How social networks affect people?
The term "social networks" immediately makes most people think of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and perhaps other slightly less popular sites of this type. After all, typical "social media" are also (or were) Nasza Klasa, Golden Line, YouTube, VKontakte, Reddit, Wykop…
Naturally, today sociologists and psychologists are constantly wondering what impact such sites can have on people, especially young people. They regularly point out various negative aspects of social media, rarely discussing their positive sides as well. So let's try to look at it a little closer today.
The origins of social media
Most people probably don't realize that the roots of social media go back many years. To the even ancient times. In fact, as the first popular service with a worldwide reach and features to see it as the prototype of social media is IRC (Internet Relay Chat). It was an uncomplicated service that allowed live conversations with users from all over the world. Of course, the conversation was only in written form; there was no way, for example, to send graphics in this way, let alone even attach videos.
In fact, IRC was the prototype of what we today refer to as chat rooms, except that it had quite extensive functionality. For example, there were special chat rooms referred to as channels, where designated people acted as operators, keeping an eye on order. Users hid under more or less anonymous nicknames.
Another service in which we can see social features was Usenet. Here, in turn, the primary medium of information exchange was e-mail (OK, that's quite a simplification, but for the purposes of this article fully sufficient). Usenet structure was based on thematic groups (somewhat similar in concept to Facebook groups), bringing together people interested in a particular issue. Discussion took place not live, but by sending email-like messages to the group. The whole thing functioned in a way somewhat reminiscent of current forums. With that said, Usenet should be viewed as a collection of multiple topic forums, where you could post on the spot, without having to register on each one individually.
Over time, the options available evolved, with the creation of, for example, specialized sites, thematic forums and other such services. And finally there was a full-fledged social network like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Whatsapp, Twitter and a host of others.
Social media as we know it today
Rather, we don't need to describe to you in more detail the functioning of social media, because you probably know them very well, having dealt with them on a daily basis. Do you know what are their biggest advantages and disadvantages? It is time to list them now in a nutshell.
Advantages of social media
The undoubted advantage of all kinds of social media is the extremely easy contact with other people from anywhere in the world. In this way, for example, we can freely contact friends living in other countries or even continents. Send them messages, photos, videos and so on.
Another option is also the possibility of creating messages that will reach a large audience – who are our friends or complete strangers to us. This is especially important in the activities of influencers of all kinds, who have a wide following on their social media accounts, so any kind of promoted publications or other information can instantly reach the right audience.
In addition, practice shows that news of all kinds spreads fastest precisely in social media, as most people are able to pick it up as soon as it is published. Traditional media doesn't stand a chance with social media in this regard.
Disadvantages of social media
Of course, social media also has considerable disadvantages. In this case, most experts point to excessive disclosure of one's privacy. It is in the nature of people to boast and exalt themselves, so social media has hit really fertile ground in this regard. How many of our friends without any inhibitions publish their photos against the background of all sorts of luxuries, boasting about the purchase of an expensive car, a prestigious watch, or vacations in exotic countries?
Such conduct is strongly unwise for the reason that not only trusted friends have the opportunity to see such photos, but also even complete strangers. So it's not hard to guess that there may also be criminals among them, who will use the information obtained in this way to simply rob the author of such photos.
The second issue, quite strongly related to the first, is presenting a completely false image of yourself. In other words, many people tend to embellish their lives and present them in a way that has nothing to do with reality. How many times have we seen someone's photo captioned as "at work," that is, that someone sitting in immaculate attire at an immaculately cleaned desk, with a laptop displaying some complicated charts on the screen, with the obligatory steaming mug of coffee standing next to it, and, of course, perfect lighting, perfect for taking the photo. Do you really believe that this person's workplace looks like this? Well, that…s how;