The Greatest Tool of the 21st Century

 

The number, types and platforms of social media are ever increasing with new ones being created every day. Our lives are becoming more and more dependent on social media with just about every part of our lives affected from shopping for clothes, groceries and movie tickets to talking to one another, organising events and sharing photos. There are so many platforms to share our thoughts, feelings and images with your loved through things like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, this has become the norm, especially for teenagers as it is all they have known. This is made even more accessible by the fact that much of this is free and accessible to all ages.

Social media means that sporting fans are able to connect with their favourite sports stars quickly, easily and for free. Fans are able to send a tweet to their favourite sporting star and receive a reply within minutes even if the sporting star is in another country. This is a lot more convenient and easy than sending a letter and waiting weeks if not months for a response. A tweet from a celebrity may not be the same as a personal greeting and handshake but it is a lot better than nothing. It is a lot easier for charities to get their names out there and organise events as well as easily receive endorsements from celebrities. I was on Instagram and saw Katy Perry make a post about an abortion charity in America and within only 2 hours of her posting it had received over 300,000 likes (Chen, J 2016). That’s 300,000 people who had thought acknowledged that charity which may have resulted in many making a donation. Because of social media charities are able to expand their potential contributors and with a simple “like” can help without even donating.

Social media also means that everyday people such as myself are able to communicate and share their ideas and opinions with a wider audience. I am able to share my opinion about social media, the benefits and the negatives for free. It also means that you are able to make a quick search and find answers on anything quickly and easily. There are blogs about anything and everything online. With the rise in social media many people have been able to make a career and living out of it. Many Youtubers are able to live off the money they make from filming, editing and posting videos online. There are youtubers with 10 million plus subscribers and millions of views, likes and comments per video. Even if you are not a Youtube sensation with millions of followers social media allows people to look for a job and promote themselves easily. There are multiple website dedicated to finding jobs most of which are accessible for free. People who are trying to make it in the modelling or acting world are able to create an online profile which clothing, film and modelling companies can look at and easily contact them through. This is a lot easier than have to buy expensive headshots and take them to a company. Justin Bieber the singing sensation actually started on social media he owes all his fame and 200 million dollars to Youtube, by posting videos of him singing he was recognised by Usher another singer who flew him to America and started his singing career (James, C 2015).

However as useful a tool that social media is there are dangers. People can become very unstuck when it comes to social media. Once someone posts and shares something it is out there, even if you delete it. Everyone can see your angry rants, unfortunate photos, photos you did not intend to share, including future employers, loved ones and even the police. I have seen post of people saying how fun their day was on Facebook right after they tell their boss they are sick and cannot make it into work, forgetting that they are friends on Facebook with their work colleagues. They are then surprised when their boss sees the post and sacks them.

People my age only know life with computers, mobile devices and social media. These tools are rarely further than a meter away from our hands at any given time. If we are without our phones for more than a couple hours people can find themselves feeling stressed and anxious. This is becoming a very unhealthy habit and will become more of an issue as time goes on. Children as young as 2 years are able to turn on, unlock and operate a phone before they were able to walk. We have lost the ability to communicate with our friends and family face to face or without our devices. Even though it is called social media we are all becoming more unsocial by using it.

A big issue that has come with social media is cyberbullying, it is almost impossible to escape bullying when it can happen to you at school, work and home. There are so many differents way to cyberbully beyond the standard direct message, people are able to hack accounts and send damaging messages, post embarrassing photos for the whole world to see as well as multiple others. It is recorded that more than 30% of young people have been cyberbullied in one way or another at some point in their life, and over 50% of those people do not tell their parents they are being bullied resulting in many having suicidal thoughts.

There is a new currency with the rise in social media ‘the like’ people value their self-worth depending on the amount of likes they get on their posts and photos. How popular you are and cool you are is all dependent on the amount of likes you get. Getting a lot of likes makes you feel confident and as if that like means they actually like you. I am the same, I admit it if a photo I post does not get many likes it will affect me in a negative way and I may even delete the photo. It is sad but it’s the truth the simple click of a button can make or break someone’s confidence.

I believe that over all the benefits that come with the increase in social media and technology outweighs the risk that come with it. As long as everyone thinks before they post and are careful about who they talk to social media is a very useful tool. Having the ability to talk to anyone anywhere in the world is such a crazy thing that our parents wouldn’t of even be able to imagine.

References

Bullying Statistics. (n.d.). Cyber Bullying Statistics. [online] Available at: http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/cyber-bullying-statistics.html [Accessed 16 Nov. 2016].

Chen, J. (2016). Katy Perry Donates $10,000 to Planned Parenthood. [online] Us Weekly. Available at: http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/katy-perry-donates-10000-to-planned-parenthood-w450139 [Accessed 16 Nov. 2016].

James, C. (2015). 15 People Who Became Rich And Famous Thanks To Social Media. [online] TheTalko. Available at: http://www.thetalko.com/15-people-who-became-rich-and-famous-thanks-to-social-media/ [Accessed 16 Nov. 2016].

McMahon, D. (2015). Does social media kill communication skills?. [online] Des Moines Register. Available at: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/abetteriowa/2015/09/30/does-social-media-kill-communication-skills/73067760/ [Accessed 16 Nov. 2016].

 

 

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