Social networking sites are more than just a way for friends and family to speak with each other across long distances. It is also a place where people get most of their daily news, get connected with celebrity gossip, and can even send personal messages to many global heads of state. Social networking has transformed how we think about communication, but it has also changed our personal habits in numerous ways.
Did you know that 10% of people under the age of 25 will stop having sex so they can check on social networking push notifications? Here are some other pros and cons of social networking sites to consider.
The Pros of Social Networking Sites
1. It allows up to 2 billion people to communicate with each other.
Facebook is approaching the 2 billion profile page mark rapidly at the time of this writing. Hundreds of millions of people are on the various other social networking sites as well. This provides an effective platform of communication which could conceivably result in everyone having a social networking profile.
2. It facilitates the spread of information.
People can rapidly absorb information thanks to social networking sites. They can also pick and choose which information they wish to absorb so that they can stay informed in niche fields only if they wish. Even the Red Cross recommends that friends and family tell people they are safe after a disaster or tragedy through social media because reports circulate faster than from traditional media sources.
3. It can be used as a law enforcement aid.
Many law enforcement agencies are using social networking sites to help locate missing people, track known criminals, and arrest people who appear in pictures or videos committing crimes. On Facebook, friends can tag other friends in images and this helps law enforcement catch many who attempt to stay anonymous.
4. It’s an easy way to make new friends are improve existing relationships.
Before social networking sites, people would use email or instant messaging to stay in touch. Before that, people would use letters and phone calls to keep up with the family. Social networking allows for constant contact with extended family and friends, helps people meet others with similar interests, and even lets a business provide instant customer service when needed.
5. It improves a person’s overall quality of life.
Friends provide people with a level of accountability that other websites are unable to provide. From diet choices to exercise promotion to the removal of bad health habits, social networking sites can be an effective method to improve someone’s overall quality of life. It may even help with memory retention.
6. It empowers people to be the change they want to see.
From politics to social good, these websites give people the chance to stand up and let their voices be heard on important issues. From student lunches to a political revolution, social networking sites have helped people become the change they wish to see in the world today and this courage helps people to see what their full potential could be.
7. It keeps people from feeling isolated.
Stay-at-home parents, the elderly, and other isolated population demographics feel more connected to the world because of social networking sites. They still get a chance to interact with others and this helps many cope with the feelings of loneliness which occur.
The Cons of Social Networking Sites
1. It divides a person’s attention from other tasks.
Students who use social networking sites while studying, for example, score 20% lower on tests than those who do not use them while studying. When social networking is completely eliminated, there is a 0.8 difference in GPA compared to those who regularly use social networking. Non-users have a 3.8 GPA, while social networking users have an average GPA of 3.06.
2. People don’t always check their facts.
In the 2015 Baltimore Riots, one website reported that Freddie Grey had a preexisting injury that had caused him to die while in policy custody. That source was never verified, but it was shared more than 90,000 times on social networking sites. The information was finally found to be completely false, but that didn’t stop people from forming opinions about the incident because of the information that was broadcast.
3. Way too much information is shared that should stay private.
Oversharing on social networking sites is a major concern. The younger generations tell people everything that they are doing. They’ll even post pictures of their house, their address, and their neighborhood without thinking there will be any consequences. This is the perfect set of information that identity thieves need.
4. Social networking wastes an enormous amount of time.
Social networking sites are listed as the world’s #1 time waster, ranking above fantasy sports and even watching television. It takes the average person at least 20 minutes to switch back to whatever activity they were doing before they decided to log into their preferred social networking site. In 30% of instances, it took someone 2 hours to return to their regular duties.
5. Posts on social media sites can dramatically reduce employment prospects.
Public posts on social media sites are often considered part of the public record. Many employers will look through an applicant’s social media posts and comments to see what kind of person they are. It is not uncommon for unattractive behavior being depicted online to cause a hiring manager to decide that a different applicant is a better fit for an open position.
6. It exposes people to potentially dangerous situations.
Social media site users that have reported on specific incidents of crime or unrest have found themselves in dangerous situations because of their posts. Some journalists in Mexico have even been murdered because of their posts on criminal activities. Location check-ins that apply automatically can put troops in danger, their families in danger, and even put their friends at risk all because of the digital “paper trail” that exists.
7. It harms overall productivity.
If it takes 30% of employees 2 hours to get back onto their assignments after checking a social networking site push notification, then that’s a lot of wasted production that costs employers and the economy at large. Employees still get their paycheck, but employers aren’t receiving the same value per item produced. This ultimately raises prices, causes employee terminations, or both.
Social Networking Sites Have Helped Us All Communicate More Effectively With One Another.
They’ve also create some unique pros and cons that should be evaluated to determine how beneficial these sites happen to be. Where do you prefer to be productive? Online speaking with family and friends? Or completing the projects that you’ve got going on while ignoring social media?