Evaluating the Rise of Social Media Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Social media involves online content that people use via highly accessible technologies. Basically, social media marks a change in the way people read, discover and share information, news and content. Therefore, social media fuses technology and sociology leading to a change in monologues into dialogues and also marks information democratization, making everyone an author instead of being a mere content reader. Social media has become very popular since it enables people interaction through the internet to create relations useful for different reasons including political, personal and business. Businesses consider social media to be an amalgamation of consumer-generated media. The social media takes different forms like, blogs, Internet forums, wikis, pictures, podcasts and video. Therefore, it is obvious that the Internet is a fundamental social medium (Customer Centric Business Strategies, n.d.). This may not change since people endeavor to engage with each other online; hence, social media is going to be available in a form that accommodates this need. This paper considers talking about how social media can be a good thing and also talks about how social media can be harmful (poor information, depression, lack of exercise, addiction, etc.).

Introduction

One can no longer neglect the major phenomenon that is social media. Tools such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or the various Blogs have won rapid success and tremendous popularity. Social media networks have emerged as mainstream communication channels, transformed personal relationships, enabled individuals to have a say in numerous issues, and created new challenges and possibilities to aid collaboration. Organizations urgently require not only a focal point for innovation of new services and products, but also require awareness of effective sharing of knowledge; this can be vital to their success. Incorporating and employing social media has immense potential advantages for businesses as well as for individuals (Gaal, Szabo & Obermayer-Kovacs, 2015). Electronic communication exchange increasingly takes place by way of social networking, as more and more people utilize this flourishing communication method to share stories and express themselves. This sharing potentially benefits not only the people involved, but also the overall society. However, while sharing stories via social media poses great potential benefits, using it in business settings is not always without risk (Jennings, Blount & Weatherly, 2014). This article, by examining social media utilization, will review social media usage in terms of its influence on users, from the perspective of secondary research. It will also consider potential drawbacks and provide potential remedies for negative aspects of the use of social media.

Background

Internet advancements in recent times have allowed businesses to avail themselves of new systems: one good example being social media, such as online communities. Firms ranging from Purina Cat Chow to Starbucks now have strong web presences that include Facebook pages, complete with 'deals', coupons, and bonuses for the consumer who goes to the business pages. Common internet availability has accorded people the opportunity of using social networking, ranging from email to Facebook to Twitter, and interacting without the necessity of face-to-face meetings. Web 2.0 applications have facilitated this. Web 2.0 is a recent advancement that has transformed the Internet, making it a social hub via introduction of social media, wherein individuals can communicate and create content online. Web 2.0 gives users easier participation and more interconnectivity on the internet. With an upsurge of social networking sites, a new content creation era has emerged, in which people can share information and experiences easily with others. While sharing stories via social media poses great potential benefits, making use of it isn't without risk (Hajli, 2014).

Positive effects

Social networking sites began as places where one could connect with friends in a convenient, easy manner. In all honesty, many people may have found old school/college pals, with whom they had lost touch for some or the other reason, through social networks - I have - and I'm thankful to social media for this. Social media offers opportunities to build stronger friendships with those whom we can't personally meet; opportunities to connect with others -- both 'new' and 'old' friends; opportunities to keep friends and/or family and acquaintances informed about our lives; and opportunities to both obtain and share information concerning the events occurring in our lives.

All of these are available through social networks. Individuals can raise their voices and communicate their perceptions and thoughts with regards to different subjects (from politics to pop-stars) through social media, with a huge potential audience. This feature of sharing, available on social networks, ensures that individual opinions on topics reach vast audiences (even those who are not on one's 'friends list'). The option to form groups with like-minded individuals, share related information, and to invite input and/or opinions on any topic, is also possible. There are tremendous options available for interactions with other people on social networking sites (Ali, 2012). As well, many individuals have realized that social media provides a way of 'handling' issues that relate to consumerism. For example, if the product one purchases breaks too soon, one can post a complaint on the Facebook page of the business. This often, almost surprisingly fast, results in a response from the company, generally aimed at solving the issue. Indeed, many individuals have stated that when calling a company failed to result in help with an issue, posting a complaint on their Facebook page resulted in a very rapid and generally positive response for the consumer. Companies that use social media are well aware that ONE complaint translates as potentially thousands of dissatisfied customers and/or lost sales and they work hard to have a positive social-media presence. As well, there are now lectures, classes, and presentations on how to use social media for business. (Ali, 2012)

