Social media platforms are ubiquitous. Everyone is scrolling infinitely through various feeds.
The explosion is partly thanks to marketing and pandemic, where people felt connected to the world.
Social media is staggering with numbers that are increasing by the day. Facebook had 2.7 billion+ users by mid-2020. And the current world population is 7.9 billion (as of September 2021), according to Worldometer.
But when you introspect the pros and cons – or advantages and disadvantages of social media, many factors come into play, depending on how you and the world see it.
Of course, social media has opened pandora’s box, but it has its benefits and drawbacks.
Social Media Advantages and Disadvantages
If you have avoided social media for so long – pat yourself on your back. So, if you want to get on it or have a child who’s on it and worried about its effects, this article is for you.
I have listed 20 advantages and disadvantages of using social media.
Social media is a haven when used as an advantage. But, it can turn anyone’s life miserable if used as a disadvantage. Following are some of the common advantages and disadvantages of social media.
|Related: 7 Benefits of Staying Off Social Media|
Advantages of Social Media
1. Worldwide connectivity
With social media, you can connect with your friends, no matter where they live.
I connect with my US and UK friends over WhatsApp voice/video calls, and it feels great to stay in touch with them. After all, social media is all about connecting.
Moreover, every platform is easily accessible and free, so anyone can use it anytime, anywhere!
2. Lightning-fast information
One social media has the capability of going viral in minutes, depending on how people relate to it.
When it comes to such platforms, it can be used to spread the news about the fire, current events, weather information, finding missing dogs and humans, or the latest gadgets.
The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic saw people spread information for those who needed oxygen and beds, which was life-saving for many.
3. Educational process
Social media’s biggest benefit is that it aids in the educational process.
Many researchers believe that social networks have piqued the interest of students, in terms of distance education and the likes.
Social media combined with internet tools can be used to reap the benefits of education.
4. Exploring mental health
If you follow relevant accounts on social media, they will function as a mental health reliever or stress buster. Y
ou can take a break and read those motivating quotes, or build concrete relationships with those who need your expertise or vice versa.
There are discussions on what’s right and how to tackle the wrongs. With the right people, you can build great relationships with the people by promoting well-being.
5. Online marketing
This one is obvious! Online marketing is all rage now and thanks to the advent of social media, anyone can get promoted material.
With the sponsored segment now a thing, it’s easier to attract more consumers with engaging social media content. Add to that offers, discounts, and other such posts that are a definite buyer magnet.
6. Supporting noble deeds
Yes, many people do use social media for noble deeds. Asking people to adopt pets, provide funds to those in need, or donating money to people who have suffered a tragedy. Again, the second wave is a good example here.
With Stories, Reels, and the likes, it has become easier to promote a noble cause. This onus falls on the influencers, who at times, are criticized for promoting a wicked thing.
7. Interaction with customers
Companies interact with their loyal consumers via direct messages (or DM), replying to their comments, or simply getting feedback on their services. I always provide feedback when asked for, as its sole aim is to improve how the company functions in the public domain.
Social media is synonymous with sharing. Since sharing is caring, we do a lot of that. You can share your work, your work setup, tips and tricks for the latest iPhones, or your artwork that took a week to make.
You can share anything that brings a smile to your face and the reader’s face. Please, don’t give too much information such as your address, contact information, or credit card details. These are a huge n0-n0!
9. Searching for your next job
LinkedIn is a great example of this segment. Many of the renowned firms use social media for finding suitable candidates.
I have seen many deals signed merely in the comments section. Yes, that does happen.
That is why people create an online profile that is intended to sell their talents. You can also learn about how a company functions and gain desired opportunities.
Not just LinkedIn, people use Twitter and Facebook to find jobs and that is phenomenal.
10. Building communities
Social media aids in the unification of people that belong to various religions, communities, and backgrounds.
When ‘Black Lives Matter’ was trending, people came forward to help the victims by connecting them through social media. This creates a feeling of oneness.
11. Catching criminals
Believe it or not, some fools commit crimes and leave digital traces of them everywhere, only to be found by hackers hired by the police departments.
Most of the time, criminals assault people and film it on their phones. They post it on social media to showcase how strong they are, but in reality, their stupidity leaves a path for police to catch them.
The other aspect is police finding digital clues, which link where a person was or what he/she was doing.
12. Achieve healthy goals
If you want to read more, you can join a book club on Instagram, or follow a cricket page for facts and current news.
When you do any such thing, you make friends with people who live long distances. You can also form habits by letting your peers hold you accountable.
13. Aiding political change
Many believe that social media played a huge role in Trump’s election loss and Modi’s huge win.
Political campaigns get intensive on social media, thanks to rallies and marches that are promoted on the social media pages. Social media can increase voting rates and expedite political change.
