If we go back a century and tell our predecessors that it will one day be possible to boost or crush political movements, economies, and even personal relationships through a mobile device that fits right in our pocket, they would probably think we’re crazy.
But what would’ve seemed crazy then is precisely the reality that we’re living today. With everything right at our fingertips, is social media influence lifting us up or dragging us down as a society?
Shaping people’s political views
The social media influence on society is in politics. After all, many people get their news from their Facebook or Twitter feeds. It’s somehow a good thing because online platforms make it easier than ever. But that also means that fake news and incorrect data can easily slip under our noses. The battle to fight for the truth becomes more complex, especially when things take a political turn.
According to an analysis by Pew Research Center, one in five US adults get their political news on social media. And the people who do get their news in those spaces are often less informed and engaged. Gone are the days when TV and radio stations provided well-thought-out comments. Now, new sites like Youtube and Tiktok are some of the biggest sites where people get their news.
Without a doubt, social media accounts for influencing political thought. For instance, the British firm Cambridge Analytica has been accused by their former employee that their work had political tinges. For one, the firm allegedly manipulated online algorithms for political means. There are also cases when it has swayed the outcome of some countries’ elections.
Changing the nature of socialization
Because it offers easy access to news and media, more and more people visit social media platforms daily. However, social media influence on society reaches far more profound than politics. For one, it has also changed how we interact with one another. And with the pandemic, going online is one of the easiest ways for people to connect.
To date, seven in ten Facebook users visit the platform every day. And the same statistic stands for users of other big platforms such as Youtube, Nextdoor, Whatsapp, Tiktok, and other apps. The smartphone sales growth also affects how groups have changed their interaction patterns during the online age. To cut it short, online groups now strongly influence how young people’s opinions and ideas form.
Boosting business and economy
The power of social media also pervades commerce. In fact, companies shell out a lot of money to maintain a strong online presence. Having a strong brand can increase sales because of the sheer number of customers on social media sites.
The new marketplace is not limited to malls or stores anymore. Today, the business industry has largely moved to the online space. And penetrating online buyers through their social media presence is huge as most people choose to buy online rather than in person.
Unsurprisingly, companies invest money into graphic design services like Penji, as well as managers who can maintain their social media strategy. Breaking into the online selling place is by no means easy, but if done right, it can reap many benefits for businesses.
Education and social media
Social media also has positive and negative effects on education. While there is an increase in fake news online, social media can also build interaction and encourage a sense of community among new learners.
It’s mainly a boon to education as social media and the internet has made it easy for new learners to grasp more complex concepts. For instance, students are not just limited to learning within the four walls of a room. Today, they can learn through different audio and visual content, which is great for learners with different skill sets. This is a great example of how social media influence on society can be used for good.
Social media and easier job hiring
Job hunters also experience the positive impact of social media on finding work opportunities. Without a doubt, employers now have an easier time hiring new people into their teams. Recruiters can directly connect with potential team members. Apart from this, from a candidate’s social media footprint, managers can easily assess if a person fits the company culture.
That said, the usual face-to-face interview process, which costs time and money, is becoming less and less favored. Of course, looking into other people’s profiles should come with discretion. In fact, some companies have come under fire for their discriminatory hiring practices because of too much profile checking. Without a doubt, this is one of the many social media issues in society that must be solved.
The negative side of social media
Social media influence in society reaches far beyond various fields. While it has both its positive and negative aspects, there is no denying that it has also changed the way we live. Some say that life today is way more fast-paced than ever before. And that the data and access we receive from the internet comes at a cost.
Here are just some of the things that show the negative impact of social media on society:
- Rise of mental health issues among the younger population
- Social media addiction and mindless browsing
- Easy spread of misinformation on social apps
- Lack of data privacy when creating accounts and profiles
- Distraction for children and young learners
- Decrease in the human face to face connection
The Bottom Line
Like any aspect of technology, social media has positive and negative benefits. Without a doubt, it has made life easier and more convenient. For instance, hiring officers who used to spend hours arranging a job posting at a newspaper can now quickly post about a job vacancy online in less than ten minutes.
On the other side of the coin, the same benefits of social media can quickly turn into its pitfalls. Taking off from the previous example, since it’s so easy to create a job post these days, scammers masking as employers abound in cyberspace.
In the end, social media is just a tool. Whether it impacts us negatively or positively relies on how we use it.