Around 81% of the United States population had a social media account in 2017 (U.S.
Population with a Social Media Profile 2017). With so many people using social media it is important that it is regulated and used correctly. Some people believe that social media disconnects people from the real world and doesn’t have a positive impact. Overall, social media does have a positive impact on society. It connects people all over the world who would not otherwise be able to, allows people to quickly spread their ideas, and can help students handle highschool and college. Social media helps connect friends and relatives who otherwise wouldn’t be able to. “Good social sites can serve to remind you of friends you knew or colleagues you’ve lost touch with” (Szumski and Karson 14). Social media allows anyone to have constant human connection even if those people are on opposite sides of the world.
“The Journal of Social Issues reported that social networking sites appeared to reduce loneliness and improve well-being, especially for people who may have difficulty communicating in traditional settings, such as individuals with Asperger’s syndrome” (Szumski and Karson 14). This also goes for people who may be struggling with things like depression, where social media can help them get away from whatever is bothering them. Social media can also help the world on a larger scale. Social media can help spread political ideas in both free countries and in more repressive countries. Social media can help bring together communities, after the terrorist attacks in Paris people offered help to the victims on social media (Social Media: Does social media have a positive impact on the world?). “Social media as a whole has the ability to engage people on a variety of levels, enabling it to be used by political activists to promote their causes” (Bryfonski 87). The biggest example of this was seen in 2011 during the Tunisian Revolt, also known as the Arab Spring (Bryfonski 91).
“Journalist Peter Beaumont of the British newspaper the Guardian argued in 2011 that “a young woman or a young man with a smartphone” was the “defining” image of the Arab Spring. “The instantaneous nature of how social media communicate self-broadcast ideas, unlimited by publication deadlines and broadcast news slots, explains in part the speed at which these revolutions have unravelled, their almost viral spread across a region,” he contended” (Social Media: Does social media have a positive impact on the world?). Without social media the ideas of the Arab Spring would have been very difficult if not impossible to spread. Social media also allows people in the U.S. to express their political opinions and bring up issues to a large audience.
Social media connects governments, businesses, and citizens that can share common values (Bryfonski 90). This allows citizens and businesses to easily express their concerns with their governments. Social media also helps on a smaller scale with students.Social media can help students handle school and build up things like self-confidence. “Seeing a close up picture of your own face and willingly showing it to thousands of people with one click is a form of self-confidence that I don’t think should be quickly dismissed” (Social Media: Does social media have a positive impact on the world?). While many people argue that social media lowers self esteem not many recognize how it actually boosts confidence. Not only does social media help students self esteem, but it also helps students handle all of the work.
“Because we live in a world of constant anxiety and stress about our lives, our careers, the planet and the fate of our families and friends, trusted sites like Facebook and Twitter are places we turn to relieve this tension and allow us to live and express our humanity” (Social Media: Does social media have a positive impact on the world?). School can create a lot of stress with due dates and tests and social media can give students a chance to take a break. In a study done on the daily lives of college students they found that, “If the college student has a positive perception of social media and its uses, then academic success, study habits, social interaction, and family interaction will all mostly be positive” (Barnett and Cothern 14). There are also many websites and social media that allow students to consult experts on the things they are working on in school.
While social media has an overwhelmingly positive impact there are some aspects that can be seen as negative. On the other hand, some people believe that social media has a negative effect on the world. Even some working in the social media industry believe it is bad. This includes former Facebook VP, Chamath Palihapitiya, who said this: “It literally is at a point now where I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.
That is truly where we are,” he said. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works: no civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem. This is not about Russian ads. This is a global problem” (Wang). He argues that social media sites like Facebook take advantage of certain parts of human psychology that makes users want to stay on. Others argue that they have an overall negative effect and that they are destroying “face to face communication and socialization” (Social Media: Does social media have a positive impact on the world?).
“The shortcomings of social media would not bother me awfully if I did not suspect that Facebook friendship and Twitter chatter are displacing real rapport and real conversation,” New York Times commentator Bill Keller argued in 2011. “The things we may be unlearning, tweet by tweet—complexity, acuity, patience, wisdom, intimacy—are things that matter” (Social Media: Does social media have a positive impact on the world?). Even though these arguments should not be ignored, social media does have an overall positive effect on society. The positive interactions between separated relatives and friends and the ability to spread awareness of issues certainly outweighs the negatives. While people are spending more time on social media these interactions should not be seen as worthless. Those interacting on social media are still communicating with real people, just not always the people around them. There are some cases where social media can negatively impact a person by distracting them from real world responsibilities but often this is not a serious issue. This is also not the first time new social technology has scared people.
According to Megan Moreno of the University of Wisconsin, “In the late 19th century, some observers predicted that the telephone would severely damage interpersonal relationships, just as detractors of social media do today. The telephone “was going to bring down our society” (Social Media: Does social media have a positive impact on the world?). This shows that technology is often only scary because it is new.
In conclusion, social media has an overall positive impact on the world even though there are some cases where social media can be abused. Social media helps connect people all over the world, allows people to spread political ideas no matter what kind of a country they live in, and can help students in highschool and college. With 81% of the US population having a social media account, it is important that it is used correctly (U.S. Population with a Social Media Profile 2017).
Whenever one is using social media they should think about if they are using it healthily.