Introduction and History
Social media refers to all the internet sites that are used for non-official interactions. There are various forms of social media depending on the name of the site and the kind of interaction it supports. Facebook, Skype, Twitter and Badoo are some of the commonly used social media forms (Gentle 2012 p. 34).
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In order to differentiate between social media and other forms of interactive media, one can look at the kind of language used; for social media there is no official language or professional language to be used. The various forms of social media have their own different origins although all of them began with two friends trying to contact each other over the internet which led to the creation of a site in which they later added their friends (Watts 2009 p. 57)
Uses of Social Media and Why People Use Social Media
Social media permits interaction with fewer rules unlike other forms of media. People do not like following rules and it is the reason they are attracted to social media more than other forms of media. It also facilitates free sharing of ideas, life issues and other forms of communication between two or more friends who are far from each other (Shirky 2008 p. 42).
Cost is another important factor people consider when choosing a medium of communication. Most social media sites have cheap and attractive rates compared to other forms of media hence people prefer to use them. Flexibility of social media is a great aspect that makes it easy to use since it is accessible any time (Van Dijik 2013 p. 31).
Today you can communicate with a friend who is miles away from the comfort of your living room using your smartphone. Friends use social media to catch up on chat sites. Social media provides a platform to advertise events, invite friends and family for functions, hold discussions on various life matters without people having to meet physically and even transact business which attracts a huge number of customers (Watts 2009).
Who Uses Social Media and How
Social media is commonly used by young people. Research shows that as one gets old their attention draws away from social media. The following table shows the various age brackets and their corresponding percentages of time on social media. The information is obtained from various surveys and researches conducted by scholars interested in social media. Mostly social media is used for unlimited interaction among people (Shirky 2008 p. 98).
|Age bracket||Percentage of daily time spent on social media|
|70- 120 years||0.0001%|
Advantages of Social media
It is less costly as compared to other forms of communication. An example is putting up a funeral announcement on broadcast media costs a lot of money for a two minute announcement on radio and one will be required to shorten the message which may lead to distortion of the message. On the other hand, you just need to purchase internet bundles to access social media and post your announcement (Van Dijik 2013 p. 78).
Fewer procedures are used in social media making it flexible unlike other forms of media. It can be accessed from any part of the world with good network coverage. Sharing professional ideas over social media facilitates career development. It also enhances time saving since people do not have to meet physically to communicate (Gentle 2012 p. 46).
Disadvantages of Social Media
Social media is addictive and people end up spending several hours on social media. It also allows children to access immoral material like pornographic sites which lead to indecent societal norms.
It takes away the social life of an individual as it becomes hard to talk to people face to face once one is used to doing it over social media. Furthermore, the cost of using social media may seem low but the cumulative use of social sites is expensive in the long run. More so, the social media is a hunting ground for perverts such as paedophiles and cyber swindlers (Watts 2009 p. 67).
In my opinion using social media in a controlled way is right. One should avoid viewing sites that may lead to their moral decay. It is also not wrong to use social media when one is free but it is wrong to abandon your duties so as to have a glimpse of your favourite sites. I recommend that people use social media in the right way and at the right time.
It is evident from the analysis in the article that social media has taken root in our society and it has both positive impacts and negative impacts on one’s lives. One should ensure they benefit more from using social media and reduce the negative impacts. Thus, the best ways of using social media should be adopted if we want to reap most of its benefits.
Gentle, Anne. Conversation and Community: The Social Web for Documentation. Laguna Hills, CA: XML Press, 2012. Print
Shirky, Clay. Here Comes Everybody. New York, NY: Penguin Press, 2008. Print.
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Van Dijik, Jose. The Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2013. Print.
Watts, Duncan. Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age. London, UK: Vintage, 2009. Print.