SOCIAL MEDIA: A TWO–EDGED SWORD.

This is not the first post you are reading on social media.

Oh yeah, I am pretty sure.

Borrowing the biblical/historical term, two-edged sword; rightly captures the human experience as it relates to the use of social media.

The social media sphere has cemented its place as a democratized platform that gives everybody access to needed information, eased communication and improved interaction between people beyond the boundaries of geography.

However, how bad are the flip sides?

Although social media has obvious positive impact, there are also some surreal negative impacts that get underplayed very often. So, while most people focus more on the positives, it is imperative to point out the few counter-narratives.

Although social media has made communication and interaction between people and friends, however, there is a possible quicksand of getting oblivious of the real-time while trying so hard to keep up with your friends.

Over the years, we have seen it break relationships and make people drift apart from each other. Come to think of it, as the world gets collapsed into myriads of smaller small screen communities, we have had more quarrels between people starting on social platforms, sometimes it ends there too.

Photo Credits: Benjamin Dada

Have you lost track of time while chatting or surfing the net? Minutes converting into hours faster than normal and you are wishing you can make the clock tick slower. Sometimes its losing sleep to conversations on Whatsapp, Facebook, snapping the Snapchat, looking for the latest clap back on twitter etc chatting with friends either on WhatsApp, Facebook, etc. It gets worse when it becomes an addiction.

On the plus side, Social media has helped to give a sense of belonging, giving a voice to people; liberalizing access to tangible information irrespective of class. We have seen mass actions, elections won(The influence of the media on the 2015 presidential elections, revolutions started(Arab spring) etc.

“In the 21st century, the revolution may not be televised – but it likely will be tweeted, blogged, texted and organized on Facebook, recent experience suggests”- Catherine O’Donnell

It has become a veritable too to demonstrate true democracy in its real sense giving the people a free right to expression. It is open to all and unbiased.

You remember that fallen statue of Lustitia,(lady justice) in front of a certain courthouse that was ignored for some weeks which was immediately fixed when someone posted it on Facebook? Now that’s the power of social media.  Ironically, social media only seems like a voice in the biblical wilderness, not the action itself. Any demonstration needs people on the ground to carry out necessary actions but this is exactly what social media lacks, as one person on the ground is worth more than a million voices on social media.

REAL ISSUES!

While social media helps to shape ideologies and perspectives, it has also been observed to sometimes becloud sense of judgment- promoting irresponsibility with lack of decorum. Again most people always assume others are having it easy, rosy or are living a good and sophisticated life based on their post and status on social media – and as such become discontent with their lives or start trying really hard to impress. The pressure.

However, a good way to get scammed is also through social media. It has helped promote scams and other cyber-crimes, stalking inclusive; as many people tend to give out some vital, personal information on social media without being security conscious. Hence, we can say social media is like a coin with two sides. It needs to be handled maturely and well balanced with real-life imperatives so that it is less detrimental to people. So while in itself, it cannot take on the colouration of good or bad, the user determines the path taken.

It is really a two-edged sword that lives with us and cannot be wiped out because every day, a new app is created to foster communication, information and knowledge.

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