Social Media: Expendable Or Irreplaceable?

Take a walk down any high street, and you will find that most of the people if not all will be clutching their phones as if it were a newborn child, logged on to some social media website, or just mindlessly scrolling their newsfeed. Think about the most recent meme you saw, or the latest WhatsApp forward on your “Buddies” group. You won’t have to think hard. You can instantly relate to all such things, and that is the extent to which social media has grown.

How about some stats about social media to substantiate its impact in our lives.

These images are enough to show how usage of social media has risen rapidly in recent years and became an integral part of our lives. So it is our very responsibility to know about a thing that has influenced our lives so much how it can be used judiciously and when misused how it can be a grave danger to its victims.

Social Media gives endless opportunities to people who do not have enough resources but are capable enough of performing great things. It gives people a right to express irrespective of their stature and gives the power to impact lives to those who utilize it in the very right way to do great things. The story of Mark Zuckerberg is a clear example of what you can potentially extract from social media.

ADDICTION TO SOCIAL MEDIA

A considerable percentage of youth get addicted to social media once they start using it and therefore waste a lot of their valuable time on social media. There have been thousands of incidents of where they end up in some kind of trouble due to this over-usage. It kills a lot of time without their notice, making it more dangerous than a video-game or a TV or any other form of entertainment. The infamous blue whale challenge which claimed the lives of many innocent children is an appropriate example. This addiction can also lead to many a number of psychological problems, including anxiety, depression, loneliness, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) and many more.

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN TWO DISTANT THOUGHTS

Imagine an old mother gets to talk to her son, experience feelings of a man 13000km apart on the other side of the globe working hard to make his mother proud. A child gets to talk to his father miles apart and express his joy to him. An old professor of yours gets to know of your success and congratulates you. A dear school friend of yours gets to know of the trouble you are facing and provides you the courage to withstand your problems. Social media has made all these dreams a reality.

It helps people across the globe to communicate and stay connected to each other at ease. Various platforms like LinkedIn has proved to be an excellent way of connecting with professional people and increasing networking. This website has proved itself effective in providing platforms for searching jobs, gaining knowledge, interacting with the people having the same or higher qualification and stature.

At the very same time, it might connect you to people you never want to, resulting in instances such as cyberbullying. This is a topic that has been discussed in great depth in one of our previous blogs, “Digitalization of Crime”. So, be sure to give that blog a read to know more!!

“Don’t use social media to impress people, use it to impact people.” — Dave Willis

LIVELIHOOD

It has become one of the leading ways of earning money and livelihood for a huge number of people who are running their handles on social media sites like Facebook or are running video channels on YouTube.One such instance is about Pewdiepie who was able to use his voracity to impress people and therefore earn a livelihood for his own.

Out of many ways to earn a livelihood, an unethical way to do so and one which every human needs to be careful about is Hacking through one’s data without his knowledge or consent.

The CEO and founder of Amazon, richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos’s phone was hacked through one of the popular social networking apps namely WhatsApp and the recent tweet by Elon Musk regarding this incident only emphasizes on the scale of this problem..We casually enter all our information in social media apps and do not know how secure it turns out to be, thereby providing a free platform for the hackers to catch hold of our information. In the present world, the scale of social media users has increased exponentially and this only adds to the issue. What people don’t understand is that everything you place in your profile — personal preferences, political opinions, social commentary and more — is exposed even if you control the privacy settings.

“Rumours spread like tumors.” — Real Stories (song)

Social media can be called an expeditious newspaper. Any viral news spreads through social media faster than ever imagined. Therefore any emergency situation reaches a lot more people in a short amount of time helping the affected people or area. Also, there have been instances where the news that affects a victim’s life has spread through media and ruined the lives of countless or put them in an uncomfortable situation.

THE RISE OF MEMES

The growth in the popularity of memes has been exponential in the past few years. Name any topic, incident or news item which has been viral, and you can be sure that plenty of memes have been created on it. From Greta Thunberg to Abhishek Upmanyu to passionate fans reacting to cricket matches, innumerous numbers of memes have been generated. And for many and most people, memes have become a way to stay updated on the major events happening around the globe.

No need to freak out though…

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said” —

Peter Drucker

EMOTIONAL CONNECTION

Loss of the essence of feelings and inclusion of superficialness to one’s feelings is a major concern when you chat to people rather than a face to face talk. The situation can be better felt through an incident than words alone. Here is what a person had to say about an incident between him and his friend.

“A couple of weeks ago, one of my friends and I got into a fight and she told me all of her feelings as to why she ignored me for two weeks. Assuming it would have been really hard to say it to my face, she sent me a text message. The negative side was I didn’t know if she truly felt sorry because I didn’t hear it from her. The quality of a conversation using social media is awful because you cannot sense the emotion or enthusiasm from the other person. It makes you wonder if they actually mean what they say.”

CREATION OF SKEWED SELF-IMAGE

We lie to ourselves and pretend to be something we are not. We post pictures of us looking perfect and share the good news. We never post pictures of ourselves when our dog dies, when someone we love leaves, and when we lose a job. We never share the bad news that always clouds our lives. We all develop this perfect image of ourselves and some of us actually try to rely on this imaginative thought we have of ourselves instead of staying true to who we are.

But the question remains, is social media expendable; or irreplaceable? The question is very subjective, but to much extent, it depends on the user. Everything has its pros and cons, and it’s on us on how we want to use this powerful yet addictive asset. Social media is a tool with great potentials, both negative and positive, and has had a tremendous effect on all our lives. All in all, this great tool is neither expendable nor irreplaceable, but a way to grow and explore the world.

Stay tuned for more blogs!!

Deepthanshu GVS, Team Technothlon 2020

Vishal Yadav, Team Technothlon 2020

Technothlon is an international school championship organized by the students of IIT Guwahati. Technothlon began in 2004 with an aim to ‘Inspire Young Minds’

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store