Social Media: Boon or Bane?

Today, in the modern era, social media rules all. Hanging out with a friend? Post it on Facebook. At a cricket match? Make a snap. Want to express your views on last night’s match? Tweet it. Social media has completely engrossed itself into our lives. Friendship isn’t measured in how many valuable moments you share, its measured in how much you tag each other on Facebook. is old news,

As they say “Online is old news, online in social media is today’s news, social media is not a subset of the internet, social media is the internet.” This saying looks false on paper, trust me, it is not. Facebook is the world’s second-highest earner of money through online advertising, it contains millions and millions of profiles and enough data to know you better than your wife. In fact, Facebook knows what to serve to you according to what pages you visit, what posts you share, what you like, what you comment on, what groups you join and what you search for. It collects mountains and heaps and oceans of data, and it doesn’t stop there. Facebook and it’s biggest subsidiary, Instagram, share data too. If you like a post of mangoes shipped from India on Facebook, you might encounter an advertisement for the same on Instagram. Facebook traces you across the internet, it doesn’t leave you, it sticks to you.

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However ‘sticky’ social media may seem, it actually has a lot of benefits. Recently, Mark Zuckerburg introduced a new feature into Facebook’s armada of features, he made helplines available for people in disaster zones. Facebook would track disasters, by looking at social media posts and activity of people stuck in those disasters, then it would give that data to relief agencies and governments, in order to carry out better search and rescue missions. This, at the surface, shows how Facebook can manipulate data in order to commit actions that are optimistic and helpful and humane but under the hood, it shows how much Facebook tracks you. Business wise, social media is great for advertising, businesses can promote their products and get far better outreach. Not only this,  but social media promotes a new kind of feature, awareness, you get to know about the latest, most exclusive news as soon as it is released. This may sometimes be undermined by hocus-pocus, such as fake news stories and pointless rumours but mass and promoted and targeted advertising has its benefits. Social media solves the problem of instant communication, you can chat away with your friends on Snapchat without having to wait for even a second, a feat which would’ve been considered impossible twenty years ago.

Social media is now a public phenomenon, as said by Erik Qualman, “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media the question is, how well you do it.” People are judged on the basis of what they do on social media, social media determines how wide your social circle is. It is indeed a wonderful way to determine whether or not you should follow this or that but why involve it so much into your routine that it determines who your friends are?

On the contrary, there are some negatives to social media, and plastered at the forefront of those negatives is data management by the social media hubs we love so much. Did you know that employers go through your social media activity? A habit that was introduced after social media became a massive point of discussion worldwide. In addition, Facebook adds every single click to its massive library of pointers which helps to determine what makes it to your wall, if you click on a link with the tags, football, Messi, Barcelona, you will find posts with those same tags making it to your wall across multiple social media engines, and did you know that any potential pessimistic link or post on your profile, any malicious thing associated with it, any sort of trouble at all, and you might suddenly find yourselves rejected for your dream job, and oh, don’t forget that universites may soon establish social media parameters that applicants must fall under, not only does social media dictate your daily life, it affects your future in a way that is set to be unrivalled.As said by Erin Bury “Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want to be plastered on a billboard with your face on it.”

The non-social person has a pretty strong argument, and that is: Social Media wastes time. Frankly, it does. What personal goal or level of achievement do you achieve by scrolling through millions of posts relating to music, cooking, sarcasm, pets, sport and just pure distractive and attractive stuff.

Also, you can argue that social media might just dictate too much of your private life, not every part of your life needs to be on social media, not every selfie you took with your best friend needs to be posted on Instagram and not every but of your opinion regarding Ronaldo’s haircut needs to be tweeted. Snapchat isn’t your personal daily life compiler, please don’t upload photos and stories about every single thing ranging from hair dryers to how many burgers you had yesterday. Don’t give so much data to the internet, one post a month is more than enough, according to me. I don’t even have Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat accounts, in sharp contrast to the everyday high-schoolers who spread themselves on their phones the moment they get them. What is so decent and ‘social’ and post-like about you clicking photos of random people and at random moments, why do you want to post it on social media and reduce their lives to mockery, apart from letting social media flood you, you’re allowing to be a means for you to post weird photoshop edits that sometimes go on to ridicule people, sometimes even drastically increase their stress levels and push them to depression, perhaps even suicide.

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In the end, how successful you will be can perhaps be measured in how much you can resist the pull of social media.

“I see Twitter, and I see my physics textbook, I see Instagram and then there’s my cricket bat, I see snapchat and my latest test score an all-time low, everything in the balance but there’s something else, it’s calling to me, its name is Facebook, it’s powerful, I can see it going through millions of lines of code and manipulating people and data, it’s strong, I can feel it and it’s calling to me, pulling me, it’s going to destroy me.”