Social Media – good or bad, that is the question

By Kate Anderson, Staff Writer

In the past 10 years alone, the way we use and communicate through social media has changed exponentially. The world of opportunities is endless with something as simple as an internet connection and a device. My generation has grown up expecting things to be done at the touch of a button, so much so that if something is taking too long or not going the way they expect it to, they begin acting like children who couldn’t have the candy at the grocery store.

We begin to see these two contrasting ideas begin to form; social media expedites communication in a way like never before and social media has given our brain an idea of a warped reality. This trend proves that there are definitely pros and cons of social media.

There are lots of positive to social media. It has provided a pathway for receiving information virtually the minute it happens, and it is because of this that the number of criminals caught and persecuted has actually increased. Police departments have set up twitter accounts to watch for criminals who are dumb enough to brag about their crimes on the internet.

And it’s not just professionals who are helping catch these criminals; regular, everyday people are actually using social media and following news source accounts and keeping an eye out for criminals who may be roaming around the streets. This is reducing the threat to American citizens every day and is definitely one of the pros of using various social media.

Social media has also brought people together. We read and see stories of a mom and her long lost son, a girl and her biological mother, two elementary school best friends who moved apart in 6th grade connecting because they find each other online. Social media provides a platform for connections to be made and old flames to become ignited again. With practically a touch of a button people can search for someone and a list of results come up as fast as your internet connection. Social media has not only connected people on a personal level, but websites and apps like LinkedIn have connected people with current or future employers.

Social media in the school setting has had both a positive and negative impact. There is a direct, positive correlation between the use of social media and student’s grades in school. Through educational websites and apps, like Edmodo, students can post and have conversations about confusing school work or concepts that maybe were not covered enough in class. Through this students work together to decipher problems and it ends up benefiting them because they are strengthening their critical thinking skills.

A negative side of social media in school is that a lot of students choose not to use these resources wisely, so instead of helping with their grades, students become so focused on their various social media accounts that they actually negatively impact their grades. People can sit on their phones for hours on end just scrolling through the news feeds on all of their various social medias and end up wasting so much time that could have been spent on studying or being productive with their lives.

Unfortunately, there are other problems with the usage and growth of social media. The biggest problem with social media is the extent of miscommunication and reporting of false news that is passed on through retweets or shares of a post.  Too many people believe everything they read on social media to be true. Many blogs or accounts that claim to be legit are fueling the gossip fire by twisting words into something that will grab the population’s attention. And most of the time this works well for them, but it is a serious problem. The spreading of false information only creates anxiety and panic among people.

A final con, and the one that has affected my life, is the lack of face to face conversation. I hate this about social media because it allows cowards to hide behind a screen and post whatever they want without direct repercussions, and the majority of the time people who do this would not make the negative comment to someone’s face. It makes a person less respectable if they can’t stand up for what they believe or want to say in a real conversation offline. People who have grown up with social media have become more and more passive aggressive which is not a good thing because then problems never get solved because they just ignore them and throw a side comment every once in a while.

There is no denying social media has completely changed the game and makes life easier, but how much of this thing is a good thing. I’ll leave that up to you to decide.