There are no more walls, barriers, and misunderstanding between people, nations, and countries in the modern world. It is a well-developed system of social media that makes it all possible. Online games, various websites, blogs, and social networks unite people, provide them with useful information and educate if necessary. Social media is used today in spheres of all kinds: business, fashion, entertainment, health, and a lot of others. But we should never forget that each phenomenon has two controversial sides. The harmful and destroying effects of social media as opposition to its widely known benefits are the subject matter of this essay.
Social media is one of the means to make the person happy. The possibility of communicating with the peers or celebrities, exchange of ideas, jokes and funny films – all these activities boost spirits. Recently The Guardian has conducted research “Mood of the nation” which proved positive influence of social media on human behavior and mind. The participants of the survey described using social media as activity number one that makes them happy. It was placed above such categories as money, friends and family. Moreover, the most positive social network is considered to be Twitter, 55% user interaction of which are positive and 25% are mostly neutral.
At the same time, it should be mentioned that psychologists and researchers all over the world claim that use of social media can cause depression. People can get to know different upsetting news and facts through the websites and social networks, or observe the luxurious lifestyle of their friends or favorite celebrities, and compare them with own possibilities. This perfect and happy online life of other people causes feeling of sadness about lost chances of their own. The expression “social media depression” appeared recently to describe the sad thoughts because of using social media. Although this term has not obtained enough legitimacy yet, it is evident that different social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, and different web sited evoke negative emotions in its users. Numerous researches show that teenagers and children are the most sensitive age group to media influences. What is more, despite the fact that social media depression affects both sexes, women are more frequently diagnosed with this condition than men. Apparently, the social media depression exists, but psychologists cannot identify and prove the real causation of this problem. It is not clear to them “whether using social media Web sites causes depression or if people with depressive tendencies are more drawn to the digital realm” (Spoon, “What's social media depression - and might I have it?”).
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Another positive side of social media is the process of socialization. The boards between representatives of different countries, nationalities, religions are blended nowadays and it is all due to the social networks and websites. People all over the world communicate with each other, share views, traditions and even languages. Network systems create their own world with special language, terms, topics, and jokes. An interaction between the Internet users can occur in various forms. They can be messaging programs or video calls that allow users to socialize visually, photo exchange. The biggest modern tool of socialization is considered to be Facebook with around 800 million users all around the world. Different social media systems have their own culture and subculture. For example, various funny internet memes became a reference point for a great number of users. Terms, images, symbols are created in social networks, chats, or blogs. The widely spread term LOL (laugh out loud) has developed from the Internet socializing and instant messaging.
To the contrary of the socialization aspect, a lot of psychologists state that social media provides users with a false sense of socialization that may lead to depression. People tend to use social network frequently , and then the addiction to the certain social media happens. In 2011, a research was made among the users of Facebook, who have psychological disorders. Over the half of respondents feel general, unspecified stress while using the social network. The psychologist Kathy Charles found that in most cases this emotional disorder results from the fear of missing out on published happenings. Being influenced by the fear of missing out students, children, adults cannot stop incessantly checking mobile devices in order to read about the latest news and social updates. They go on to do it, even if they in the middle of doing something. That is why, websites are considered to be so simultaneously self-destructive and addictive. It is crucial for every user to remember that social media is only the tool to enhance communication, but not replace it altogether. Psychologist Thomandra Sam claims that using social media in lieu of healthy social interaction rather than as a supplement to healthy social interactions is often when the distress begins. It’s important to be able to disengage from the cyberworld and truly connect and enjoy the living world around you (Smith, “Social media only provides a false sense of socialization, leads to depression”). In addition, a lot of teenagers and adults post on their pages fake photos or information in order not to look and to be considered worse than other users. After some time, these people become so addicted to the fake world created by them that they begin to believe in these things. Sometimes such devotion to the unreal world can have tragic consequences for the person.
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It cannot be forgotten that social media plays an significant role in marketing development. Various networks, blogs, and websites can make a successful advertisement for almost every product. Nowadays YouTube beauty bloggers are extremely popular and famous, and trendy cosmetics company sends them their product lines, and then video bloggers use or recommend these presents. Nowadays all big and successful companies should have their websites where all necessary information about a firm, its products, and other aspects has to be presented. Appearance of the company on the Internet provides increased brand recognition. And the great contribution to this is made by pages in the social networks. What is more, an official involvement of the social media resources by the company is a signal of a brand royalty, and such in a result the products become observable for everybody all around the world.
At the same time, it can sound strange, but social media is one of the simplest ways to destroy the business. First of all, socialization of brands should be kept in the strict frames and do not show or share some inappropriate opinions or information. Image of the company play a huge role and sometimes it can be destroyed or ridiculed by the users, or by the company itself. Moreover, it is important to differentiate customers from the company’s followers on the Internet while taking into account possible income and clients of the firm. Another danger for a business that can be present in social media is a great number of fakes. Sometimes customers confuse these fakes with official representatives of the company; they can be deceived and cheated and, as a result, will never use the products of this brand.
In conclusion, nowadays social media develops rapidly than ever, and it can make profits in different spheres of life. In order to make successful use of the social networks and sites, it is necessary to evaluate all possible drawbacks and advantages. The real benefits of the social media are now controversial issues that can eve have harmful impacts on the people. The most susceptible to the virtual world category of users are children and teenagers. That is why, they have to be aware of all possible dangers of an obsessive use of social media.