The Burgeoning Use of Social Media Across the Globe – Is It A Boon or Curse?

Social media is the buzzword of the current century, thanks to the widespread availability of mobile devices across the globe. While you are away from your dear ones, this medium keeps you connected with all. In the older days, you had to rely on landline phones or trunk calls to communicate with others in a different location. Capitalizing over the erstwhile times, these online platforms have made it merely a matter of few seconds to contact with others nowadays. Additionally, its use in the business world has also witnessed a sea drift, owing to its extensive reach. Amid such religious use of this instant communication mode, it is important to keep checking if we are not getting too much dependent on it.

The growing popularity

Since around a decade, social media has been an inseparable necessity of the people worldwide. While the outbreak of internet created a global revolution in the business world, this communication mode was equally effective in alluring the commoners. Moreover, with the growing popularity of smartphone and mobile devices, the trend of being pro-active over various platforms has gained an unprecedented hike. Users prefer getting hooked up over Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, LinkedIn, Twitter and many other websites/apps for personal or professional use.

Here are a few stats from smart insights, an online magazine (till Jan 2016) to give you an idea of the growing dominance of this digital communication platform in our daily lives.

  1. Total global population: 7.395 Billion
  2. Total Internet users: 3.419 Billion; 46% of global population
  3. Active social media users: 2.307 Billion; 31% of world population
  4. Unique Mobile users: 3.790 Billion; 51% of total world population
  5. Active mobile social users: 1.968 Billion; 27% of global population

This data is good enough to describe the penetration of internet, and more specifically, social media in our life. Hence, here it is worthwhile to think whether this much dependence is normal or we are slowly heading toward its addiction.

Good for entrepreneurs

Interestingly, this communication mode has proved to be a boon for business and marketing people as well, which is obvious by the fact that social networks have raked in a whopping $8.3 billion through advertising, alone in 2015. Moreover, nearly 80% of the Fortune 500 companies use Twitter to connect with their clients and potential customers. However, the question prevails – Is this platform is going through a global abuse, especially by the commoners?

Extensive use

As per another survey report, 1 million new users become active over mobile social media, which means 12 new users per second. Moreover, talking about Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp, both the platforms handle approximately 60 billion messages per day. Its use is more than 50% in almost all the age groups, be it 18-29 (83%), 30-49 (77%) or 50-64(52%), baring 65+, which is 32%. Likewise, while 62% males are pro-active over this online interaction mode, the percentage of females is even more, i.e., 71%.

Hazards of social media addiction

But natural, it is easier to get inclined toward destructive work instead of constructive activities amid such huge penetration. Consequently, we discuss every small thing over these platforms, be it Trump vs. Hillary, currency ban issue, or any other burning topic. Healthy discussion is fine, but the problem occurs when people go overboard and start posting hate messages, which is a major setback to this otherwise beneficial communication mode. Here are some of the other drawbacks of the overuse of social media.

  • Social insecurity: Wandering if you also possess the same level of luxury and affluence as others do, which creates anxiety, and often, mental health problems.
  • Cyberbullying: You can be the victim of online crimes.
  • Social anxiety: You develop the fear of real human interaction, and prefer to hide behind your screen
  • Distraction: It decreases your work productivity appreciably.
  • Stress: Persistently switching from your work to Facebook, Twitter, etc. and vice versa could cause fatigue
  • Emotional hiccups: Confiding on social media to eschew your real life problems could only lead to negativity and pressure.

To sum up, indeed the use of social media is increasing at an uncontrolled pace, which is a serious matter of discussion. It is profitable for business and marketing people who have a fixed goal to achieve through these platforms. However, for individuals, who are lurking for emotional support on these platforms or just killing their time, they are simply making their life miserable, and really need to get out of this addiction, before it gets too late.