THE POTENCY OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND ITS NEGATIVE EFFECTS
The era in which we find ourselves is an era whereby information is at the tip of your finger. While some people call it computer age, others call it jet age; jet age because of how fast things are done and the way people want to get immediate results for almost anything. Others call it microwave era. All these names are a pointer to the fact that times have changed and if you are to be relevant in the present world, then there is the need for readjustment to conform to the modern times or trend. Many have expressed pessimism and therefore resolve not to join the band wagon especially those of older generation. Meanwhile, others greeted it with arms wide open, much enthusiasm and optimism.
It is amazing how you find information without tears as opposed to tradition of going to library, browsing through the shelves just to get information. In those days, you want to borrow a book form the library, you have to be a registered member, but times have changed and that era is gone, it is a new era: An era where we live in a global village though we live in worlds apart. Where boundary matters not. What matters is you having a smart phone with internet connection, that is all! We are talking about social media here. Social media has adversely affected they way we behave and do things.
What is Social Media?
This is a platform where people meet and socialize without necessarily knowing each other or seeing each other. Social Media is define as computer mediated technologies that allow the creating and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks (According to Wikipedia). Social media is not only beneficial to humans; it can also be harmful if not properly harnessed or utilized. While in most parts of the world people are deploying the medium harnessing it, some countries have banned the use of social media because their perceived dangerous dimension and negative effects, because they don’t understand it and the phobia of its potency.
We shall discuss all these in detail. We shall also discuss the benefits and its dangers. Social media connects people of different climate, race, class and age. It breaks all barriers set by mortals against their will. That is how powerful this tool can be. It is a platform where the poor and the rich relate freely without having to follow any protocol save one set by the social media platform. This tool is a double edged sword, it can make or mar you, and it all depends on how you see it. While this is true, we have seen social media giving voice to the voiceless. It offers a platform for people to express themselves freely and have given others confidence. Those who are ordinarily introverts are suddenly turned extroverts.
The social media comes with the aid of the internet with the aid of service providers. These give clients the opportunity to choose which service they prefer. Smart phones to an extent played a major role in achieving this as opposed to restricting internet to cyber cafes or use of laptops, desktops etc. Some institutions provide free Wifi to their areas. All these are the revolutions going on. So all these combined and facilitate the booming of the media we are talking of.
Potency of Social Media
Potency here talks of power, effectiveness, and strength. The social media wields a strong power, a very influential one and like we said earlier, it can either make or mar you depending on how you view or use it.
Even though we agree that social media has negative effects, it depends we see it. While some people see it as evil, others see it as a good platform to do a lot of things. Today, social media has given a lot of people voice; so many people are making money legally on both social media and the internet. People are using it to advertise their wares and services that ordinarily couldn’t have had money to advertise their businesses. It has become easier to pass across a message: This has also been a forum to connect with people of like minds. So many good things the social media presented to us which time and space will not permit.
Talking about the potency of social media, it has crippled governments, brought secrets to the fore and exposed a lot of things. Today, activism has been made both easier and possible through the use of this platform. The Arab spring was made possible through the use of social media. Of recent, after the inauguration of Donald Trump as America’s next President, there was worldwide protest because of some policies he brought; the protests were made possible through social media. Just overnight, a protest was organized and people turn out beyond the expectation of the organizers. This, is what the social media can do! It has become a potent instrument in the hands of the people to fight against oppression of whatever sort and to an extent clipped the wings of those that have the antecedents of oppression or dictatorship.
As earlier stated, while many countries welcomed this development with open arms, others who were pessimists and skeptical banned or regulated the use in their countries for some of these reasons we intend to look at:
1. Negative Effects: Just like anything that has an advantage is said to have a disadvantage, social media has its own share of negative effects on the society. This is so because it has derailed our moral values in so many ways and parents have little or no control over it. Sometimes because we get connected to people we don’t even know, it turns out to be a weapon in the hands of the enemy to harm us. Children read and see things they should not see; terrorists are using it to recruit its soldiers, children abuse and insult their elders in the process of conversation without any modicum of respect. Lies on the prowl and people are prone to believe the lies without making efforts to verify. This is one aspect the governments need to harness to counter such effects if not; it shapes the minds of the people on the negative side.
On negative effects, I must not fail to mention what it has done so far. This has caused a lot of trauma in families, caused broken homes. It is quite unfortunate that it has turned wives into flirts and husbands too. It seems to encourage immorality and all such vices if not properly handled, can destroy the good society that we knew and give us an alien society. My advice here is that, the use of social media should be at ones discretion.
2. Because they don’t understand it: Lack of understanding how it works makes people pessimistic and as such they become onlookers and bystanders. They criticize instead of harnessing and making good use of it and in the process the y lose out. People criticize what they don’t understand; same goes with the social media.
3. The Phobia of Its Potency: The power it wields sends shivers to the spines of different people, organizations and even governments or anyone willing to subdue freedom of press and of speech. People use it against their governments who want to suppress them unlike before the advent of social media where only the government and the might control the media. In this case, everyone has to at the tip of his or her fingers. As a result, there is wide range of phobia towards it even among the various governments: It is been dreaded because of what it can do, it either make or mar a person. Other people cannot stand what it can do to a person. Some because of its power have resort to use it as a tool for blackmail etc.
The major aim of this write up is for people to know the power that this platform holds and to harness it well in their day to day life. Not only that, the idea is for people to use it for their good and not to abuse it, in so doing we will enjoy the many blessings it comes with.