SOCIAL MEDIA AND IT’S IMPACT ON SOCIETY
Author : Yashraj Bais
Social Media is a medium which is used by peoples around the globe to interact, argue and discuss regarding their issues and opinions with the wide group of peoples.
It is significant here to understand the meaning of social media before knowing anything further regarding it’s impact on the society at large.
The Social Media today has become an indispensable part of our life, the small children from their very initial phrase of childhood are getting used to such interactive social media platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.
Such Advancement is both the matter of pleasure and as well as worry for us, pleasure in the sense that from a very small age they are getting acquainted with the technology which will help them in future for achieving productive aims and worry in the sense that such use may sometimes result into severe health problems like Weak Eyesight, Depression, Insomnia, etc and deviation from the pathway of life.
Therefore maintaining a parity between the both is one of the major challenge in the present times.
In today’s world with the growing sphere of Technological Advancement, the social media has that importance in our life as significant as oxygen is to a human body. It is not wrong to term the present era as a ‘Cyber Era’.
If we talk about the number of users on various social media platforms in India than the Facebook has around 241 million users, Whatsapp which is now owned by Facebook also has around 250 millions users in India and lastly the famous video search engine of the World Youtube has around 2 billion users according to a data of 2019.1
My able readers can understand the intensity of dependence and impact of social media on our lives having regard to the huge number of users on various social media platforms.
If we talk about the young generations in the present era, then the social media helps them a lot to build and maintain their professional relations across the World which is must in the present times, the social media platforms like LinkedIn, Google+ and Tumblr is the
1 Mihir Gupta, 5 Popular Social Media Networks in India- According to User Base, (Jul. 05, 2020, 7:15 PM), https://www.nextbigbrand.in/5-popular-social-media-networks-in-india-according-to-user-base/
most accepted and famous platforms for professional use and is a dedicated juncture for maintaining good professional contacts across the globe for the same according to one’s interest and working field.
Social Media can have a huge impact on our minds in many ways like all the business products are promoted via the Social Media Apps these days owing to it’s wide use and acceptance which if transmitted or shown repeatedly can influence our opinion or mind to any extent.
Likewise even the Social Media is used these days for spreading fake news and hatred among the peoples which sometimes can result into very severe consequences like riots, agitation, strikes, etc. which is a very major reason to worry for all us including the Government at Large.
Even it is a matter of great concern that these days the political parties across the Globe are wrongfully mis-using various Social Media Platforms for influencing the persuaders and making their favourable voter base like as it was leaked in the famous Cambridge Analytica Case at America by New York Times that at the time of 58th Presidential elections at America in 2016 (which was disclosed in early 2018) the candidates of Presidential Elections including Ted Cruz and Donald Trump hired the Data Company Cambridge Analytica which had wrongfully accessed the personal data of around 87 million Facebook users and has influenced the Election Campaigns of Donald Trump.
The Company for influencing the minds of voters and building a favourable voter’s bank was sending them specific news feeds of their choice as their Facebook account was easily accessible to them.
The news led to a huge outbreak of “Delete Facebook Movement” in America as it was the biggest data leak scandal of the World in the History of Facebook till date, after which the CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted his mistake in front of the American Parliament and assured to testify and cure the privacy issues at the unrest.
Impact of Social Media on Society:
Social Media can be used in thousands of productive ways like it is used throughout the Globe. Nowadays looking to the huge and wide acceptance and popularity of social media among the public and especially youth it has a very significant and deep impact on us as well as the society.
Social Media can be used in any sphere which is discovered till date by the mankind in both positive and the negative ways like a knife can be used either to cut vegetables in the kitchen or to kill someone, so it totally depends on us as well as our society and environment that in which way they leads social media to derive which outcome from the same, which may be good or bad or both.
Some Positive Impacts and Negative Impacts of the Social Media are as follows:
- Instant Connectivity and Communication: The Social Media provides an instant, communicative and inter-active platform to it’s users having regard to their own interests, purposes and usages. It provides a global connectivity to the peoples breaking all the geographical and territorial boundaries throughout the Planet, which proves extremely useful to peoples belonging to almost all the spheres and verticals for their personal and professional use.
- Handling Contingencies : Social Media has proven the best medium till date to handle efficiently and effectively the emergencies and present situation i.e. spread on pandemic Covid-19 throughout the world. All the agencies and Government Departments of India are using social media platforms and various software to ensure the management of Covid Hospitals, observing the execution of government policies curatively, conduction of meetings via video conferencing apps and staying updated and in close touch with all the concerned officials and politicians with the help of various social media platforms which was impossible without it’s use and it has contributed a lot in the whole.
