Based on the materials presented in class and your own background knowledge and experiences, do you think social media has overall had a more positive or negative impact on the world?
The internet has created something that has never been achieved before in human history; it has provided the ability to connect any two people in the world and create a bridge that sees no distance as an obstacle. From this has emerged social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, QQ to name a few.
In the recent years Facebook has accumulated over 1.8 billion active users, an astonishing 22% of the world’s population. With the increase in users online have surfaced some societal and political issues that have not been foreseen, such as problems with fake news, online safety, and addiction to social media platforms.
Fake news has recently reached the mainstream with the 2016 US elections with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and allegations of outer party manipulations and spreading of propaganda through Facebook’s ad services by Russian trolls meant to sabotage the US elections.
Social media has become a widely liked medium to share memories and communicate with loved ones, but it has also left a lasting effect on the human responses to instant gratification and multitasking which have combined to create the highly addictive array of platforms from Snapchat to QQ. Each of these platforms are interested in one thing and one thing only; user activity and engagement. The more a user is using the site and the longer the user is on the site translates to more user satisfaction which leads to more paid ad views and ad revenue for the company.
Personal safety and anonymity online has never been as important to keep as today. Just by posting somewhat sensitive material with ignoring the privacy settings on the platform, an online stalker may be able to learn a lot of information about an individual that you may have not wanted to share.With anonymity comes a shield that makes a user feel somewhat untouchable and can sometimes create an environment where an individual may be led to think that what he/she says online does not impact people in real life. Trolls or online bullies have emerged from the shield of anonymity online. This has lead to lots of abuse towards people by an anonymous “mob-mentality” that can lead to serious effects and even leading to a person taking their life from all the abuse online.
Although there are many positive traits that social media has introduced to our world, like connecting over 1/5 of the world’s population online, there are many issues with the internet and media platforms that the population must be aware of. All users of the internet must be educated the key tips to staying safe online as well as learning that not all information online is fully legitimate, and must learn to question things instead of blindly accepting information from news feeds on social network sites.