14. Facilitating professional growth
Social media is a huge push you need, career-wise. It’s a superb promoter when it comes to online marketing and business. People go viral with one post, while others take many years to reach that mark.
It all depends on the trending topics and your skills in promoting yourself. With relevant promotion and skills, you’ll start climbing the stairs to success. You can also build rapport and extend your network, which can take you places.
You can participate in the collective funding of a project with the help of crowdfunding and crowdsourcing. These two are effective methods that can overcome any financial issues.
16. Discussing current events
Social media is a great place to talk about trending events. Be it iPhone 13 launch (or iPhone 14 leaks), fires, or a statement by a politician. If you can keep your ego aside, social media allows for exceptional interactivity.
Clubhouse is the latest example, which took the world by storm during its inception.
17. Going viral
People go viral for no reason. Feeding stray dogs, unboxing an expensive device, dancing on a song, or showcasing talent. You should know that pop star Justin Bieber was discovered on YouTube. All the more reason to be active on social media!
18. Emergency contact
You can contact or get in touch with the entire world to convey an emergency for events such as wildfire, terrorist attacks, pandemics, or even hurricanes.
19. Increase in national integrity
You are free to celebrate the nation’s success with posts and videos showing your patriotism. It could be climbing a mountain, promoting awareness, or cheering for a winning team.
Yes, social media sites can be a source of entertainment. I know a few people who use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. for a little light relief, that could consume their entire evening.
Disadvantages of Social Media
1. Privacy problems
This is a given! When you upload too many photos, your followers know where you are, where you live, and some parts of your routine.
Oversharing has gotten people fired, some were robbed, while some were dead. Yes, privacy issues can be life-threatening. A simple solution is not to share too much.
I also recommend everyone keep their privacy settings updated and choose a locked profile.
People are no strangers to cyberbullying. Children, independent women, vocal supporters of a certain policy, etc. have been a victim of cyberbullying.
It’s easy to create fake accounts, drop nasty comments on people’s profiles as such people stay anonymous unless the victims file a complaint and get them arrested.
Cyberbullying is also a way of promoting propaganda, thereby causing a toxic environment in society and the country.
Stalking is a by-product of cyberbullying, of which many women are a victim. One should never ignore the threat that is cyberbullying.
3. Spread of fake news
One of the advantages of social media is spreading the news, the other side of the same coin is spreading misinformation.
If a news anchor or a celebrity posts something, people take it as gospel truth and keep it forwarding till it becomes a threat to someone.
People have been lynched because of false information and this is a serious matter. This is why WhatsApp capped the limit of forwarding messages to 5 people at a time.
Well, another dark side of social media is hacking. If you aren’t careful with your passwords and with whom you share them, your data is in danger.
Nowadays, people run their lives on their smartphones. Banking apps, dating apps, messaging apps, etc. hold crucial information and if leaked, it ruins people.
5. Ruins reputation
When lovers have a fallout, the toxic partner threatens to release their intimate images/videos on social media or porn sites. Even though time mainly comes under cyberbullying, if executed, it does ruin the reputation.
Social media can make and break a person. Negative reviews, roasts, and propaganda against a person or a brand mar their reputation. And as we all know, history remembers only the negative part.
6. Wasting time
Half the people on social media are wasting their time. We have all done that. The infinite scrolling and going through multiple profiles is great at wasting time.
Many parents consider social media as the leading time waster for teenagers and students. The second could be gaming.
We all have something better to do, but instead, we fall prey to the doom scrolling. Limiting the amount of time spent on such apps can help.
7. Distracted mind
Right from morning till night, we check our phones, as of they are our lifeline. The 24×7 buzzing of notifications keeps us distracted.
Family time is a forced narrative for many people these days, as many prefer to watch and eat rather than eating our meals mindfully.
People also get distracted if they don’t get certain likes on their posts or if someone unfollows them.
We should talk more and text less.
8. Changes to lifestyle habits
Using a phone first and the last thing in the morning can affect our sleep, according to many studies.
Be it checking emails or scrolling through social media, we waste our precious time when we could very well be doing something productive.
Not just sleep, the way you connect with people, your expectations of them, etc. affect our daily lives.
9. Relationship issues
Polygamy is sadly a thing. When couples break up, they go to dating sites or DM people to hook up. Some do it while they are still committed.
We should know that what people post on social media isn’t 100% true. If you date them thinking they are rich, you could be disappointed when you know all they did was borrow their friends’ cars.
This then leads to expectations, getting hurt, finding temporary comfort, and cheating.
The other part of the conversation is the missing element of love, friendship, enjoyment, peace, and much more, thanks to the constant usage of social media.
10. Lacks emotional connection
Yes, the main core of social media is forming connections. But sometimes, these connections seem to lack the basic component – emotions.
