Introduction Social Media
Ten years ago, how many of us knew what social media was all about? Only a handful, isn’t it? And today? The story has just been reciprocated. Even Mark Zuckerberg wouldn’t have imagined his social media site Facebook becoming one of the most popular and active platforms within a few years of its inception when he initiated it on 4th February 2004. According to the latest inputs, there were about 1.59 billion monthly active users as on December 2015. Similarly, Twitter launched a decade ago, and today there are about 332 million users as per the current estimates of January 2016. Such a humongous response from the people. It’s simply unbelievable. Truly social media has converted the entire world into a small global village.
The Impact of Social Media
With the proliferation of various social media channels, there has been a tectonic change in the mindset of people worldwide. The most emphatic and enormous impact of social media was incredibly visible in the general elections in India in 2014. Even the most influential and prominent politicians and state heads of various nations could not keep themselves aloof from the hiking effects of social media machinery. So whether it is US President Barak Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, or Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, they are all active on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Aside from these prominent figures such as film personalities and sports persons, industrialists and other men of stature are also actively involved with different social media mediums. Some individuals wrongly interpret that social media is only for Generation Y and the teenage group. No, it is meant for all, irrespective of sex, caste, creed, or religion. The only requirement to open an account on any social media site is that the person has to be eighteen years or older.
Different Roles of Social Media
Following are the different roles of social media:
1. Powerful Means of Communication
Social media has been one of the most powerful and effective means of communication, which has played a significant and mammoth role in bridging the gaps between different individuals, thereby establishing a robust connection. Only a decade ago, the newer technologies did not attract people, let alone familiarity with social media channels. The large worldwide population and increase in teledensity, especially in urban areas, has spurred an impressive jump in people online. The outcome was that the so-called political parties began to harness the power of social media.
2. Biggest Platform to Express Oneself
However, the biggest buzz created by social media corresponding to today’s scenario is that it has been phenomenally successful in igniting a spark amongst users. They can express their views and write comments on various issues which have brought tremendous change in an existing place’s social, economic, and political trends.
3. Monitoring of People’s Comments
Recently the entire world witnessed how Narendra Modi registered one of the biggest wins and got the majority to form the Government. None can deny that social media played the most pivotal and huge in this victory. One interesting fact about social media, which has come out from research labs into real life, is monitoring people’s reactions to different incidents and happenings around the global arena. After watching these reactions, it is interesting and fun to note that the political parties and strategists frame policies and plans. Moreover, every organization has a separate wing known as the social media cell.
Everything is not fair
So far, so good, but social media websites have often come under scrutiny. This is because of the threat and terror which is looming large around the world. Some negative traits are as follows-
Creation of fake Facebook or Twitter Accounts
There have been several complaints that some people resort to illegal and unethical ways to fulfill their illicit activities. They often create fake Facebook profiles in the names of false individuals or companies and use them to deceive people differently. Therefore, one should be very careful when operating Facebook or Twitter, whether on a Smartphone or computer.
Hacking other people’s / important organization accounts
This is a serious threat as not only do individual Facebook or Twitter accounts get hacked, but even government departments and other organizations become victims of such unlawful activities. The hackers tend to post objectionable comments, vulgar videos, and images to defame or hurt the modesty of the victimized person or group.
Use of Social Media by Terrorist Organizations
It has become a major headache for most investigating agencies worldwide, as even terrorist groups in various parts of the world are actively involved on social media platforms. A recent example is the Islamic State (ISIS) which is very active on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. It is spreading its evil thoughts through these channels, thereby brainwashing the minds of youngsters and asking them to join their group.
Texting and Mobile
The concept of Texting or the SMS (Short Messaging Service) evolved with the emergence of mobile and cellular phones. Not long ago, the mobile phone was supposed to be one of the most priced assets and was found only side the pockets of the rich and elite class. However, the scenario has undergone a complete change. From a fashion and status symbol, mobile phones have become a necessity and common accessory.
The Fetish for Texting
Since the evolution of texting, communication has become much faster and easier. According to the latest research, nearly 72% of teenagers text regularly, giving birth to new SMS codes or words. For instance, ‘you’ becomes ‘u’, ‘your’ becomes ‘ur’, and so on.
