Information and communication technology have changed rapidly over the past two decades. With the emergence of social media, which are web based communication tools, technology has become a dominant aspect of our lives and the world as it is convenient and accessible for everyone. Social media platforms have been everywhere since the early 2000s, and they have been growing at an exponential rate since then. According to recent studies, around 40% of the world’s population uses online social media for it being a facile method of interacting, exchanging information and ideas, in addition to having the ability to bring people together from various countries around the globe. Social media can be very influential and beneficial. The use of social media and its influence on us shapes the way we approach business, education, careers, politics, and more. On the other hand, it has long-term and significant consequences and side effects on mental health if it is used excessively.
The History of Social Media
In 1792, the telegraph was invented. This allowed messages to be delivered over a long distance far faster than a horse and rider could carry them. Although telegraph messages were short, they were a revolutionary way to convey news and information. The pneumatic post was developed in 1865, creating another way for letters to be delivered quickly between recipients. The pneumatic post utilizes underground pressurized air tubes to carry capsules from one area to another. Two important discoveries happened in the last decade of the 1800s: The telephone in 1890 and the radio in 1891. Both technologies are still in use today. Telephone lines and radio signals enabled people to communicate across great distances, something that mankind had never experienced before.
Marketing through Social Media
In the past few years, social media has grown from being a medium where people socialize to one of the most powerful avenues for marketing and promoting businesses. Social media marketing describes any marketing effort which is carried out via social media platforms; LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. The sharp rise in social media marketing is occasioned by the tremendous advantages that this marketing offers. More and more businesses are including social media marketing as part of their advertising plan, because consumers habitually log it daily. While those that already have a social media marketing campaign are doubling their profits, 52% of social media marketers believe that social media positively influences their company’s revenue and sales.
The assets and liabilities of social media marketing
There are two sides of everything, including social media marketing. Social media marketing will only prove successful if done properly and effectively.
Low cost is one of the key advantages of social media marketing over traditional marketing and even other forms of digital marketing. It is free to join all the major social media platforms and it is equally free to begin interacting with potential customers at a basic level.
A big audience is another major advantage of social media marketing. Promoting your mobile app, business, or product offers you the chance of reaching millions of people disregarding all the demographic barriers like age and social status etc.
Social media marketing is your fastest choice to reach an audience with news or another form of information. It can be relied upon for fast action and results. When you publish on a social media platform it is immediately visible to your audience all across the world.
One of the biggest liabilities of social media marketing is that it is time consuming. For effective marketing you need to spend as much time as possible online refreshing your page with content suitable enough to keep your audience engaged and interested.
Also, you cannot target all groups of people with your social media marketing efforts. This is because different groups of people use social media differently. For example, Facebook is mostly used by elderly people while Instagram is used by teenagers.
Positive impacts of Social Media
Gratuitous access to different cultures:
Social apps are playing a wider role in terms of connecting people. It gives a platform to those who can’t travel and find it inconvenient to move out to meet people. It is also the cheapest way to be connected with everyone anytime we want to. Social apps give us affordable packages that can be used to make video calls, send text messages and pictures.
Educational Purpose and Useful Information
We find it quite easy and quick to find answers to different questions that come up in education. It does not matter whatever field we are looking into. Students are using the advantages of social media in order to take help. Some explore new ideas, some find information and some find new strategies for improvement in their work. Social media can be as beneficial for the teachers to learn new techniques to teach students with different approaches.
Voice of Weaker People: Social media can raise a powerful voice for the weaker citizens of the world. No injustice can be hidden from social media. People raise their voices and bring mishaps to social media. People talk and criticize and demand justice from the government through social media platforms.
Used for Noble Causes (Including NGOs, Charity Organizations):
Social media is a source for promoting donations and charities. Social media for NGOs offers a great chance to present their work to the outside world and to get into contact with their supporters and other people interested in their work.
Negative Impact of Social Media
The negative effects of social media are both physical and mental. They can change your perception of the world and yourself.
Lack Of Face To Face Communication
It is quite ironic that the lack of face to face communication is a negative quality of the Internet as it is supposed to bring people closer. However, the fact is that somehow many people find it easier to communicate through the Internet instead of the traditional way.
Depression and Anxiety
Spending too long on social networking sites could be adversely affecting your mood. In fact, chronic users are more likely to report poor mental health, including symptoms of anxiety and depression. It doesn’t take much thinking to figure out why. Social media lets you see the carefully selected best parts of everyone else’s lives, which you compare to the negatives in your own life. Comparing yourself to other people is a sure path to anxiety, and social media has only made this easier
This disadvantage can be considered as one of the cruellest effects of the Internet. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing them embarrassment or humiliation. These online attacks often leave deep mental scars and even drive people to suicide in some cases. And as it turns out, cyberbullying doesn’t just affect kids. Adults can become victims of online abuse, too
Social media can be more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol. For some people not being able to check their social media platforms makes them feel anxious and nervous. Therapists often refer to this behavior as social media anxiety disorder.
In conclusion, social media platforms were created to facilitate the human’s need for information and communication. A lot of people are verging towards social media marketing that will soon become a necessity rather than an option to be successful in business. Though we should keep in mind that social media is a double-edged sword. We have to use it with sagacity and prudence so we can benefit from it in our daily life.