Through the rapid growth of technology and society’s adaptation to it in everyday life, Social Media has become one of the most commonly used operations in the Twenty-First Century. The introduction to Social Media has introduced many benefits to all users of technology including the ability to quickly contact people globally, find information on news and current affairs, receive feedback and educated opinions on material posted online and other newly introduced benefits.
25 students attending Canberra College between the ages of 16-18 completed a survey focusing on their use of social media and the results are as follows:
The results show the major applications used amongst these students include Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat and are used mainly between 1 – 6 hours daily. Out of the 25 students, 12 stated ‘Social Media is a Positive influence on Society’ and their main productivity online is becoming updated on people’s activities, messaging friends and family and also pure boredom. Although 23 students have witnessed or have been cyber bullied, 100% of these users continue to use Social Media every day. Cyber bullying is a severe issue, however, even knowing the possibility to being cyber bullied or witnessing it still 92% of teenagers go online every day, with an additional 24% of teens who report being online ‘almost constantly’, according to the Paw Research Centre, (Paw: 2015).
Communicating has never been easier thanks to technology. By clicking a few buttons, a message can be sent within seconds to the other side of the world. The world has been opened up for users and making friends online is now a virtual experience. Through chatting to friends online, we’re able to experience a practical conversation in the comfort of our own home. Reaching out to online friends also opens a variety of opportunities for discussion such as common interests.
Sharing original work online such as photographs, music or art on to cites such as YouTube opens opportunities for the public to showcase their talent for online viewers. By posting original work online, viewers are able to critique, enjoy and comment on the post to connect with the blogger. This majorly benefits the poster as they can receive feedback of what the public is interested in and could further lead to job opportunities. For many celebrities, this is how they started their career, such as Justin Bieber who used to post singing video’s online from home, and now is touring the world and has a net worth of over 200 million dollars.
For Business’, Social Media creates a wonderful opportunity to advertise their products and services. By being able to access this utility, companies are able to reach out to a wide population of audiences. By focusing on a certain audience online, Social Media has the potential to attract a target audience beneficially for the company as it costs less to advertise.
Global news can be accessed online immediately after happening which advantages the online audience as they become aware of possible dangers when travelling and are able to contact friends and family if they’re in the affected area mentioned in the news by using other forms of Social Media. Social Issues publicised online can also administer the attention of the online audience. The ability for people to act on issues online has greatly impacted the way social matters are handled. As newspapers, may be considered outdated, young people are more influenced by news when it is presented online and are offered chances to decide on subjects by signing petitions or voting online.
According to studies performed by Common Sense Media, “In the survey of more than 1,000 13- to 17-year-olds about how they view their digital lives, 28% said social networking made them feel more outgoing versus 5% who said it made them feel less so; and 29% said it made them feel less shy versus the 3% who said it made them feel more introverted”, (Kelly Wallace, 2016). By building confidence online, people are able to shape a higher self-esteem to then shift into reality when faced with real experiences. One in five teens also claimed they felt more confident since the start of their use of Social Media which can lead to the bettering of friendships due to more self-confidence. 52% of teens also stated “relationships with friends, more than half (52%) of teens said social media has made them better versus just 4% who said it has negatively affected those relationships.” (Kelly Wallace, 2016). Connecting with like-minded people online has the ability to format a strong friendship based on mutual liked on Social Media, as well as connecting with long-lost friends by using applications such as Facebook.
The adaptation of Social Media and technology in the Twenty-First Century has provided many positive benefits for all users and has advantaged society in many ways, and the continuation of expanding the use and productivity will only benefit society and the generations growing up with the major use of technology.