Entry of WhatsApp and Viber
But the interesting fact is that texting and sending messages have certainly gone to another level today. It would not be wrong to say that social media apps such as WhatsApp or Viber have completely transformed the arena of texting. Indeed, the craze for these most popular social media apps has grown larger than ever. People do almost similar activities on these platforms to what they do on Facebook and Twitter. It allows you to send short and instant messages, and even you can post images, audio clips, and videos, sending them to a person or a group. It has also played a significant role in spreading social and crucial messages worldwide, and you can see spontaneous reactions from people.
The Downside of Texting
Now it’s time to look towards the other side of the coin. Yes, it’s hard to believe, but the fact remains that even texting has a few downsides. Let’s analyze them one by one-
Problem with Face-to-Face Communication
Well, an interesting fact was found during a survey that people who text a lot of encounter problems when communicating face-to-face. It was further found that this problem not only persisted in direct interaction, but even they had to interact on their cell phones. They say they fall short of words and do not know how to proceed with the discussion.
Too Much Obsession is a Bad Habit
This problem mainly came from the teenage group who kept texting their friends during the late night hours or even when they were busy with other work. Parents complained that their children are not properly concentrating on their studies, which is hampering their results. Too much obsession about anything is a bad habit to develop.
Not very Meaningful Communication
Texting in other languages is also known as surface communication. Although it can prove vital in enhancing the bond of friendship, it is said that communication through texts is not very meaningful. The texts sent can even be misinterpreted, creating misunderstandings between two persons. Also, the receiver can fail to understand what the sender means because of the use of short terms.
Spelling Mistakes and Grammatical Errors
Texting has also given birth to the usage of improper language and spelling due to short-hand typing. People may likely repeat the same mistake when sending vital emails or typing an all-important official letter which may create a bad impression.
The Internet: The Evolution
It was in October 1990 that Tim Barnes Lee developed the first ever Internet browser in Europe. Since then, there has been no looking back. It was software that could scan everything on the net. And this exceptional tool is none other than the well-known ‘World Wide Web’ (www.) It got a tremendous response worldwide and became a huge hit. Undoubtedly, it has revolutionized the world as we would get a precious asset that has become part and parcel of life.
Internet: A Part and Parcel of Life
You think of one task or activity which cannot be done via the Internet. You think of information that is not available on the search engines. Today life without the Internet is simply unimaginable. And to add, more people haven’t only got a connection on their personal computers and laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Life would stagnate and remain standstill without a net connection for even a day.
Most Significant Achievement
There is no denying that the most significant and crucial achievement of the Internet is the area of information and technology. The entire IT sector is based on it, and we can develop and design new software to ease our lives with its direct assistance. It has brought the entire globe into close geographical proximity. Google, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, and so on are all the gifts of the internet.
Residing in the World ‘Online’
It wouldn’t be incorrect to comment that we are living in the era of a virtual ‘online’ world. From learning to education, financial transactions to other banking activities, and online shopping to business, we are surrounded by the World Wide Web.
Most countries around the globe are giving adequate preference to E-governance which has made the rule more transparent and easy. The government can make vital decisions more aptly and quickly and get a quick response from the people. This has also reduced the complicated paperwork a lot.
- E-Business and online shopping
E-business has indeed become a very significant and popular phenomenon these days. The market nowadays has become more competitive, and consumers are spoilt for choices and lucrative prices. The emergence of e-commerce websites has made people shop at their will without spending too much from the comfort of their homes.
- Online Transactions and E-Learning
This is a digital world. Gone are the days when you must stand in long queues to deposit or take out money from the bank. This all can work with just a click of a button.
Similarly, e-education and learning have changed the facets of many countries. You can enroll in any online course, do the classes via the Internet, appear for the exam, and get your results online.
- Internet: The Job Creator
The Internet has become one of the largest job creators throughout the world. Much work happens online, and there is consistent involvement of people in it. Some instances include content writing, online marketing, selling products, online travel booking, teaching, etc. You just have to complete the assignment and receive payment for it.
The Negative Impacts
- Too much surfing of websites
Some people have grown into the mania of surfing websites throughout the day, negatively affecting their health and mind.
- The Rise of Pornography
Children, especially teenagers, easily find interest in porn websites and videos which is not good news for them and their parents.
- The Problem of Hacking and Cyber Crime
The Internet has given birth to cybercrime, which is more perilous than the crime committed on the scene. Cyber threats have been reported where terrorists use computers and smartphones to explode bombs. Moreover, hacking of important websites and email-ids has also become common.
Wrapping up the Discussion
Truly social media, texting, cellular phones, and the internet have altogether transformed our lives, and we surely cannot imagine a world without these indispensable accessories and tools.
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