Social media technology is one of the most popular and widely used technologies today. This technology is frequently used by consumers of different demographics as well as by businesses, government agencies and non-profits. Social media has drawn criticism by some as there have been widely publicized stories detailing the damaging effects of this technology. On the contrary, this has also provided much good in the world and has given people a way to communicate that is easier and more convenient than making a phone call.
What is social media technology? Social media technology can be explained as any group of people using media (a communication tool) to begin, enhance, or actively seek a specific medium that will enhance communication with the use of web and mobile technology (Covert, 2011). Five years ago, the answer to the question: who uses social media, would have resulted in a response that included a specific demographic that revolved primarily around age. Now social media technology has more accounts than people on the earth.
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According to Shelley Portet “The market analysis reports that there were more than 10 billion social-networking and online-world accounts in 2010 and that nearly 4. 5 billion of these are active”. For many people today, social media is no longer part of life; instead it is a way of life. In order to remain current with the communication trends today, being a member of a mainstream site like Facebook is imperative. This membership can result in reacquainting oneself with an old friend, an ex or this technology can be used to meet new people. Obviously this can lead to negative consequences, but for every negative there is a positive.
In my opinion, what may seem as a beneficial means to some will ultimately be deemed by another as a destructive tool that will lead to the demise of many. As the author, I subjectively analyzed social media and came to the following conclusions in terms of benefits of and drawbacks to this ever evolving technology. For many the consequences of joining a social media site are unintentional, but none the less life changing. The want to connect with old friends and acquaintances can begin innocently enough, but overtime old feelings can arise and this can lead to extra-material affairs.
Often times these feelings are short lived, but once the relationship evolves into an emotional venture the damage has already been done. This may seem like the most dangerous effects of social media, but cyber bullying can lead to far worse consequences: suicide. Cyber bullying is explained by stopcyberbullying. com as “when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones” and as we have learned recently can ultimately lead to depression and/or suicide.
This may not be the case for every child or teen that has gone through this, but the unfortunate truth is that this is a very real threat to our children’s lives. Another type of depression that can occur is not associated with cyber bullying, but rather from the yearning to have a life that is full of excitement, friends, and constant feedback. This is called Facebook depression and is associated with looking at other profiles with people smiling, having fun, the number of friends they have and when compared to oneself, the feeling of inadequacy can build.
This is not a problem that is limited to the younger generations, but can be found in users of all ages. While it is not proven that this depression is limited to social networking sites or if it is an extension of other mental health disorders, there is an interesting link between the two. Other downfalls of social media technology include the ability for people to connect for the wrong reasons. This can be a way for sexual predators to prey on children and can also be means to cyber stalking as well.
Recently, congress passed a law that allows third party companies to compile information requested by possible future employers on applicants. A waiver would have to be signed, but once it is a search of general sites and information is not only gathered but stored for up to seven years. Any information obtained will remain on file for other companies to access and even if a person makes changes to their social media sites the information in the file remains unchanged.
To contrary of the possible negative effects of using social media technology, the positives can be life changing and even make life simply put, more fun. Having the ability to follow what friends and family are doing as well as sharing stories of life and the photos that go along with them are priceless. When posting thoughts on sites like Facebook or Twitter, one can actually experience a therapeutic sensation. By having the capability to write out thoughts and feelings to share with the world or a select few can relieve stress has accumulated from a bad day.
Another benefit to social media technology is remaining current with the times which can make a person more marketable for employment. Indiana Wesleyan utilizes social media by having the academic advisers post a video on YouTube briefly making an introduction of themselves and the services that they provide to students. For businesses, this type of technology can be an extremely helpful marketing tool as any businesses rely on social marketing to exhibit their products and promote specials (Arens, Arens, & Weigold, 2011).
Social media technology and a biblical perspective is difficult to gauge as this can be a great way for the church to evangelize. The church that I attend uses social media to let everyone and anyone know about upcoming events and events that have recently taken place; many times displaying photos or videos. Many churches that I have been to also take advantage of sites like YouTube, which allows them to post videos of the weekly sermon for those who were unable to make it to church.
I have watched these videos before and it is a great resource to have when we are unable to attend due to sick children or any other reason. The negative effects of this technology can lead people into temptation and ruin individuals emotionally which would obviously be a consequence. All in all, I feel that living a Christ centered life while using social media technology can be a resourceful yet dangerous tool that can act like a double edge sword when used inappropriately.
With the future of social media becoming ever more popular, I feel that this type of technology is here to stay and will continue to grow and become a necessary tool for communication in the years to come. With social media technology ever advancing, being able to use this tool can greatly help people connect and businesses advertise. It is imperative for one to be knowledgeable on the negative consequences that can arise from the misuse by other or oneself.
This should not bring out fear, but simply awareness as this tool can be used to help people live a better life. References Arens, W. F. , Arens, C. , & Weigold, M. F. (2011). Contemporary advertisin. New York, N. Y. : McGraw Hill. Covert, A. (2011, June 20). Bad idea. Retrieved from http://gizmodo. com/5813829/if-you-agree-to-a-social-media-background-check-your-public-info-could-sit-in-a-file-for-7-years How would you define social media?. (2011, April). Retrieved from http://www. nevillehobson. com/2011/04/12/how-would-you-define-social-media/