Social media- boon or bane?K Nandi
Undoubtedly, this is one of the most controversial topics which is equally loved and hated depending on the polarizing behaviour. For some, it’s a must and for few, it’s a curse. We all know what social media is and how over the years, with the internet being the catalyst, it has impacted our day to day lives. Facebook and Whatsapp have become synonymous with our everyday activities resulting into an addiction. In fact, if we take into account the number of users on Facebook, it would be considered the largest country in the world, followed by YouTube, China, Whatsapp and India.
As Erik Qualman said,” We don’t have a choice to transform digitally; the choice is how well we do it”.
Over 50% of the world’s population is under 30 years old, today’s college students have never licked a postage stamp, 53% of millennials are ready to lose their sense of smell rather than technology, 2 out of 3 people get their news from social media, soon people are going to trust Amazon more than their bank, 93% off buying decisions are influenced by social media, what happens in Vegas, stays in YouTube, by 2020, videos will account for 75% of mobile usage , globally more people own a mobile than a toothbrush, 1 in 3 marriages start online- and last longer, the fastest growing demographic on twitter is grandparents, every second two people join LinkedIn-that’s like the entire enrolment of Ivy League joining LinkedIn every day and lastly, the #1 used hashtag is #LOVE.
With all these statistics, we can for sure say that social media is a necessity and perhaps that’s the reason why it has become an important feature of our day to day life.
But all that glitters is not Gold and that holds good for social media as well. For most of us, mobile is the first thing we touch after waking up, Facebook is the place we go to and Whatsapp is where our discussion forum is. As comfort takes over human behaviour, we tend to skew towards a more tech-oriented life, not knowing that it actually is a slow poison.
It affects every stratum of the society starting from a student. On an average, a student spends 106 minutes on Facebook daily and this has resulted in a sharp drop in grades. It is also found that students, who went online for studies, scored 20% lower.
Coming to adults, especially who are young, they are often too open and public with personal information when they are online. We normally don’t tend to read privacy policies and are thus vulnerable to the same being misused by third parties. Exposure to governmental and corporate institutions where we have seen governmental bodies intercepting millions of information every year is another risk.
The biggest risk is the vulnerability to crime. Many hate groups recruit and distribute their propaganda online and this impacts the socio and cultural aspects also. Copyright infringement and unauthorized sharing of data threatens intellectual property and causes loss of income. Criminals use social media to commit crimes. Robbers know when you're away from your home on vacation and stalkers get information about your whereabouts via social media.
While the debate still remains open about the pros and cons of social media, it is up to us to filter out the solution and take the course correctly.