Social media have been around for some time now. Over the years I’ve used quite a few of them. Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit… Now I started noticing a few things.
Disclaimer: Know that this is a personal view and experience for the use of social media. This means it’s not your opinion.
When Facebook went live and heard about it from friends, I immediately went home and made an account. I went online and saw a whole new universe unfold before my very eyes. At start I genuinely thought it would change the world. And it did.
I saw the endless possibilities. Sharing ideas, views on topics (like science, politics etc.) and sharing knowledge. There where literally no constraints of who you could talk to or connect to. I was siked to the bones.
Fast forward a couple of years. Facebook is used to make negative comments from your couch, post photos and videos about cat’s and dogs, pictures of the various meals you eat throughout the day, share videos on a crazy night out and check in at a local restaurant. Maybe even show off those sunny vacations pictures to stab out the eyes of friends and perhaps even family.
Don’t get me wrong here. I do like to share certain events in my life with family or friends. It does keep us connected and updated. It shows us the rest of the world and what’s happening far away from our own doorstep. However, what’s up people that post their breakfast, lunch and dinner?
So, what are the pro’s and con’s about social media?
The limitless connectivity
Well, basically limitless connectivity. Take Facebook for example. There are almost 2.5 billion Facebook accounts. There are about 7.8 billion people in the world. This means that 32.05% of the world population uses Facebook as a social media platform. You have to admit, that’s a huge connectivity on one platform.
Keep up with current tech
This may seem like an obvious one. However, I have the impression that many amongst us like the idea more of keeping up with celebrity’s instead of technology that has the possibility to change the world.
Positive effect on happiness
This one depends strongly on the platform itself. For example, Instagram has a more negative effect on happiness then Facebook. On the contrary, YouTube has more of a positive effect on happiness.
Ease of access to new information
There are many groups or channels where one can get new information for free or even for a small price. Think about YouTube for a second. There are many people sharing information about various topics. You can easily learn a new skill, free of charge.
Yes, this is a thing. It’s really, really easy to make an account on every social media platform and make harmful comments on whatever person posts or shares. Since it’s easy to make a profile, it’s easy to hide one’s identity. With this in mind, it’s easy to escape the consequences of one’s actions on that platform.
Negative effect on happiness
See above, in the section of “pro’s”.
If you are on Facebook, you know you can fill in your address, phone and many other pieces of information. It’s easy to overlook the fact that you should hide this information from people who are not your friends. Or even better, not to fill in this information at all. This kind of information is something you should only share with friends.
I think we all know this one. You’re working and suddenly, “ding!”. Since I’m quite a curious person by nature, I almost immediately check the alert my phone gives me. These kinds of alerts almost immediately hijack your attention from your task.
These kinds of alerts make us look at other posts on our social media. So, this 10 second message turned into a five minutes distraction.
Shortened attention span
This one won’t be something you’ll notice immediately. Think about the things you can focus on and how long you can actually focus on them. If your attention span lasts longer then five minutes, congratz! Otherwise, turn off all social media alerts on your phone, tablets and other. After a while, you’ll notice you can focus longer and harder on tasks that actually need your attention.
Social media is a tool that can bring information, connection and perhaps even enlightenment. However, we need to be warry. We have to separate the positive parts of social media and use it to our advantage.