Do You “Like” Social Media?

Over the past few years, social media has quickly grown bigger and bigger. Everywhere we look there is now some reference to social media. CNN has viewers tweet their thoughts in on a news story, bands and businesses have Facebook pages that you can “like” to gain more access to information about that topic, employers search for possible new employees on LinkedIn, and of course, we as individual people have our own accounts in social media. As social media continues to grow, many feel that it is important to be literate in these areas, and know both how to use them and how to stay out of trouble while doing so. There are many positives to what social media has brought to the world, but at the same time one can’t help but look at the negatives as well.

First of all, in present day it seems as though having an understanding of how to use social media is basically a necessity. Today, words like “tweet” and “friend” have become verbs and mostly everyone seems to be involved in social media in some way, whether it’s having a Facebook, Twitter, or a LinkedIn account. It’s not just an idea that exists with teenagers anymore. Now, parents, grandparents, commercial brands, and other businesses have also got involved in the trend that is social media. Because businesses are involved, knowing how to use social media is now a strength to possible employees and it looks great on a resume. Employers also like to see that you are keeping up with the digital age and are making a presence for yourself online.

There is an entertainment value that has been brought about by social media as well. People can go on and catch up on news, or read status updates from friends or celebrities. It is very easy for one to waste countless hours on social media just because of the abundance of information that is available to you. You can listen to music, watch videos, play games, chat with friends, and many more all through social media. With these things at your fingertips, it is easy to see why the use of social media has increased as much as it has.

Social media has also given people the ability to stay connected with one another. When you move out of your hometown and into a college dorm, social media gives you the ability to stay in contact with old friends and allows you to see what they’ve been up to. The same can be said with keeping in touch with friends or family, who you may not see that often because they live far away. The unique thing social media has done with keeping people connected is allowing people to reconnect. Maybe you’ve been out of touch with someone for a long time, when all of a sudden you find them on social media and message them to catch up. This is something that the older generations have been experiencing when they made their crossover into the social media world.

At the same time, social media may turn out to be a not so good trend in the end. They lead to a breakdown in human communication and destroy the value that was once placed on human relationships, since people are now available 24/7. People can talk to each other over these sites and relay information without ever actually having to speak in person. Additionally, since a good amount of their personal information can be accessed on social media, this takes away from the idea of privacy. Yes, it is up to decide what you display and say on Facebook, but anything you say or put on there can be seen by anyone. In case you haven’t noticed, under settings on Facebook it says that they can legally sell your information to third parties, which means that anything that goes onto your account basically becomes public information.

In a way, it leaves little to the imagination. There is almost no need to go to high school or college reunions anymore because everyone is able to know what old friends or college acquaintances are up to. Worse, say you just met someone that you’re interested in, all you have to do is type their name into Facebook and you get a world of information and visuals of them. You can see what their interests are, if they’re single, where they’re from, etc. Whatever happened to getting to know someone first before you aquire all of this information?

Then there’s also the idea that employers judge possible employees by what they found on their Facebook page. If this is true, then there are many people out there who have poor chances of landing a job. Employers should make their decisions based on resumes and interviews, not on pictures from a wild night back in college.

Social media has its ups and downs, and all the while it is continuing to grow. The question is what will be next? Will another type of social media come out that will shake up the social media world or will the trend come to an end? Only time will tell. For now, it’s important in today’s world to get a grasp and understanding of social media, before you end up stuck in the prehistoric age of having to actually represent yourself in person.