The Implications of Social Media in the Contemporary Times

The word “Media” is simply the plural form of “medium”. Media are channels of communication such as radio, television, internet, newspaper, magazines, billboard among others. These are called mass media because of their ability to reach a heterogeneous audience spread across different locations at the same time. Mass media is the reflection of a society. It serves as custodian and keeper of a particular record of what had happened in the past and in the present. It entertains and helps the audience escape from the drudgery and vicissitude of day-to-day living.

Categorically, the media are divided into print and electronic. The print media include: newspapers, magazines, billboards and all printed matter, designed for the purpose of sharing information, whereas the electronic media include: radio, television and social media.

Social media can be defined as the use of technology to facilitate the creation and dissemination of information via virtual communities and networks. A fusion of sociology and technology of this nature makes the world a global trend where information access is easier and faster. Some of the social media sites are Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, youTube, Snapchat, LinkedIn, to mention a few.

Prior to the contemporary age, social media first existed as an invention created in 1975 known as email, which is still used today. It advanced into using a profile to give information about a user and his/her interests and has integrated the use of email. Now, it involves the use of app, sharing music, photos, stories, as well as messaging to communicate with others.

In the contemporary times, social media is considered to be the most prevalent activity that has won the heart of old and young minds in exploring phenomenons, discoveries and ideologies around. Users of social media networks stay updated and connected as they consume first-hand information after waking up and before sleeping. As social media rose in this prominence, they powerfully disrupted the business models for most newspapers, magazines, broadcasters and other traditional media and hastened the failure or transformation of many of them.

Out of the series of available social media platforms, Facebook is the widely used sure in different countries. Almost a quarter of the world’s population is now on Facebook, sharing and exchanging information, expressing views on social issues without actually engaging actively in real life, establishing network of inter-relationships, advertising business ideas, among others. However, this positive impact cannot be overemphasized as it has reached the utility maximization of the people.

On the other hand, the Implication of social media is that it reduces the amount of face to face socialisation and replaced it with online interaction which is believed to result in low quality relationships with other people. Young people today shy away from public speaking because they lack confidence to stand out to face the crowd or related the information they intend to share. This leads to a decrease in social skills and bad speech mannerisms in individuals.

Social media encourages the spread of wrong information and news that aims at tainting other people’s names, personalities or other group of interest such as political or religious groups. This in turn leads to fights and enmity between the concerned parties and can further lead to divisions amongst tribes or people from different ethnicities and tribes.

The issue of low self esteem is another. Social media on a daily basis gives value to specific individuals (celebrities, slay queens, fashion freaks, etc) as they post expensive cars, clothes, houses, properties, etc, thus making most online users feel inferior. As a result of this, many people take unhealthy roues just to appear attractive, rich or to correct the impression of what life throws at them. Nevertheless, it is important to first if all be contented with what you have and what you want to achieve. Surround yourself with people who love you for who you are and do not stress about what social media has to showcase.

Cyberstalking is another major implication of social media. Many people are so obsessed about social media in such that they cannot achieve a day task without sharing locations online for their friends to know where they are. Young people nowadays are used to updating their status, share what they are watching, listening to, reading and where they check-ins. This habit becomes an addiction and makes them hyperactive because they always look for new updates from friends. They check every notification and alert to respond because they believe responding on time is necessary. Also, young people find new friends on social media and never take rest . Connections as this can produce anxiety and cause depression as some of them will feel lonely when their virtual friend is not online or respond on time.

Furthermore, a false sense of security leaves social media site users vulnerable to security attacks such as hacking, sending viruses and leaking sensitive information. Most information that is hurtful and is not for the public consumption is usually shared in social media, resulting to an inevitable mayhem that destroys relationships and reputation. It is also said that social sites endanger children by allowing pedophiles to seek out children into sexual acts such as lesbianism and other general sexual misconducts. In this case, teenagers are exposed to pornographic content being spread in some of the social groups online.

Accordinf to Thomas (2004) in his book ‘Cell phone health effects: busy signals think twice before you place that call’ , posits that social media increases cell phone usage and the problem is that the cel phones have been found to emit electromagnetic radiation that is absorbed by the brain and body. This absorption disrupts the brain sites for memory and learning and can cause confusion and forgetfulness. Some years back, it was ascribed that cell phones can cause cancer from the electromagnetic exposure of other part of the body, although research have not proven to determine the actual health risk of the cell phones but as the saying goes “prevention is better than cure”, as such one must be cautious to avoid ‘had I know’ statements. In addition, frequent cell phone usage exhausted our time as many have developed the habit of checking their social media accounts multiple times during the day, even while they are at work. Time spent on personal accounts is time that is not spent on work tasks. Even when one spends just few seconds on social media, it can take several minutes to refocus on the task that was at hand.

Social Media makes it difficult to sleep when it is time to do so. This mostly affects students today as their minds are compelled to check just once more. Before they realize, it is 2am and they have to get up in 4hours for school. During class hours, their minds get distracted with thoughts from the Social Media as it has already program their minds on what to think about and how to perceive things. This potentially yields poor attention span and feedback, and the more they get involved with social media, the poorer they perform in academics.

Finally, uncontrolled social media usage among young people can lead to internet addiction. The more time they spend on social media, the more they become exposed to new stories and ideas they want to explore. This habit eventually turns into addiction and if not handled early can affect their school performance, mental health, and even personal development. In addition to mental health, suicide and self harm could be attributed, in that when young people see someone getting attention by doing self harm activity online, they imitate without second thought. To them, this is bravery, the situations worsens day after day when they start sharing suicide methods and encourage others to engage in suicidal behavior.

Conclusively, social media has been proved to have both positive and negative effect in our contemporary generation. As such, it is pertinent for people to be guided on the above implications. Parents also must use this as a compass to advise their children and must warn them if the negative effects of social media when misused or overused. This will go a long way to safe them from adverse danger.

Queen Lucky.

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