Friday, January 7, 2011

Social Media: The Good, The Bad and the Potentially Hazardous

Facebook, Twitter, Blog, MySpace, Youtube, Skype.....and the list goes on. And on. And on. And on.

Social media is fun, engaging and definetly addicting. Its numbers have grown substantially in the last few years. I remember being talked into Facebook in 2007, and here we are 4 years later, with 10 times the amount of social tools at our fingertips. I'm on the fence as to whether social media is good  or bad for society.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE social networking. I love my Facebook and my Twitter. It's convenient to keep in touch with friends on Facebook, especially when it comes right to my Blackberry. Which brings me to another point. I've gotten so used to communicating by texting, or email or Facebook; that I hate having to actually use the phone to speak to someone. I'm very social when it comes to social media, but I've lost my personal touch when it comes to the actual telephone! Ridiculous right? I know what the problem is though; I've gotten lazy (and it's not just me.) It's just so much easier to text someone than to take the time to call them. Convenience=lazy. Social media is definetly good when it comes to networking. Businesses and companies have begun to network and advertise using the social media tools. Yet, it's not necessarily always for the best. There have been horror stories about companies who have had bad publicity through social media.

This leads me to the cons of social media. One thing I hate about Facebook or Twitter, is when someone writes their life story on their statuses every 5 minutes. Nobody really cares. No-one want a play-by-play of your life; it's annoying and gets in the way of seeing what other people are up to.  Also known as Creeping. Facebook Creeping has become part of our vocabulary as social media has flourished. Urban Dictionary defines Facebook Creeping as: an act in which one looks at a friend's/stranger's facebook profile, pictures, and recent activity. Everyone denies their involvement in this act (when in reality most people do it when bored), then in turn accuse someone else of doing it later. What a hilarious definition. I literally just laughed out loud. Because it's true! Social media has turned everyone into a 'creeper', and it's socially acceptable.
People who can be coined as 'creepers' are usually mildly addicted to Facebook/and or any other social media tool they use. I know when Facebook was becoming popular for my generation in 2007, it led (and still leads) to procrastination. School work being put off. Not good. Even relationships have suffered when it comes to social media, which leads back to the fact that people are slightly addicted. 
Some people don't even think before they post things like statuses or Tweets. Don't assume that your statuses won't go beyond your friends, or don't forget that you've added your boss onto your Facebook. People have  been fired over Facebook statuses or Tweets. And some people just go waaaayyyy too far with the information they share; whether it be TMI (too much information) or whether it be blatant bullying towards another person.  Even identity theft has occured through social media.

In the end, I love social media and believe that in moderation, it's okay. Use it for good, not evil. Remember, the old saying goes "think before you speak".... or Tweet. Or Facebook, Youtube, Skype, etc. Use your head. At the end of the day your only protection with social media, is your sound judgement.

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