Are Social Media Networks Good for Society?
According to socialnetworking.procon.org, 47% of American adults used social networking sites in 2011, a percent that is up by 26% since 2008. These sites included examples such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.. Statistics such as these just prove that SMNs continue to rise throughout the years as more of the members of society catch on to the craze. As most of you may know, these sites are used as communication portals and not only that, they promote online communities and groups. So the big question remains: Are social networks are a good thing for society? Or rather are they just hindering communication and becoming a huge distraction to individuals?
Yes, I will admit they are extremely addictive and distracting (I know from personal experience over the years), BUT let’s take a look at the bigger picture. SMNs are a place for people to research, express their feelings, share their thoughts, meet new individuals, and reconnect with past friends. These online communities that are created through SMNs “promote increased interaction with family and friends; offer teachers, librarians and students valuable access to educational support and materials; facilitate social and political change; and disseminate useful information rapidly.” Many would argue that SMNs ultimately hurt interactions outside of the online world but social networking.procon.org discusses how social networking sites allow individuals to improve and strengthen their relationships as well as make new friends. The website states that 70% of social networkers use SMNs to connect with friends and family. This is especially important when reaching out to family and friends who are long-distance. Social networks make it easier for individuals to contact people and staying in touch with them is simpler through social networking.
Another pro for why social networks are good for society from social networking.procon.org is that they are good for the economy. Who knew? SMNs create job opportunities and have opened up numerous new industries. Not only that, the industries continue to grow. Socialf5.com reports that, “there was time, when people accessed social networking sites for chatting and personal interaction. But now these platforms are being used for a more serious cause, called business”. They go on to discuss how sites such as Facebook and Twitter have thousands of employees and this just illustrates that SMNs are bringing jobs into what’s considered to be a bad, jobless economy. So maybe SMNs aren’t just boosting productivity in individuals personal lives but also in the economy and job market across the country?
Though there are multiple positive (as well as negative) things about SMNs one last one to focus on is that social networking sites help senior citizens feel more connected to society. SMNs don’t just help the younger generations they also have an impact on the older generation as well. I never thought I’d see the day that gram joined Facebook or Twitter but hey, I guess we shouldn’t hold our breath! A 2010 Pew Internet & American Life Project study showed that the 74-years of age and older group is the fastest growing demographic on these social media sites. So whoever said SMNs were only for young people spoke too soon. Seniors actually feel better and happier being connected online. SMNs allow the elderly to stay busy, entertained, and they also give them the opportunity to LEARN. You’re never too old to learn and SMNs are fascinating tools that just about anyone can understand. Seniornet.org states that “just because one is retired or out of school doesn’t necessarily mean one wants to stop learning.” For seniors Facebook can offer so many benefits enabling them to, like other individuals, get in touch with old friends. With that, grandma can stay up-to-date on what her grandchildren are doing and see pictures even if she lives across the country.
SMNs in general allow for an enormous amount of benefits, for all ages. Not only that they seem to positively affect society, both economically and in the communication realm. Social media networks are shaping our society faster than expected. It’s humbling to know that they’re not an addictive annoyance all the time and they really do offer great, positives for society.
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