No benefit comes without drawback; no decision comes without its own opportunity costs, and no good came arrive without its evil counterpart. Nothing in this world can be claimed to be perfectly good or perfectly evil, unless, of course, such thing is of divine matter. So it follows that it is better to ask a question that compares the net benefit and drawback rather than asking if something is good or evil. With this in mind, we can now discuss the net benefit and negative impact of the advent of social media to help us conclude whether or not it beneficial overall.

Social Media and Its Impact

Social media is a relatively new phenomenon that has, in many ways, changed the world. Social media is a service that allows groups of people to interact remotely through text, photo, audio, and video communications. Most social media, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+ are large publishing services that are on the internet (though private, intranet based, social media can also exist). This technology, a technology only a few years old, has proven to cause one of the greatest changes in the world in a short period of time. It made remote, long distance, communication as easy as face-to-face communication. It allowed people to easily share things of interests, like photos, with selected friends or the entire world instantly, regardless of place and time. Furthermore, it helped shape awareness, spread ideas, instantly broadcasted news, and cause revolutions. Essentially, social media drastically changed the way we communicate. And now, we begin to question the positive and negative impacts on our personal and professional life, self-development, and on the world as a whole that revolve around such change.

Eliminating Distance and Time in Communication

Any revolution can be traced back to an individual. The individual feel the need or want for a change. Social media brings upon this need or want to the individual. It all starts with the advantages that social media brings by helping us overcome the limitations we have with how we communicate. It solves both the issue of time and distance. With social media, we no longer need to wait for another person to be free before communicating. We can leave a quick message or note and the other person can get back to it in his/her own time. This is not the case with telephones and definitely not for face-to-face talk. Of course, letters solve the problem of matching free time to converse, but it brings upon the problem of distance. Long distance means letters are infrequent, costly, and are slow. Social media solves the issue of both time and distance. It brings the ability for one to instantly share an idea, media, or an object of interest to another person or a mass group of people.

Being able to interact, communicate, and share in mass is another great advantages brought forth by social media. Until recently, the number of people we could communicate with was very limited. The innovation in telecommunication was a huge step forward, but it, too was limited. Telephones were used for person-to-person communication and televisions, while designed with mass communication in mind, allowed only for one way communication with little interaction. Social media finally bridges this gap, covering great limitations humanity suffered in communication. However, this mass communication isn’t only fulfilling personal interactions, but professional ones as well.

Social Media fro Business and Marketting

Business love social media like twitter, and with good reason. Social media has become a way to business to announce press releases, share things, and easily interact directly with their customers. The ability for customers to easily comment their feedback, criticisms, loyalty has become a great asset for business. Many business are now using Twitter for customer support, which allows for quick assistance for customers with small wait times. In the professional world, social media has become a lifesaving tool in project collaboration and teamwork. Social media has greatly increased our communication capability and the number of ways to communicate. This, however, leads to the problem that is one of the greatest criticisms of social media.

How Many Fruits to Compare?

When we have only mangos and apples to choose from, in a perfect world, half of the people will choose mangoes. However, if we now have apples, oranges, mangos, and cake, in a perfect world only one quarter of the people will choose mangoes. The number gets smaller the more options we include. As such, when humanity had only bodily gestures and voice for communication, almost 100 percent of the people used face-to-face communication. With the invention of writing, the options increased, and no longer did 100 percent of the popular used one method of communication all the time. Today, the options for communication are many, from television, to video chat, to text messages, to photo sharing, to podcasts, and the list goes on. With more ways to communicate, people are spending less and less time to communicate with one particular method.

This causes for some problems to arise. I believe one of the biggest criticisms to social media is the significantly reduced amount of dedicated face-to-face communication. This can be a problem, as this form of communication is important for our life and career. It also plays an important part of developing relationships and bonding with people that matter. A common complaint of social media I hear is “I can’t believe he had to check his twitter app every two minutes while we were at our date last night!” The fact that people seem to put less priority in face-to-face communication brings about some concerns of how this might affect humanity in the long run.

Other concerns include privacy and identity theft. However, this is, I believe, a less of a concern.  I say this because many very useful and essential tools can be dangerous. Cars are death machines! Accidents can and have killed people. Knife, while handy, is not a child’s toy. Social media is also a tool, and as with other tools, it comes with a risk. But like any risk, it can be minimized by being careful. One should take the responsibility to find out what privacy they have, if any. Also, a general rule of thumb when sharing online is “nothing is private”. If we keep this, simple, thought in mind, we don’t have to worry much about our posts being public.

I like to say that the one and only cause of death is birth; that is, those of who aren’t born will never die. That is not to say that life is not sweet, quite the contrary actually. The presence of a negative impact or effect doesn’t make a tool negative or evil if the good it brings far outweighs the bad. Social media is a great example of this. On the contrary, alcohol, although has some health benefits, is bad for heath. Social media is not alcohol; it is as sweet as cake, and that, my friend, is definitely not a lie!