The popularity of sites such as Facebook and Twitter these days means that people are spending less time outside and becoming more attached to their smartphones. While it’s easy to assume that people are just communicating with friends online rather than just meeting up with them in person, that is not always the case with social media. Yes, it has become easier for us to get in touch with others living in a different continent or hours away from us, but social media sites have also proven useful over the years.
Take LinkedIn for example. It’s a great networking for professionals to talk about and share their expertise. LinkedIn is also an avenue to connect with other professionals in the same industry and learn about their insights into topics that matter. An even better use for LinkedIn is as a recruiting tool.
While Facebook and Twitter may get a bad rap, they are actually great outlets not just for marketing but for breaking the news as well, particularly Twitter. Word can spread around fast enough with news and other stories posted online. There’s even lots of goodwill achieved through social media that can be read about all over the net.
But with all the good that comes with social networking, so is the bad. That said, let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of social networking:
List of Advantages of Social Networking
1. It brings us closer to loved ones who are far away.
Social media is free – and not having to pay for it is good. Whether you desperately want to hear from a good friend who is far away or a family member who lives in a different city, simply logging online and starting a chat on Facebook is the thing to do these days.
With social media, particularly Facebook, people can check what their friends and family have been up to and it’s quite convenient. No longer do you have to send pictures through snail mail – everything can now be accessed online.
2. It allows brands to promote products and services.
A lot of brands are now using the power of social media to spread the word about their products and services. Some have even mastered delivering a message in 140 characters or less on Twitter.
Social media is also seen as a platform where brands can get closer to their audience. It is through sites such as Twitter and Facebook that brands know what their target audience want and need. Plus, the ability of customers to directly contact brands on social media sites helps in evaluating products and services and making necessary changes for better customer service.
3. It provides job opportunities.
As mentioned earlier, LinkedIn can be a great recruitment tool as long as a profile is properly polished with the right descriptions and filled with the proper expertise. But it’s not just LinkedIn where potential future employers can look – they can also tap into Facebook and Twitter for that.
4. It is great for spreading and doing good.
Whether it be adopting a dog or donating to help victims of a natural disaster, social media will always be a good platform for getting that message heard. It’s very easy to retweet and share a message that it has the power to help those in need.
5. It is a platform to meet future dates.
There are several social networking sites catered to the dating scene. With more and more people preferring to spend time online, what better place to know someone without having to ask every single detail that would make you click?
Depending on what information they choose to share, you can get their details without even asking. Some might opt to display the books they’ve read, the music they listen to, the movies they love or their interests in general. Through what you read online, you can form a bond with them if you share the same interests.
6. It allows you to research on certain topics.
While social media is mostly for communication, it can also be an educational platform. For instance, if you’re interested in science, you can create a list on Twitter adding all the accounts that tweet about scientific fact, news and information. You can check on this each day and learn new things about your favorite subject.
Also, Twitter has hashtags and a search function you can use to enter keywords pertaining to the topic you want to learn about. From there, you can read multiple tweets that will help you gain understand better.
List of Disadvantages of Social Networking
1. It can glue you to your device or computer for hours.
One simple like on BuzzFeed’s latest post about cats on Facebook can send you down a rabbit hole. The same thing goes with stalking your crush on Facebook or looking through all the pictures your friend has posted when they took a vacation abroad.
2. It puts your life in the public eye.
Facebook does have privacy settings but screenshots are a powerful tool as well. Nowadays, lazy comments and sudden bursts of anger can be fodder for ridicule. So as much as you’d like to share your problems with the world, those thoughts can be used for something much worse. As they say, nothing is ever safe on the internet.
3. It is an avenue for bullying.
You know that horrible people exist in real life, but you never know just how many other disgusting individuals are in the world until you get on social media. While men are also targets for insults, most of the time, women get harassed a lot online. Just look at the Gamergate controversy and be prepared to witness just how sick some people are.
Ideas can also easily be lambasted online, especially if you’re commenting on a trending issue or a live event. A simple look at a hashtag on Twitter will give you access to tweets you’d rather not see – they can be filthy and downright rude. While some ideas are not meant to be shared online or need to be thought of really carefully before hitting a button, the bottom line is that a lot of people exist on social media solely for the purpose of bullying other people.
4. It puts you in touch with people who are not really who they say they are.
Because profiles are so easy to fake, you could be arranging a date with someone who is underage even if their profile says they are 18. Also, some love creating accounts just for the fun of it – you may be chatting with an avatar of a really hot woman but it could easily be someone looking to shame someone online.
Natalie Regoli, Esq. is the author of this post and the editor-in-chief of our blog. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and her Masters in Law from The University of Texas School of Law. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Natalie has almost two decades of experience as a lawyer and banker. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.