Social media sites are platforms that offer free interaction between people on the internet. People can engage in one-on-one conversation, share, and discuss different information using multimedia formats like pictures, audio, video, and words. There are different common social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, You Tube, MySpace, and Second Life among others (Curtis n.d.).
These social media sites have features such as video sharing, tagging, forums, blogs, writing communities, collective intelligence and many others. Since 1969, the world has witnessed innovations of the social media sites from CompuServe to the Apple’s Ping social network (Curtis n.d.).
These internet sites have truly revolutionized the world in many aspects such as in communication, education and the business world. Since all technological developments have their merits and demerits, these sites have also created some negative impacts on the present society. The negative effects cannot overshadow the extensive benefits of the social media sites on the entire globe. Therefore, the essay will categorically expound on the numerous benefits that these social media sites have brought to the world.
Social media have caused a vast impact in the business sector. Facebook, for example, allows businesses to create their profiles that include their products, prices, and locations.
This approach helps to advertise businesses, and since the sites are virtually present everywhere; the businesses become virtually global in nature. Therefore, these sites can expose businesses given the high number of people who are online. In Facebook, a friend can “Follow” or “Like” a business thereby enabling many people view the business posts and trends (Carter 2013).
The large market that social media sites create also results to increase in the number of customers. It generates brand awareness and builds trust with these customers. Social media sites, therefore, indirectly increase sales of a company that uses them. In addition, a business can connect with other businesses and entrepreneurs. Social sites are open platforms, not like e-mails where users require a high level of privacy.
In LinkedIn, an entrepreneur is free to create a profile and connect with other reputable professional groups (Carter 2013). Organizations can accept requests from other businesses in LinkedIn hence forming a professional group that can assist them learn how to manage and meet their customers’ expectations. In this manner, businesses are able to borrow ideas that can prove helpful in their management hence gaining competitive advantage over their competitors. Social sites, for that reason, globalize businesses.
In addition, social media sites have proved essential in improving website traffic. A Company can create its profiles in these social sites and link them with the company website. One can also link his/her online business materials with social media profiles by using words that raise the chances of access by other people. The search engine optimization also makes it possible for many people to access organizations’ websites (Leano 2013).
Evidently, social media sites increase business exposure through the links. Social sites also assist businesses reduce their marketing expenses. For instance, these sites eliminate commissions and salaries that a company could have paid the marketing employees. Therefore, a business that frequently uses social media to promote its products experiences reduction in marketing expenses.
Businesses that are also not able to meet the high cost of marketing campaigns can generate buzz on a social media site like Twitter at low costs. Businesses can also get insights on the nature of their market through these social sites without spending too much funds on market research (Leano 2013). The firm will know what the final consumer community thinks and desires hence enabling it to tailor its products towards meeting the customers’ expectations.
Additionally, social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook have been educating the users. For instance, a study by the University of Minnesota revealed that students who had social networking sites could learn technological and communication skills easily (University of Minnesota 2008).
The communication skills that students acquire from these sites assist them to interact and share ideas with each other. Teachers and students communicate easily through these sites since they are always easy to use thus improving the exchange and connection between the two groups. Clearly, these learners will develop positive attitudes toward using the 21st century skills that are essential in driving the global economy.
The users can practice to edit and customize contents and even think about designing the layouts of a website. Moreover, these students learn to accommodate new and divergent opinions that they come across on these sites. Other educational potentials include the ability of students to share artistic works like films and poetry through the social networking sites. On the other aspect, social media sites make brains adopt the skimming and scanning nature (University of Minnesota 2008).
Students practice to navigate these sites to distinguish between useful contents and those, which are not useful. LinkedIn as a social media site prepares undergraduate and graduate students for successful employment opportunities. LinkedIn have a platform where a user can upload his/her curriculum vitae and connect with other professional groups that relate to his/her line of study.
Notably, the educationists can learn different activities that the professional groups do and even reveal their potentials to future employers. Educators like teachers and lecturers are able to send data to their students through a social site like Google+ (University of Minnesota 2008). For instance, teachers can post tutorials on social sites so that students can access. This approach has made school environments more relevant and interesting to learners than before.
In Facebook, a teacher can form an academic group where students subscribe to and use it as a platform where he/she answers students’ questions, which the students were not able to ask during the face-to-face lectures. This can be possible given the digital nature of the current learners. Teachers can strive to involve students on the emerging issues that can make the students techno-savvy citizens after understanding the learners’ entry behaviours on social media sites.
On the social aspect, people use these sites to communicate with their friends and family members. These sites act as platforms where one meet and renew friendship with older friends. When people exchange information, it increases the social bonds that exist in the society.
In addition, social sites spread information to many people at faster rates than other forms of interaction. For example, many people are able to view a post on the page of a person in Facebook if they are in the friend-cycle. This ability of social media sites has made media companies concentrate on updating their profiles.
Markedly, over 50% of media reporters use Twitter as a source of news for 28.7% Americans. The reporting of the 2012 theatre shooting in Aurora, Colorado reveals the strength that social media sites have commanded in the communication sector. Even the Red Cross used Twitter and You Tube to communicate to family members of the victims (Are social networking sites good for our society? 2013).
Another example that attests to the strength of social media sites in the current society is the Arab Uprising incidences. The Tunisians were able to express their dissatisfactions towards the regime through Facebook. They went ahead to mobilise themselves to stage a revolution protest that saw the end of the dictatorial regime. Social sites also act as platforms where people meet their spouses from any part of the world.
People network and tend to know each other through messaging in social sites. This may facilitate face-to-face meetings. The society can also use these sites to remove social stigmas that people have towards some diseases. In Facebook, there is the Stigma Project that encourages the society to accept their people who are homosexuals or suffering from HIV/AIDS (Are social networking sites good for our society? 2013).
Social media sites have clearly assisted the society in scores of dimensions. However, there are negative practices that students or any person can do on the social media sites; for instance, watching of pornographic movies on You Tube. This behaviour destroys the morals of the society.
Internet administrators should lock such sites so that the society engages in constructive use of the social sites. Even though there are negative aspects of social media, the society should endeavour to protect the gains that have resulted from these social sites. Social media sites have revolutionized all sectors in the world in such a way that they have made work easier than before.
Are social networking sites good for our society? 2013, Social Networking ProCon.org, viewed 6 May 2013, <http://socialnetworking.procon.org/
Carter, T 2013, 6 Benefits of the Social Media Revolution for Small Businesses, Small BusinessTrends, viewed 6 May 2013, http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/02/benefits-of-social-media-small- businesses.html
Curtis, A n.d., The Brief History of Social Media, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, viewed 6 May 2013, <http://www.uncp.edu/home/acurtis/NewMedia/SocialMedia/SocialMediaHistory.html
Leano, M 2013, Benefits of Social Media for Business, Business Directory Australia | Business.com.au Directories, viewed 6 May 2013, http://www.business.com.au/resources/articles/social-media-benefits-business/
University of Minnesota 2008, Educational Benefits of Social Networking Sites Uncovered, sciencedaily.com, viewed 6 May 2013, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080620133907.htm