Social networking/mediahas crept into our lives like no other technology revolution in the recent past. The social media revolution has completely transformed how we used to live our lives. In this context, I felt it would be interesting to understand the impact of social media on three major facets of human existence; the psychological impact, revolutionary impact and the social impact Article continues below the advertisement… Psychological Impact: The psychological impact of social media on individuals is immense.
The positive aspect of the entire experience has been the ability to connect with people. The core USP of social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter is its ability to connect with people across the world and this brings a certain sense of joy to people. You would have met lots of your old friends through Facebook and that ability to stay in touch with them irrespective of locations makes it a very positive psychological impact on individuals. However, there is another side to this coin. I know a lot of young adults who wake up to Facebook without even brushing their teeth.
On a personal level, I have known people who have been online on Facebook for ages without even signing out. There comes a point, after the initial connect with old friends, where you would be idling your time on Facebook doing literally nothing for a long time. This idling time makes you lost and completely distracted from what you had initially intended to do. From 10 mins of Facebook, it would have become 2 hours of Facebook at a stretch. So this addiction to social networking sites makes one even unaware of the real time zones, creating a negative impact on people’s mindsets.
This addiction to stay connected and noticed makes one prioritize these small things over many more important activities. Revolutionary Impact: The biggest power of the social medium is the ability to mobilize support for social causes in a very short span of time. The Arab Spring is a point in case for the biggest achievement of the social medium and it also reflected some of its own shortcomings. The advent of the Arab Spring would not have been possible if not for the social media. Both Twitter and Facebook were xtensively used to galvanize support to shake the dictator regime and remove it from office. The Tahirir Square uprising symbolized the potential of social media to trigger and create change in a nation’s prospects. However, it also has showed some of the shortcomings of the medium itself. Even though the social media was able to assist the revolution, it needed people on the ground to sustain it and implement the changes. Almost after a year, they have had their President elected and ironically it is a leader from the radical Muslim Brotherhood.
Social media could not help in implementing change on the ground because its not accountable and its virtual in nature. This entire episode shows the impact power of social media and also shows that social media can trigger and support movements but the success of such movements depends much upon the core issues raised on the ground. Social Impact: One of the biggest successes of the social media revolution is the amount of fairness that intrinsically the social networking sites have especially Twitter.
There is such an open platform for the common citizen to interact and evolve; it shapes many people’s identities and ideologies. Being an open and unbiased medium, it is actually the world’s most efficient democracy in its truest sense. In addition, it helps to provide so much information that it enriches people with loads of information. Information is indeed wealth and this medium provides so much for it. Ironically, this extensive outpouring of information leads to one of the common issues that social media in general faces.
Having an opinion on any issue is a right for any individual, there is no doubt it. However, the power of social media is such that it influences people’s opinions very fast. It also leads to opinion makers who make short sighted comments that might be just fitting for a 140 letter character. There is a certain level of irresponsibility within certain sets of people that leads to this discussion being only a one way street. One way abuse or giving opinions without responsibility makes the social media, at times, an ocean which has varied levels of depth.
While it is a legitimate right for anyone to have their view, it needs to be with decorum that befits educated individuals. Amidst all these various impacts of the medium, one gets the impression that social media has blatantly obvious positives and some surreal negatives that get underplayed very often. Since everyone brags about the positives, the negative impacts at every stage of the assessment need to be also taken into account. It liberates the common man to have his voice heard in an open platform and helps to connect people across generations.
In this process, it also provides him an additional freedom for individuals to air their views on issues. However, this excessive overflow of information and connections can also have a detrimental effect on the personal lives and attitude of individuals if it is not handled in a mature manner. The balance needs to be the key, with regards to the virtual life and the real life, only this balance and a matured democratic mindset can make the social media experience a worthwhile one.