- The Best Medium of Advertisement: Nowadays the social media platforms are used to promote and advertise the business activities via online mode which proves very beneficial to small vendors and sole proprietors. Few years back the medium of advertisement which was available for promotion to them was Television and Newspapers which was very much expensive and difficult to afford for small and medium business industries or peoples. But now the social media junctures have contributed a lot in expanding their business activities on a very negligible or low costs with providing them access throughout the Nation and even World for expansion of promotion of business activities on Facebook, Go-Daddy, Swiggy, Amazon, Uber, etc.
- Staying Updated and Exchange of useful Information: The Social Media is the best medium for staying updated with all the happenings of your surroundings on a very instant basis. The Doctors are sharing useful information for staying safe with the infection of Covid-19, even the Government is running various awareness campaigns to keep public aware and safe via Facebook and Whatsapp. The social media is used to circulate several important data, information and news stuffs which are very useful for various or specific peoples having regard to the significance of the same from person to person basis. Even the big media houses and reporters nowadays are using social media platforms like Youtube Live, Facebook Live, etc. for covering the news and reaching the audience more instantly. In some cases the police department even used the viral videos of the criminals to investigate and arrest the offenders of the crime which in all aspects helps a lot to everyone. Therefore the social media is the best and useful way to circulate important information relating to Health, Government Policies, News, Crime, etc, with the common public intantly these days.
As every coin has two sides, the use of social media also has both positive and negative impacts, the negative impacts are:
- Rapid Increase in Cyber Crimes: The use of social media have given rise to cyber crimes throughout the world.According to the Internet Crimes Report 2019 released by Federal Bureau of Investigation USA, India stands third among the Top 20 Countries in the victims of cyber crimes. Recently in 2018 a young girl committed suicide after her MMS got viral on the social media. Now we can probably analyse the intensity of negative impact of the use of social media on our society. Some intellects will still blame the girl or their parents or any other individual for occurrence of such crimes but it’s not the matter of blaming others rather it’s the matter of un-ethical use of social media platforms for exploitation of innocent persons which needs to be prevented at the earliest.
- Online Fraud and Scams: Online frauds and scams these days are the prime most concern of our Government and citizens, According to a Survey conducted in 2019 under the banner of NortonLifeLock by Harris Pollthe cyber criminals in 2019 had stolen around Rs. 1.2 trillion from Indians among which the cyber crime victims was around 131.2 millions in India from among the 350 million worldwide which is a huge number and a big reason to worry. The cyber criminals are using social media platforms to fulfil their mala-fide intensions and executing the cyber crimes which is also a
challenge in front of the Cyber Cells and Police Department throughout the Nation. This probably is the greatest negative impact of social media on our society as well as Country.
- Affects badly the Physical and Mental Health: The excessive use of social media is affecting very adversely the mental health of the users and especially youngsters. The users are giving more priority to the virtual connections rather than real relations which is pushing them in the “Vicious Trap of Loneliness”. According to various studies and health experts the use of social media to a greater extent can result into various severe health issues like weak eyesight, insomnia, suicidal tendency, sedentary lifestyle, anxiety, depression,, depressive illness, etc. Therefore everything is necessary but it must be in limit, excessive even vegetables are detrimental for our health. Therefore this aspect must be paid proper heed by our social media users and other concerned individuals to make success the saying of “Health is Wealth”.
Lastly from the above hopefully it is crystal clear in the minds of my able readers that social media has both positive and negative impact on our society, now it totally depends on us that in what way we choose and in which direction we take the same. Social Media can be used for lakhs of positive and professional purposes so we must do the same to prosper and to make our Nation prosper with the flying colors in the sky. I hope that we will be seeing the social media on a new horizon in the coming years.
 Matthew Rosenberg and Nicholas Confessore, How Trump Consultants exploited the Facebook Data of Millions, (Jul. 05, 2020, 8:30 PM), https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/17/us/politics/cambridge-analyticatrump-campaign.html
 Pinto Deepak, India stand third among top 20 cyber crime victims, says FBI report, (Jul. 06, 2020, 10:30 AM), https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2020/feb/23/india-stands-third-among-top-20-cyber-crime-victimssays-fbi-report-2107309.html
 India TV, Meerut girl commit suicide after her MMS got viral, family suspects love jihad angle, (Jul. 06, 11:30 AM), https://www.indiatvnews.com/video/news/meerut-girl-commits-suicide-after-her-mms-goes-viral-familysuspects-love-jihand-angle-420674
 Riju Mehta, Cyber criminals stole Rs. 1.2 trillion from Indians in 2019: Survey, (Jul. 06, 2020, 11:45 AM), https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/wealth/personal-finance-news/cyber-criminals-stole-rs-1-2-trillion-fromindians-in-2019-survey/articleshow/75093578.cms?from=mdr
 Alex DiRenzo, How Can Social Media Affect Your Health? (Jul. 07, 2020, 6:30 PM), https://sysomos.com/2016/10/27/can-social-media-affect-health/