The world today is based around social media. We email rather than talk. We text rather than call and so on. The world is surrounded by websites that are used to promote a person or product. Has social media removed the personal from personal life? Has social media removed basic skills from children? Has social media encouraged a world of keyboard warriors who remain anonymous as they use words as weapons?
The world is changing and whether we like it or not, social media is part of it. If I said how many social media platforms are there in the world, what would you say? Come on lets hear your answers! I can imagine you sitting there at your iPad, phone or whatever device you’re working on and I bet you’re trying to figure it out. Lets name a few together. Here we go then.
- Facebook – 2.23 billion users.
- Twitter – 3.35 million users.
- Instagram – 1 billion users.
- TikTok – 500 million users.
- SnapChat – 2.55 million users.
- WeChat – 1.06 billion users.
- YouTube – 1.9 billion users.
- WhatsApp – 1.5 billion users.
- LinkedIn – 2.94 million users.
- Pinterest – 250 million users.
Using social media
Of course one person can have many forms of media to their name. One person may use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and LinkedIn. Another may use Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Someone else will use a different combination of media. You see what I mean.
Peoples view on social media
Of course we can ask how and also does it benefit us? Different generations will have different answers to this question.
- A gentleman in his 70s said “its like virtue signalling, everyone is look at me, look at me. All they seem to want is to be liked by everyone”.
- A woman in her 70s said “it lets me, FaceTime is it? My relatives overseas and that’s good”.
- A woman in her 40s said “social media keeps me in touch with family overseas but saying that, I’m finding that I’m not on it as much now”.
- A woman in her 30s who has over 500 friends on facebook said “I like it”.
My social media usage
Ill look at social media from my personal point of view. I`ll explain what platforms I use and why I use them.
FACEBOOK – I am on Facebook like every second person but I am that person that communicates with family overseas using it. I post photos for family overseas so they can see what I have been doing, where I have been going. If I see something that a family member may be interested in, Ill send it to them. If I could have messenger without Facebook, I would do that in a heartbeat.
INSTAGRAM – I find this better than facebook. Instagram allows me increasing contact with places that I may visit such as cafes, hotels and tourist spots. Instagram has given me a massive boost in contacting other authors and book reviewers which has enabled me to communicate and learn from them.
LINKEDIN – A professional network that has supplied many contacts for me in my new role as poet and author. I use LinkedIn to make contacts that I can utilise. If I have an editing, publishing, illustration question I know I can approach the relevant contact for guidance and advice.
TWITTER – I use this to keep up with whats going on in the world and whats trending but I will be honest, sometimes it is just pure entertainment value!
WHATSAPP – I WhatsApp with 2 family members. That simple!
GOODREADS – Ive started to build up my author page and contacts on there. It will take sometime but we all have to start at the bottom!
My social media is primarily used as a link to madhatterpress. The website on which you are reading this article. I use my social media to post links to my work, it seems to deviate more to that nowadays than social media chit, chat. I do get involved in social media debate however if something interests me.
Criticisms of social media
So, if I were to ask the question…”what are the things that frustrate you of social media?” What would be the responses? I asked that same question to a variety of people with an age range of 18-75. The responses I had were:
- People use it to show off?
- Why do people take pictures of food?
- What’s the “checking in” thing all about?
- How can someone have hundreds of friends? They’re not true friends.
- Distraction to life and work.
- Ownership of Data.
Lets address a few of those:
The greatest concern of any online database is always privacy. There are privacy settings on social media but despite these, what you post will always end up for the world to see. Facebook has been used to source information on potential partners and also potential employees so it is always a good idea to think about what you post.
Picture the scene, you are at work and your social media is on your phone. You hear a noise and know you have a message, a piece of media or a post to see. What will happen? No matter what any of you are thinking, I guarantee that you will look. Its human nature. Someone wants me and is messaging me so it might be important. Employers have been known to have a strict social media ban during work hours. Heavy social media use can be a distraction from observing and learning basic human interaction skills that you may need and use in everyday scenarios.
It is a known fact that people spent more time with online interaction than actual person to person interaction. Socialising over the internet is not a substitute for human contact and should not be viewed as such. It gives people an entirely different outlook on the world and can greatly impact real social lives in a very negative way. Many people who spend too much time using social media services claim that they feel lonely in their lives.
Social media sites have terms and conditions laid down in black and white but when it comes to ownership of data, photos and information posted by the user…that area becomes decidedly gray. This is to be considered when businesses use social media for marketing – who actually owns your information?
I think we can safely assume that social media has its good and bad points. We can assume that social media will be around for years to come and improving in the way it works.
What we can hope for, is that basic social skills that we all took for granted have not been lost in todays generation.