In the previous article on this topic; we endeavored to establish how central Social Media has become to the activities of individuals and organizations in every conceivable aspect of human activities. Without doubt; very few scientific and technological inventions have had so much degree of impact or influence on human society and lifestyles as does Social Media.
As statistics have shown us, the average time spent daily on social media by users is 3 hours with over 3.96 billion users across the world; that figure becomes astronomically mind-boggling as human lives are either positively or negatively shaped by this apex 20th-century creation.
So how much has Social media impacted us since its creation?
Social Media affects society positively because it unites people together for a common goal and it has the ability to create positive outcomes. It can also rally people for a cause, and it inspires mass movements for positive social change.
A current trend in the group known as “BLM” or “Black Lives Matter” was started as a simple hashtag on social media. The BLM group is rallied online by starting and participating in protests. Black Lives Matter has used social media as a tool to make awareness for their cause and did so by gathering others to rally. Politicians use social media to advertise their campaigns and to rally their supporters when making a point. Politicians do this on social media to spread publicity, this helps bring their supporters together to rally for a common cause.
Whether we like social networks as a fun use of our time or not there are many ways the social networks that have developed help various industries and markets. We've all seen the ads and targeted ads that have become so popular on Facebook and other social media sites. Brand recognition, targeted audiences, profiling, all of these strategies have become commonplace. Though we sometimes find these annoying, ads encourage us to buy products that fuel our economy and businesses. Social media has allowed businesses to expand their customer services and allowed startups to find niche markets to help grow local economies.
Social media has its online dangers that the individual must be aware of. Social media used negativity can cause a decline in productivity. For example, “Studies show that British companies have lost billions of dollars per year in productivity because of social media addiction among employees."
Social media in a workplace can be dangerous to productivity levels. To prevent this, Jenny, a researcher of the impact of Social Media on Human Society, says, “Many companies have blocked social networks on their office Internet as addicted employees can distract themselves on such sites, instead of focusing on work."
Social Influence takes many forms and is seen in socialization, conformity, obedience, and persuasion. With this, Facebook users are influenced through peers, friends, and significant others in grasping or sharing news. Bruns & Highfield (2012) mentioned in Blogs, Twitter, & Breaking News: The Produsage of Citizen Journalism that “the rise of the Internet as a popular medium has led to a substantial increase in available channels for information and entertainment, among other purposes” which gives a way for users to produce several contents on Facebook.
According to Messing and Westwood (2015) stated in They Came, They Liked, They Commented: Social Influence on Facebook News Channels that this sensation may well be the single most powerful tool for societal changes.
Until there's a technology with the potential for greater impact on the society than social media does at the moment, it is safe to say that this modern-day invention will continue to dominate our lives in many more ways that we are yet to find out because the full potential of social media is yet to be achieved.