Social networking forms a vital part of many people's lives. They might not realize it, but most people subconsciously log on to their favorite social networking site to have a look at the updates they've received, immediately after switching on their laptops or desktops for web accessing. Businesses have taken note of the importance of social media in individuals' lives, and are employing different techniques for promoting their products. Various customized applications are being created on these social platforms, with the chief purpose of promoting brands or products. As marketing via social media is cost-efficient and huge audiences are available for brands, organizations are making a greater shift in the direction of social marketing (Ali, 2012).

Negative effects

A variety of research has shown that extensive social media use can actually lead to addiction in users. All through the day, users are inclined to post stuff on pages, or go through posts by others. Using social media becomes a significant part of their lives. Extreme social media usage has reduced human interaction levels. Because of these social networks, interacting with others has become relatively effortless, and individuals seem to isolate their lives behind their identities on social networks. Face-to-face meetings and interactions have reduced and several people have forgotten the charm and flavor of being together under a single roof.

Businesses mostly make use of social media to find and communicate with clients. Use of social media can be a huge distraction to company personnel during work hours; some employees may be more interested in replying to their friends' online posts than in completing work tasks. Two research studies that revealed productivity losses due to social networking were recently posted by wired.com. Nucleus Research related that employee use of Facebook cuts office productivity by 1.5%; Morse reported that British organizations lost an estimated 2.2 billion per year due to employee use of social networking. New technology is available for businesses that enables blocking of social networks; their effectiveness, however, remains inconsistent (Ali, 2012).

Discussion

Socialization and Communication

Social networking sites enable teenagers to accomplish many tasks online which they consider as important offline: making new friends, being and/or staying connected with family and friends, exchanging ideas, and sharing pictures. Participation in social networks can also offer adolescents profound benefits that encompass growth in their understanding and opinions of self, the community, and the general world. These benefits include:

1. Opportunities to engage in community programs that raise charity money and volunteering in local events, which include philanthropic and political events;

2. Enhancing individual and group creativity by developing and sharing musical and artistic endeavors;

3. Development of concepts by creating podcasts, blogs, gaming sites, and videos.

4. Expanding one's online connections by way of shared interests, and including individuals belonging to more diverse communities. This kind of communication is a vital step for every adolescent, and brings with it opportunities for tolerance, respect and more discussions about global and personal issues.

5. Furthering one's unique social abilities and personal identity.

Accessing Health Information

Users of social media are learning that it is also easy to access information online regarding health concerns. First-rate health resources can be increasingly found on various matters of interest, ranging from stress-reduction, depression symptoms, and sexually transmitted diseases. Use of social media and/or web-sources provides anonymity in gathering information. Adolescents suffering from…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Ali, S. (2012, August 8). Social Media - A Good Thing or a Bad Thing? Retrieved, from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/social-media-good-thing-or-bad-thing

Fernandez, A. (2011). Clinical Report: The impact of social media on children, adolescents and families. Archivos de Pediatriadel Uruguay, 82(1), 31-32.

Gaal, Z., Szabo, L., & Obermayer-Kovacs, N. (2015).The Power of Social Media in Fostering Knowledge Sharing. Proceedings Of The European Conference On Intellectual Capital, 114-121.

Hajli, M.N. (2014). A study of the impact of social media on consumers. International Journal Of Market Research, 56(3), 387-404. doi:10.2501/IJMR-2014-025

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