The way we connect, do business, get our daily news fixed and so much more has changed in social media. Yet is it what it really actually supposed to be? That depends on who you are referring to, and how you use it. A website such as Facebook could be an opportunistic launch pad for a new business owner, or it could be an unwelcome source of toxic peer pressure for a young teenager. All in life has pros and cons — and that includes our social media habits.

Advantage of Social Media

Social media does have a lot of upsides. The pros of social media/networking overlap the students’ life, that is, there are innumerable benefits of social media for students as well. When you want to search out your favorite social networks, ask yourself if you can take further advantage of the following.

Link with Others around the World

One of the clearest benefits of using social networks is the opportunity to meet people from anywhere immediately. Use Facebook to keep in touch with your old friends from high school who have moved around the country, launch a Google Duo chat with relatives who live halfway around the world, or meet brand new people from cities or regions you have never dreamed of before on Twitter.

Easy and Prompt Communication

Now that we are connected everywhere we go, we do not have to rely on our landlines to contact others, answer machines or snail mail. We can easily open our laptops or pick up our smartphones and instantly start interacting with others on sites such as Twitter or one of the many available social messaging apps.

Concurrent News and Info Discovery

The days of waiting for the six of the clock news to come on TV or the delivery boy to carry the newspaper in the morning are gone. If you want to see what is happening in the world, you just need to hop on social media. An additional advantage is that you can tailor your discovery experiences in news and knowledge by deciding to follow exactly what you want.

Significant Market Prospects

Business owners and other forms of professional organizations, use social media, can communicate with existing clients, sell their goods and extend their scope. There are literally plenty of companies and entrepreneurs out there who survive almost entirely on social networks and would not even be able to function without them.

General Enjoyment and Pleasure

You have to understand that sometimes social networking is just plain fun. When they catch a break at work, or just want to relax at home, many people turn to it. Since people are of course social beings, it is always very rewarding to see feedback and likes appear on our own posts, and it is nice to be able to see exactly what our friends are up to without having to ask them explicitly.

Disadvantage of Social Media

It is no secret that social networking also has a dark side. You might want to ask yourself how you can minimize as much and as often as possible the following disadvantages of social networking.

If social media is your primary source of news and other information, you may end up in a filter bubble when you are disconnected from new ideas and interacting with people from different perspectives. If you have managed to remain in a bubble of negative disinformation, relationships can be harmed, and even dangerous.

Information Burden

For so many people tweeting links on social media now, and uploading selfies and sharing videos on YouTube, it can sure be very noisy. It is not all that rare to get distracted by too many Facebook contacts to keep up with, or too many Instagram images to search. We continue to pile up a lot of friends and followers over time and this can lead to tons of crowded news feeds with too much information we are not all that involved in.

Confidentiality Issues

So much is being posted online these days that privacy issues are becoming an increasingly big concern. Whether it is a matter of social media keeping the content after it is uploaded, being a target after posting the geographic location online, or even getting into trouble at work when tweeting anything inappropriate — revealing too much with the public can open up all sorts of problems that often cannot ever be reversed.

Cyber Bullying and Social Peer Pressure

For people struggling to fit in with their peers — especially teenagers and young adults — the pressure to do certain things or to behave in a certain way can be much worse on social media than it is in school or any other offline environment. The constant pressure to fit in with others posting on social media or being the victim of a cyberbullying attack can lead to severe stress, anxiety and even depression in some extreme cases.

Growing Feelings of Social Isolation

Because people are now linked all the time and with a click of your mouse or a tap on your mobile you can bring up a friend’s social profile, using online contact as a replacement for face-to-face contact is much easier. Many may claim that social media directly encourages human activity which is antisocial.

Distraction and Dispersion

How much do you see someone looking at their phone? People get distracted by all the social media and news and messages they get, leading to all sorts of issues such as distracted driving or the lack of having full attention during a conversation with others. Social media surfing can also feed on procrastination behaviors and become something that people turn to in order to escape other activities or obligations.

Disturbance in Sleep and Lifestyle Habits

Finally, because social networking is all done on some kind of machine or mobile device, it can often spur too much sitting in one position for too long. Likewise, the ability to get a good night’s sleep can be adversely impacted by looking into the bright light from a monitor or phone screen.

Keep on using social media for all the positive points discussed in this post, but be careful not to fall prey to the dark side of an interaction online.

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