What is Social Media? What are the Benefits and Harms of Social Media?
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What is Social Media? What are the Benefits and Harms of Social Media?

Social media is a media system that provides many opportunities from one-way information sharing to two-way and simultaneous information sharing. With the introduction of web 2.0 into user service, the internet becomes easily accessible to people. At the same time, social media is a social network where users share any ideas or content they produce with other users. This social network; covers many platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Skype, WhatsApp, TikTok.

According to research, the number of people actively using social media globally is approximately 3.96 billion. According to the same study, the rate of use of smartphones, which play an active role in the use of social media, in adults is approximately 4.88 billion. When we consider our total population, we can see that these figures are pretty serious.

In addition to these studies, the use of social media is quite common among young children who are not yet adults. Because nowadays, because technology is now easily accessible, children may have to meet social media, primarily through tablets. For example, a misbehaving child has already taken the first step to meet social media when he starts watching videos by entering YouTube with a tablet held in his hand to keep him quiet. In fact, through these videos he watches, he almost learns the concepts that form the basis of social media, such as "like,” "following," subscribing, and sharing.

Today, when technology is easily accessible, social media is a network that allows people to convey their ideas easily, perspectives, thoughts, daily lives, where they go, what they eat, what they drink, their photos, any important event they experience to other people around them.

So, is there any benefit or harm in using social media for people of all ages? We can address this question under two headings.

Benefits of Using Social Media

Social media, which has become an indispensable reality of today, makes people's lives easier according to its usage area. If we list the benefits of using social media with a few items:

Thanks to social media, people can be informed about current events easily and instantly. Previously, governments manipulated society by using newspapers and television to hide certain events from the public not to cause public outrage. But this situation is now buried in history, so to speak, thanks to social media. Thanks to social media, people can learn about any event on the other side of the world in seconds.

For example, we would not find out about George Floyd, who was strangled to death by a police officer in America. If social media had not existed, and this incident would have been easily covered up. However, the real face of the incident was recorded on video by a person and shared on social media, and this incident, which drew the reaction of the whole world, proved that the police were the real culprits.

Thanks to social media, people also can meet other people with common hobbies and likes. For example, a person interested in pigeon breeding can join groups on pigeon breeding in social media and exchange information about pigeon breeding with other people in these groups.

Through social media, people can easily communicate with their immediate surroundings. Previously, people could communicate with their relatives through postcards or letters. When social media was not active yet, this situation left its place to messaging on phones. After social media has taken place in human life, people can now communicate easily with their relatives through video chats.

Thanks to social media, businesses have the opportunity to reach more customers. Thanks to a one or two-sentence introduction on social media, social media has become possible for business owners to reach potential customers within seconds. Considering the high social media usage rate among people, social media has become a new source of income for business owners in almost every sector.

In addition to the income door it provides to businesses; social media also allows people to work remotely. For example, it has paved the way for several job opportunities such as blog writing, article writing, and site editorial that allow working from home.

Social media also plays a vital role in the field of education. In particular, students who had to stay at home due to the pandemic can receive distance education thanks to social media. In addition, students and teachers can communicate through social media and exchange information about lessons. In addition, they can find the correct information about when schools will be opened firsthand. However, there used to be times when we would wait for hours in front of the television to find out when the schools would be closed, especially during the winter months :)

With social media, people can easily access information. While it used to be necessary to scroll through dozens of encyclopedia pages to have an idea about any subject, nowadays, they can easily access information about the topic, the views, and opinions of experts on the subject, thanks to a few seconds of searching on the internet.

Social media also allows people to talk to famous people and share ideas with them. Thanks to social media, we can now communicate easily with these famous people, whom we previously saw only on television and considered impossible to reach. But despite this, famous people do not respond to every comment, perhaps as a requirement of being famous :)

Social media provides a space where people can express themselves freely. Although the concept of freedom varies according to the states, people can freely express their opinions and views on any subject through social media. Of course, since the idea of freedom can vary from country to country or from person to person, people can find themselves in court corridors or courtrooms because of a few articles they write on social media :)

The Harms of Using Social Media

Social media provides many benefits to human life with its positive aspects. In addition to these benefits, social media has some situations that unfortunately affect people negatively. If we list these negative aspects with a few items:

Social media can create a false world in the human mind. In other words, a person builds a life that he dreams of but cannot achieve through fake profiles and fake photos on social media, and by feeling as if he is living in this artificial world, he may not be able to distinguish the real and the fake over time, but may experience psychological wear and tear. One of the most important reasons people immerse themselves in this imaginary world is that they want to attract the attention of their surroundings in some way, and they do not want to lose this interest. They think that if they break away from this imaginary world they have created, they become more dependent on the fake profile they have established day by day, as they think their interest may decrease.

Social media can dull people's sense of privacy. As we mentioned at the beginning of our article, people may reflect what they eat, drink, visit, and even their home situations on social media, causing the concept of privacy, that is, the privacy of human life, to disappear over time.

Social media is a perfect area for malicious people. Photos, correspondence, personal information, and even bank information of people can fall into the hands of people with malicious intent unless careful attention is paid to social media, which is a medium where thousands of fraudsters wander off by playing with people's financial and moral senses, collecting money under the name of donation and disappearing.

Social media can give people bad habits. Publishing lousy content circulating on social media, including cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs that may encourage addiction, can cause adverse effects, especially for young individuals whose personality is not yet established.

For example, photos or videos shared by a phenomenon name on social media while holding alcohol or cigarettes can set a bad example for their followers, especially for young individuals who see the phenomenon as a role model for them.

Social media can make people antisocial. Although social media has the concept of social in its name, it exposes its users to the danger of being asocial. People who immerse themselves in social media almost completely cut off their connection with the outside. In time, they come to the stage of being deprived of emotions such as touching, feeling, tasting, communicating, and empathizing.

According to the research, people who use social media to the degree of addiction cannot show success in their communication on social media in their real-life communications. Excessive use of social media can also cause people to have communication difficulties in the real world.

Social media can weaken family ties. Social media is the main reason for family dramas that we see on television programs every day. As a result of people's search for happiness, which they think they cannot find in the family environment, in other people via social media, unfortunately, very adverse events (betrayal, cheating, leaving home, divorce, spouse murder) may occur in the family.

In conclusion:

Although social media does not have a positive or negative meaning on its own, it can be classified as beneficial or harmful according to people’s use. It is an undeniable fact that social media makes human life easier if used correctly. However, it will be one of the most positive behaviors that a person will stop using social media when he feels that social media isolating him from his immediate environment and the real world, and if he can't, at least make an effort to reduce the time he spends on social media.

Remember, as long as technology exists, social media will also exist. And with the development of technology, it is evident that social media life will be longer than the life of you, your loved ones, and your environment. That's why our life; Instead of living utterly dependent on social media, it would be best to use social media to its extent and spend time with our family, loved ones, and environment.

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