I’ll be very frank about this – I am a social media user. And a heavy one at that. Probably couldn’t go for long without it. But at the same time, is this reliance acceptable? Has social media woven itself inseparably into the fabric of our lives?
Yes, it does have it’s advantages. When I made an account in facebook, it helped me get back in touch with my buddies from kindergarten. Ain’t that cool? I mean, people get separated, they go places, often the possibility of coming back into contact goes slim. But with facebook, it’s a breeze. Remember their name? Just type it in and bingo! You get hold of ‘em. Forgot the complete name? We have a solution for that – they might be a friend of another buddy whose name you remember, and you can zero in on the person. (There’s a term for this btw – mutual friends). Lost touch with a distant cousin of yours? Social media to your rescue! I can go on and on.
Not just bringing distant people together, it can help keep people near to you close. All over the world, people use social media to connect with their family, friends, colleagues etc. everyday, and share their thoughts, feelings and status (pun intended) on a common platform. You probably wouldn’t have gotten the opinion of that friend about your new mobile purchase, hadn’t it been for facebook/twitter. Letting all your friends know about your engagement would’ve been much harder. (Though I disagree with most people here, you MUST tell each of the important people in your life personally) And hence it helps the bonds between people get stronger.
Every coin has an other side, and social media is no exception. Employees all over the world, spend on an average 21 hours per week online while in the office, out of which more than a third is on social media. All over the world, 800 billion minutes are spent on facebook every month by users. This loss in productivity for companies is substantial and hence, more than 50% of businesses prohibit facebook and twitter at work. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are among the most blacklisted websites at work. Companies try to leave no stone unturned to ensure that work hours do not take a beat. At the same time, employees often complain that they do not have social media access to take a break when they are tired.
Coming back to the original question – Is social media needed? Or are we over-reliant on it? I guess I’ll leave it open. Strong arguments can be made for both sides, and finally it is up to the individual to decide how much he/she makes use of it.