Is social media bad for us? Connecting us, reaching out and creating new friendships that might not otherwise have happened. Yet there’s a friend sitting next to you at the table wondering why you’re constantly on your phone. You got the job via social media, but now your boss wants you to get back to work — stop Facebook stalking! Here we take a look at the pros and cons of social media so you can make it work for you.
What are the pros and cons of social media?
- Connects us all. You can find people who would have otherwise dropped off the face of the earth, at least as far as you’d know. More than that, as we all travel around the globe we get to have that immediate link connecting us to our friends and family.
- You can suss someone out. When you get hit on by a guy in a bar, look him up and see what he’s really about and whether you would like to meet him again. You no longer have to go into that date blind.
- Information is readily available. We can find out anything we want. Research is easy, no more books to endlessly page through, rather a couple of clicks and you have the information you need. Group discussions are a click away.
- If you’re looking to find advice or support regarding something you’re dealing with and would prefer to get help but remain anonymous, just have a look online and you’re sure to get the support you need. If anonymity is not an issue, Facebook has tons of support groups available, most of which are ‘closed groups’, so friends and family won’t see your posts. No need to feel alone. Not in this age.
- Companies can benefit greatly from social media. The opportunity is there for free marketing, the ability to increase website traffic and engage with customers immediately. Customer feedback, market research and all round improved networking opportunities with customers and other companies are also huge advantages.
- You can suss someone out. Let’s say that guy you met in the bar looked you up — saw that you liked hiking and reading Margaret Atwood’s books. And now there he is chatting about his love for hiking and, oh, he slipped Margaret Atwood into the conversation. Is this for real? Or has he done his research?
- No face time — not face time as in computer face time, but a real, human connection. Checking your phone all the time and not being present in the moment with the people you are with is neither good nor healthy. And quite frankly, can drive some people batty.
- Too much misinformation. These days anyone can create a blog or discussion group. People believe everything they read on the internet, so the information is spread as fact. Always make sure you double check the information you receive. Fact checking is the way forward.
- Too much information. People can know so much about you without you realising that they do. Information is readily available and most people don’t know that what they share is being made public. You need to be extra careful and make sure you aren’t sharing anything you don’t want to. Have a look at the privacy setting to ensure you are getting the privacy you need.
- No work, all play. People spend lots of valuable work time surfing the net, often biding their time ‘Facebook stalking’ some random person they knew in high school. Back to work people!
“We don’t have a choice as to whether we do social media, the question is, how well we do it.” — Eric Qualman