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It is hard to think of a technology that has been changing the 21st century as much as social media. The social media has not only penetrated our personal lives but also our social and work lives. The influence of social media has grown to such a great extent that the social media giant Facebook is one of the biggest companies in the world even though it didn’t even exist at the beginning of the 21st century. Social media has both positive and negative sides but it is here to stay and its influence will only grow our time. It is important to understand the pros and cons of social media in order to maximize the advantages and minimize the negative impact on the individuals as well as the greater society.

One of the benefits of the social media is its tremendous potential for communication with a variety of groups and in a variety of ways. The social media such as Facebook do not only allow one to communicate with friends and family members but also find new relationships. Similarly, one is also able to find support groups or interact with people who have similar interests . One cannot only communicate in a written manner but also other ways such as verbal and visual manner. Last but not least, one can reach a wide communication audience through social media.

The social media such as Facebook and Twitter allow businesses to improve their operations, sales, and profitability. The social media enables employees within the company to communicate in an efficient manner and share ideas. Similarly, it enables the businesses to target customers in other geographical areas that they would not have been able to reach otherwise. The companies also use the social media to better understand their customers and improve business reputation. The businesses can directly communicate with customers, seek ideas, and respond to the customers’ concerns .

But the social media has also raised genuine concerns such as the violation of privacy. The social media has been used by the hackers and cyber criminals to steal information and inflict economic costs on the individuals and the companies. The social media has also made it easier for the companies to monitor their employees . It has even affected the most vulnerable members of the society such as our children. There are well-documented instances of sexual predators using social media for their nefarious purposes.

While social media has been praised for making it easier to access information, the information overload is also creating undesirable consequences. First of all, users may be sharing too much private information. The information overload is also making it difficult to distinguish real information from noise. There are real concerns the social media is creating echo chambers that is preventing a significant proportion of users from being exposed to different ideas. These echo chambers have tremendous consequences for the society as evident by the threat posed by fake news.

The social media is arguably the most revolutionary technology of our times but even the greatest technologies may have downsides. The social media has revolutionized the communication processes by enabling people to communicate in a variety of ways and with a variety of groups. The social media is also helping the business improve their operations and profitability. But the social media has also raised concerns such as the ease of cyber crimes and lower levels of privacy. Moreover, the information overload has made it more challenging to separate real information from bogus information.

    References
  • Carrier Clinic. Pros and Cons of Social Media. 5 March 2017 .
  • Society for Human Resource Management. Social Media: What are the advantages and disadvantages of social networking sites? What should we include in a policy? . 5 March 2017 .