10 Effects of Social Media That Cannot be Ignored

June 23, 2014

So many of my customers say ‘Yes’ to including social media interaction in their web site but many don’t know why..

In the grand scheme of things, social media is still a relatively new medium. It can be difficult to think of it that way, though, because in its short existence, it has changed our lives in so many ways. Just think about how difficult it is to imagine life without a Facebook status update or seeing what your friend is up to via Snapchat. But with these updates comes change; large scale change. It happens gradually over time, but our social addiction changes the way we think and act, and it’s not always for the better. Sure, there are many positive effects of social media, but the overall effects of social media on society is a mixed bag. We’ll cover the gamut with the following 10 effects of social media that cannot be ignored.

1. Increased awareness of sensitive issues

#YesAllWomen is a hashtag that has been getting a lot of attention lately. Unfortunately, it was brought about by a very tragic incident, but as a result, people are having some very real conversations about women’s rights, misogyny and societal standards. Sometimes, trending topics shed light on a subject that would otherwise be left in the dark.

2. People take action

A campaign in 2012 took social media by storm. The Kony 2012 video went viral in a way that far exceeded the limits of the online world. This social effort sparked people to write letters to the government and post signs on their lawns, and it resulted, at least in part, to the decision of the U.S. Senate to send troops to the African Union. This is just one example of how social media has inspired action, but it happens every day on scales that are large and small.

3. The public is more informed

When something is going on in the world, it’s also happening on social media. Maybe you don’t read the news, maybe you don’t even care, but when you log in to your Facebook account to see what your friends are doing, you can’t help but see the news of a tragic shooting, fire or the results of an election. It’s there; it’s in your face and it’s inviting you to get involved.

4. The world seems smaller

If you’re over 20, you should be able to remember life without social media. You might even be able to remember life without the internet. Didn’t it seem like Kenya was so much further away? Now, you could be sitting at your computer laughing at the same exact video as someone doing the same thing on another continent. YouTube “stars” attend conventions and have fans around the globe. It’s like we’re one step closer to a shared culture. Whether or not that’s a good thing remains to be seen.

5. People can be meaner

Before the internet, trolls were a thing of fairytales. Now, they run rampant on social media. Have you seen them? Dare post something with the wrong use of the word “your” and they will find you. Social media gives us a voice without having to show our faces, but some people are determined to abuse the autonomy. It happens in isolated incidents and it can lead to virtual bullying. Both are unacceptable, but have become a part of our lives nonetheless. When it becomes a real issue is when we’re talking about the effects of social media on children. Young people are too often the victims of cyber bullying.

6. We have a collective need for instant gratification

Want to know what’s going on in the world? Just check Twitter. If there’s anything important happening, it’ll be hashtagged and reported by the masses. In fact, Twitter is often the go-to source for information as it happens. Is there a traffic accident on a main road? Chances are good that someone is tweeting about it. Is there something happening at a convention? Find out about it on social media before it hits the news.

7. The selfie generation

Wondering about the effects of social media on teenagers? We’ve all seen the incessant selfies on social media, and some of us have even been guilty of sharing one too many. But the act of taking a picture of yourself and posting it on social media has been given its own word because it has reached out-of-control status.

8. Providing aid

At a time of terrible tragedy, people rally together on social media. Social networks provide a common ground to organize people who want to help and keep everyone else updated on the latest news. These are cases when social media’s effects on society are immeasurable. Because of the reach and real-time nature of this medium, it’s safe to say that we are able to reach more people in need when they need us.

9. Need to share/overshare

As a society, we have become rather self indulgent, and it’s all thanks to social media. It’s more than just selfies. When we’re used to getting feedback on everything we do, it’s easy to become reliant on that sort of attention. It’s almost as if we cannot function without a daily or weekly dose of adoration. Who said there weren’t psychological effects of social media?

10. Zombification of our society

There are so many great things about social media, but it’s important to know when to put the mobile device down and enjoy real life. If you’ve ever tried to have a conversation with someone who refuses to stop checking their updates, you know this effect all too well. Source: Top 10 SM


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