We do things to please people, we comment on their posts out of fear or friendship pacts. Not everyone means what they say. One should keep it simple and only let a few people into their lives, even online.
11. Demotes family intimacy
Why be on our phones texting strangers when we can be having meaningful conversations with our family. In my house, there’s a rule – no phone while eating. It’s one way to connect with them.
Instead of scrolling through social media feeds, we should enjoy the film that we watch with our families.
12. Lessening quick-witted skills
Pandemic has made me anxious. When I step out, I get worried as face-to-face conversations have reduced for almost one and a half years now.
Social media has the same effect. With the decreased real-time face-to-face conversations with our circle, people have forgotten how to socialize.
The Internet has made us less quick-witted and more of a zombie.
13. Physically present, but not mentally
We say one thing and mean one thing. That is the gist of social media.
We aren’t 100% present in our environments, where our physical body resides. Instead, our minds want to know how the person could afford that vacation.
Overuse of social media causes stress, anxiety, and depression in some cases as we give real-time friends and interactions a miss.
Instead of multitasking – using social media while watching a movie with family, one should keep down the phone and be present – physically and mentally.
14. Lacking thoughtfulness
Words are a double-edged sword – they can express or hide the real meaning. We don’t the whether the person was being sassy or downright rude.
People leave their racist thoughts, body-shame people, or insult other people in their comment section without thinking that they are humans, too!
Since many remain anonymous, being opinionated is an easy thing as real-time face-to-face conversations isn’t possible.
Yes, computers and smartphones can get viruses from social media. People steal, hide, and sell things that aren’t legitimate. Sharing passwords, opening an infected email, etc. can invite a trojan horse into your phones.
Scams, computer viruses, fraud, and identity theft all occur on social networking sites.
16. Zero authenticity
I know a few clients that give a reference of a website or a content material with the intention that they want the same. But that’s cheating.
Many people paraphrase articles, copy logos, script ideas, music themes from social media, and pass them on as their own.
Even children use social networking sites to copy assignments.
Reference isn’t a bad thing, but if you go overboard, then it is cheating.
17. Promoting agendas
Social media is being used to promote agendas – be it of a political party, or an ideology.
Terrorism is the best example. ISIS has been recruiting people through social networking sites, brainwashing, and convincing them that the will of God is different.
The same goes for hate groups. They are formed solely to ruin people’s reputations and promote themselves.
18. Too many advertisements
Aggressive advertisements can undermine the user experience. Instagram has several ads that could be helpful to some, but a pain in the neck for others.
19. Copyright issues
If you want to roast a music group by using their music, then YouTube will give you copyright strikes.
It depends on how you see it. If you want to make a rendition, then you’ll have to give credit, which is good. But if you simply want to copy songs, then copyright is bad for you.
Many users earn money by uploading content from other artists and musicians.
20. Overwhelming information
I remember being anxious whenever I read about COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic. I felt unsafe and my mind spiraled when I heard about the daily COVID cases.
A simple solution – I turned off the news. Didn’t watch any news related to the pandemic, and guess what, I’m still alive and happy.
Information overload is a real thing that creates stress. Half the information you consume is completely frivolous, so you can avoid it.
What are the five advantages of social media?
Following are the five benefits of using social media –
- Connect with people anytime
- Share your expertise
- Boost your visibility
- Build relationships
- Get educated on various topics
What are the five disadvantages of social media?
Following are the five benefits of using social media –
- Privacy concerns
- Lacks emotional connection
- Promotes laziness
- Distracted minds
How social media affects our life?
It depends on how you use social media. If you use it to promote yourself, you’ll gain a lot. If you waste time on it, you’ll effectively disconnect from the world.
Do social media affect students’ life?
Not really. If the said student uses too much social media, then they’ll have to face mental and physical stress, bad posture, eye strain, etc.
How social media is destroying our brains?
Not destroying, at least now. Many studies have revealed the bad effects of social media, including increased anxiety and insecurities. But, it also makes us more confident.
These are some advantages and disadvantages of using social media.
They are all true and cannot be dismissed. If you take full advantage of social media, then thumbs up! If some of your uses fall under the disadvantages segment, then you need to make some changes!
You are free to decide what’s good and bad for you, but some of the disadvantages are pretty severe.
Be grateful for social media, after all, it helps you connect with the world. There is a good and bad side to everything that exists. So, you’ll have to decide which side you want to choose.
Here’s a simple trick – if social media is affecting your personal life, then simply cut it out. Nothing is more important than mental peace.
You can also try using social media productively, which will enhance your life. Be creative, spread positivity, and give back to the environment.
These were my two bits on the advantages and disadvantages of social media.
What are your thoughts about social media? How often do you use it? Do you have a screen-on time limit or do you pass time with it?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.