Social media has generated new dynamics for communication, entertainment and business management.
Some of the benefits they offer are the interactivitythe variety of formats o la easy to disclose ideas or projects at a professional level.
The other side of the coin shows us some drawbacks as one excessive exposure of intimacy, situations of harassment or attempts to fraud.
Given the growing evolution of the digital world, we must pay attention to the advantages and disadvantages that social networks cause to make better decisions regarding their use.
Advantages of social media
Initially created for personal use and enjoyment, social networks have ended up transforming the way we access information and communicate, paving the way for many other uses. Let’s look at some of the benefits:
1. They improve communications
Networks allow communication through text, chats, private messages and video chats. This multiplies the options for communicating, while creating new dynamics based on each resource.
For example, people who are in different parts of the planet can contact via a Facebook chat, send videos via Instagram, or make a live, real-time broadcast.
Therefore, social networks are unaware of physical barriers and facilitate unrestricted communication.
2. Variety of formats
Social media has contributed to the development of formats that a few years ago were non-existent.
Today it is possible to attend a class or follow a live event through one live from Instagram, have access to a tutorial in the form of post, stories or image gallery.
3. New forms of entertainment
Social media has become a new form of entertainment. Videos, memes, chats, video chats, gifs, live broadcasts, short videos are just some of the content we can consume.
Entertainment for all tastes and ages, without the need for many technical resources, beyond a mobile device with internet connection.
4. Get instant answers
Both on the part of companies and users, social networks allow them to express opinions, resolve doubts and provide suggestions on products or services in a direct, close and effective way.
The ability to receive a response at the time favors the communication process on both sides of the screen.
5. They help you make better decisions
Thanks to social media, there is the possibility to read recommendations about places, events, products and services of interest to users.
They are a communication channel to reflect reviews, complaints and criticisms. In this way, users can learn about the negative experiences of others and make better decisions about the place they will visit or the product they expect to consume.
6. Access to job offers
Thanks to social networks, it is possible to improve and disseminate the professional profile, expanding the possibilities of finding work online.
Networks such as LinkedIn, created exclusively for professionals, allow you to display a curriculum vitae or resume. They facilitate contact with other colleagues, allow them to generate content of interest to the community, participate in groups and, of course, apply for job offers.
7. Greater professional projection
Social media helps to generate more impact and reach in professional-type projects.
Those who want their idea or project to reach a greater number of people, can rely on social media and the resources they offer.
Today, it is very common to see specialist networks in an area offering classrooms, tips, practical tools, tutorials, conferences and other content in different formats (posts with text and images, infographics, videos, etc.).
8. Meet people with common interests
Through social media it is easier to meet people with similar interests to ours. Whether you want to share a hobby, have a romantic date or participate in a social gathering, there are many options to meet people with the same tastes and concerns.
You may also be interested in Advantages and Disadvantages of Technology.
Disadvantages of social media
1. Increases distraction
Mobile phones, tablets and personal computers are a distraction, if not used properly.
Social media can be great allies academically and professionally, but there is a risk of ending up consuming content that has nothing to do with our obligations.
2. Exclusion of disadvantaged people
Many people do not have access to digital devices due to financial difficulties.
This dynamic in which social networks become an indispensable tool in certain areas, generates the risk of excluding those who do not have enough resources to adapt to new technologies.
Many cases have been reported of people creating fake profiles, identical to existing ones, to impersonate themselves in order to get something in return, from money to sensitive information.
This practice poses a risk to the privacy of the impersonated person and that of their contacts, not knowing that they are interacting with an impostor account and may provide personal data.
4. Digital harassment
Digital harassment has become an extension of a problem that already existed in the world offline: school and professional harassment.
This practice seeks to humiliate and subject a person to public ridicule, either through insulting messages or the publication of their privacy.
Although today many platforms have tools to prevent or reduce the impact of the cyberbullying, it is a growing problem.
5. Tendency to social isolation
Due to the excessive use of social media, people spend more and more time alone, immersed in the screen and away from the people around them.
This preference for online activities (games, posts, shopping, etc.) generates an over-connection that disconnects the individual from your community.
6. They can affect mental health
Some of the disorders that excessive consumption of social networks can generate in mental health are addiction and low self-esteem.
Immediacy, the overload of stimuli and the need to be updated at all times can generate dependence. This need leads to various problems such as changes in mood, sleep disorders or anxiety.
On the other hand, social media functions as a permanent window into other people’s lives and experiences. The tendency to compare life shown in networks with real-world life can lead to feelings of frustration that directly affect self-esteem.
7. They influence the reputation of companies
Poor management of a company’s social media can affect the digital image and therefore the company’s reputation.
Networks, along with the web organization’s website, function as a cover letter to the 3.0 world. A bad customer experience in the digital realm can be transferred to an experience with the brand in the world offline.
8. Use of personal data
There is some controversy about existing privacy policies on social media, and the use companies make of their users ’data. Through permissions to access personal information a huge database is generated that is used for advertising purposes.
Each application can request different permissions, and almost all of them agree to request access to images, location, phone data, phone contact list, among others.
Facebook has been linked to the use of user data without confidentiality and without respecting privacy policies. Other companies, Facebook collaborators, also have access to this data, so users have no real control over them.
9. Computer crimes
False accounts on social media with illegitimate purposes, such as scam or theft from other users, are becoming more common.
There are multiple techniques to achieve this, such as selling products or services that do not exist (the user pays and the product never arrives).
In other cases it consists of requesting money in exchange for a product test, asking for collaboration or donations for causes that do not exist or whose identity has been cloned, etc.
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- Polit, MB, Soto, Á. D., Lozano, FM, & Penya, WQ (2021). Social networks and digital relationships, a communication that goes hand in hand. International Journal of Pedagogy and Educational Innovation, 1 (1), 123-148.
- Van Dijck, J. (2019). The culture of connectivity: a critical history of social media. 21st century publishers.