taken ages to reach the person. The explosion of the social media has seen a definition of new norm in communication compared to that of past years. Email, Facebook, and twitter have successfully managed in maintaining long-distance relationships.
Limitations of Social Media to the Society
Social media has tabled negative changes on social interactions and weakened the bonds that come with face-face interaction in a society. Social media activists such has Malcolm Gladwell has vehemently refuted the idea that social media has positively impacted on the society. Gladwell notes that, even though the social media has fostered interdisciplinary collaboration, coordinated logistics and brought the buyers together, it does not play a big role in the revolutionary movements as it creates weak bonds between individuals and fails to have a hierarchical structure. In reinforcing this point, he cites the revolt that perpetuated against racial segregation in four universities in 1960 successfully happened and social media was not in existence during the time (Gladwell 3). He further notes that strong bond connections were formed in the revolt that played a big role in its victory. Surely, Gladwell’s argument has its line of truth. Truly, the social media has attracted weak connections among people and not only in the aspect of revolution but also in many spheres of life. For instance, according to Turkle’s article shared on TED named “Connected but Alone”, she describes that technology and social media have caused destruction to meaningful social interactions by disconnecting people from the real world (Turkle). Turkle notes that parents and children have ignored each other and time for sharing information between parents and children does not exist. Social media calls for stun condemnation because of the limitation of social interaction.
Social media has caused addiction, particularly to the young generations. People have substantiated conversations through texting in social media and the ever growing attachment to the phones and tablets has deeply engrossed the teenagers. The limitation of this is that it has caused an addiction that created a moral panic in the society. The addiction among the teenagers has led to both negative behavioral and physical impacts. Behavioral impacts include cultivation of aggressiveness, irritability, and lack of interest. Physical impacts involve a constant headache complaints and less or lack of sleep. Furthermore, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome which is characterized by tingling, numbness, and weaknesses is common in people who are addicted to social media. The problem of teenage addiction to social media has become an outcry to societies implying the detrimental effects the social media on the society.
Social media has led to social harassment and promoted hate speech and hatred. Arguably, the social media has promoted freedom of speech and through these platforms, a person is allowed to the make any form of utterance. The freedom is not only evident in speech but also in the posting of pictures and videos that are violent. Notably, this freedom of speech on the social media arises because the American law does offer protection to a person’s ability to express every kind of view. Social harassment and hatred on the social media have negatively impacted on the society particularly through political parties. The society has been divided and the attempts to seek for unity dwindled.
Indeed, technology advancement has totally redefined and influenced the society in varied ways including social interactions. With the propagation of the social media, the worlds of politics and business have taken different directions. Owing to the value that social media has on the society, everyone has been seen dancing to the tune and overlook the limitations of social media. It has to be noted that, social media has detrimental impacts on the face-face social interactions and severely caused isolation. Individuals have not given a serious concern on the realities that unfold behind the use of social media. Social media harassment, hatred and hate speech are perpetuated through social media. The young generation particularly has developed an addiction to the social media networking and ignored important aspects of life such as school lectures and social engagement with their parents.
Alam Mayesha. Weighing the Limitations against the Added-Value of Social Media as a Tool for Political Change. New York City. The Center for Democracy and Civil Society. 2011
Gladwell Malcolm. Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted. New York City. The New Yoker. 2010
Turkle Sherry. Connected, but Alone. TED. April 2012. Accessed 31, March, 2017 from https://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together/transcript?language=en
Smith Aoron. Civic Engagement in the Digital Age. New York City. PewResearch Center. 2013