4 April 2018
Social Media. It's a big part of our modern world today. It comes in so many forms, blogs, business networks, social gaming, forums, microblogs, and last but not least, social networks. In fact, it is so widely used today, that by 2021, the number of world users is expected to be 3.02 billion devices per month around a third of earth's entire population, and there are more devices connectected to the internet than there are people in the world. I think that social media impacts us in so many different ways, and here is why.
What is social media? The official definition of social media is “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.” Social media is becoming more and more common, some very popular social media platforms consist of Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook. These platforms are used by billions across the world.
Instagram, an app where you share photographs with your friends, or people across the world, post on your 24 hour story or comment on peoples pictures, such a simple invention was sold for over $1 billion in 2012 after being invented by Kevin Systrom in 2010. On Instagram, over 40 billion photos have been shared. Instagram has been installed over 1 billion times on the Google Play Store alone. Fun fact, pizza is the most shared food on Instagram, followed by sushi.
Twitter is also a very popular app. It is widely used by several individuals, precisely sixteen percent of internet users are on Twitter. Twitter is also a good platform to follow famous celebrities as most of them post almost daily updating their fandom with their thoughts, plans, or what they are doing. The top five most followed twitter accounts are Katy Perry, with a whopping 108.37 million followers, Justin Bieber comes in second with a following of 105.29 million followers, Barack Obama has 99.53 million followers, Rihanna falls behind our former president with 86.1 million followers, and last but not least, coming in fifth place, with 85.79 million followers we have Taylor Swift. Twitter was invented by Biz Stone, Noah Glass and Jack Dorsey in March of 2006. It now has a networth of $11 billion.
Snapchat has almost every millennial glued to their phones, snapping a pic, or typing a quick message that deletes within seconds. Used by over 150 million people, and also being the tenth most purchased app in the Apple App Store. Snapchat had gained so much fame that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg tried buying it out from inventors, Evan Spiegle, Reggie Brown and Bobby Murphy for $1 billion in 2012, all three inventors declined. Later that year, Zuckerberg returned with $3 billion, but his offer was still rejected.
Many people have come to the conclusion that social media is altogether a bad thing, and they aren't necessarily wrong, however, it's not all terrible. There are several good things about social media. One thing that many people use social media for is marketing, its a great platform to get your business, new invention, or whatever you are selling out there! Another good thing is connecting. With social media you can communicate with people from all the way across the world, to your next door neighbor. Over 30,000 meetups happen every month. These meetups are people who have only communicated over the internet, or through social media, meeting for the first time. Social media is also fun, sharing pictures, videos, and messages with your friends, or complete strangers is a popular form of our entertainment today. Many people also use social media to get a point or movement across to several people.
However, with pros, there are always cons. One really unfortunate thing that is very common on social media is social peer pressuring/cyberbullying. This can mean several things, such as the idea that they need to own something from that new brand that everyone is wearing, or a style of shoe. Maybe people are even making you feel that you need to do something to be cool, like post a picture you aren't necessarily comfortable with, or gossiping, spreading rumors, or bad mouthing people publicly, or directly.
Several girls and boys across the world see a picture of a model and or what is known to be “the perfect body” and go to extreme lengths to achieve that look. Along with peer pressuring there is cyberbullying. People commenting on other peoples posts, or messaging them telling them things like “kill yourself”, “you're worthless”, “waste of air”, “nobody likes you”, “you're ugly”, “you were a mistake”. All these harmful words and phrases are things that many people have to deal with everyday, causing depression, self harm, suicidal thoughts, and sometimes even suicide itself. One of the worst parts about this is that the people that say these things often get away with it because it happens so often, and it's very difficult to prevent. This is very serious and something we need to consider and work together to take care of this issue.So just remember, once you post something there is no going back, whether its a personal picture, or a comment directed towards someone.
On a less serious note, social media is a big cause of distraction, and procrastination. People are often excited when they hear a notification and they jump to their device to see what it's all about. This issue is keeping many people from doing what they are supposed to. Once they step away from their homework, chores, family time, or whatever they were supposed to be doing, they usually end up stuck on their device scrolling through all of their social media feed for hours. These endless amount of posts are keeping people on their phones and substituting offline interaction for online interaction. People are getting so involved in their devices and social media, that they completely forget to take a minute and look around. It is taking up our time and energy, slowing down people's thoughts, and making them less aware. This is something I have even experienced myself. When you put your phone down, you realize how much you are missing out on. When I put my phone down I started doing things that I hadn't done since I got my phone, like coloring, riding my bike around my neighborhood, baking and cooking with my mom. It really opened up my eyes again.
An important thing to do is unplug, and here is how. If you are on your phone/device too much, get an app to track your screen time. You can even set some of them to lock you out once you have used up the limited amount of time. Another thing you can do is make a list of things you want to do during the day, and complete all of them without being on your phone. Something very helpful is turning off notifications from all your apps, you can do this is in the settings section of most of the apps, and if you're feeling brave, you might even delete the apps! Also, instead of being on your device all the time, do something else! Find a hobby, maybe something that has to do with art, sports, instruments… It could be anything!
Social media isn't necessarily the safest thing, but there are ways to stay safe! For one thing, using strong and unique passwords on each social media app or account is a good way to prevent getting hacked. Another thing is having a private profile. You can set this up in the settings section of your app. All this does is let you choose who gets to see your account. One very important thing is that you make sure you refrain from sharing any form of personal information on social media, such as your address, date of birth, where you got to school, and so on… Especially don't share this information with strangers no matter who they are. Even if you share with friends or family, remember it can still get out there, by a hacker, or a glitch. Previously, I mentioned meetups, but try to stay away from people you meet online. You never know who they are, and the end result of you meeting them could end very poorly.
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