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Social media, the new world's ever-expanding platform. Social networking is now an unstoppable force not only in the field of connectivity but also in the business world. Social media in the twenty-first century has seen astounding global comparison growth and success. As a result, social media has drawn a lot of interest from academics in various areas, including psychology, business, and social sciences. While time passes, all generations continue to embrace social media and its apps, with young adults and adolescents among the most avid users of the website sites. More so, the use of social media in the world of business has become an integral tool in the modern market. Nowadays, a lot of people, young and old are using social media in different ways, such as communication watching adverts to get news etc. couples with wide production and use of smartphones as well as internet the use of social media usage has in turn become widely used today. These include platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snap chat, WhatsApp etc.
Social media has become and an excellent tool in the world of marketing as well as a powerful platform for competition among business entities. Social media have in turn attracted a host of positive uses and impact in peoples’ lives, and business world, however, not forgetting a host of shortcoming that has hampered the effective use of social media. The phenomena, social media are a term that has become a common thing in modern days. It describes the interaction between people groups of people business with its customers whereby they share, produce and exchange ideas over the internet as well as via the virtual communities. However the impact of social media is a twofold case whereby there are positives and negatives to the individual users and the business world. Today the negatives related to the use of social media such as addiction, cyber bullying among others has led to massive evaluation as to the impact of social media to people’s lives.
The use of social media in the modern times has tremendously and positively contributed in improving communication between people, more so those who are distance apart. Today, sending and receiving messages between two people, one in Dubai, and another the US have become just a finger tap away. Not only has this increased the amount and connectivity between people, social media has improved the aspect of communication, making it easier for organization, business entities and individuals send and receive messages at the appropriate time. This can be summarized as promotion of world-wide connectivity. The rising trend of social media globally has exemplified communication skills. The social media platforms have become a powerful communication tool, which today has even been accepted as official communication platforms (Zhang et al, 2017). For example, WhatsApp group between employees can be used to communicate a meeting within an organization. By using different transmission devices the social media has in turn become a powerful communication platform utilizing computer tablets and mobile phone.
The power of social media today, especially during a crisis can hardly be ignored. Through the social media, the wrath of human justice has befallen on numerous people, i.e. a white traffic police harassing a black driver in the streets of the united states, have seen the wrath of public calls for the justice for the black driver and prosecution of the driver (Racz, 2014). Today when people are found on the wrong side of the law, and the incident is caught on camera and finds its way to the social media the social media has been used as a campaigning tool against such an offense or individuals (Kumar & Agrawal, 2017). Additionally, the social media has been used in case of crisis to fast spread the message to the relevant authority to be aware or take effective measures to curb the menace. For example the refugee case of the Syrians was fast spread via the social media; people discussed the issue, which in turn attracted the concern of the relevant bodies. According Racz (2014), the federal and state law enforcers rely more on social media to notify the general public about any emergencies or disasters. For example, during the Boston marathon blast Paris terrorist attack among other incidents whereby the social media has effectively been used for the benefit of the humanity.
The increased use of varying social media channels among the youth has been an extension of the real world and friendship relationships. The social media has been used to keep in touch with the loved ones, friends, family and close people such as classmates’ workmates etc. According to Hendriks, Duus & Ercan (2016), the invention of social media, i.e. Facebook was to keep in touch between friends hence it enables people to link up with people they would relate. I.e., finding and bringing together people with similar interests or even struggles. With reference to extension of friendship and family connection social media has enabled all kinds of people feel as part of the larger community. Through the social media even the disabled can have a successful host of friends from all over the globe. This is despite sometimes being looked down upon in their society. Additionally, social media socializing offers teens and young adults who are shy and awkward socially a comfortable and available way to communicate, share, and even have their own circle of friends. Finally the use of social media as a tool of communication among friends as it provides quick and detailed feedback not to say that it can be kept for future reference. Compared with the traditional modes of communication, sending and receiving messages in the form of video, audios and pictures the social media has provided the best easy, cheap and affordable way of sending varying types of messages as mentioned above.
Social media have established a new link between teachers and students outside classroom settings. It may not be a surprise for a class of a given subject to have an active Facebook page or WhatsApp page, where the teacher interacts with the students outside the normal classroom settings. According to Jain & Jha (2017), an estimated 80% of colleges in the United States use social media for teaching, communicating with students as well as bringing in facilitators such as authors and guest teachers via the social media. Away from the commonly known social media platforms such Facebook and Twitter, other have been made to suit the teacher, students as well as parents contribution towards their children learning process. For example Edmodo is an educational related specified social networking platform, which is designed to establish a contact between the teacher and the students. The application reaching an estimated 65.5 million users by the end of 2016 (Yadav. 2016). In relation to academic application of the social media, it also allows students and researchers to access previously inaccessible educational resources.
The business organizations have become the recent beneficially of the application and use of social media platforms. Social media have greatly been utilized in the business as a powerful marketing and advertising tool. Today, almost every business establishment has a web page, Twitter account or a Facebook page which is used to advertise and inform their customers of their performance, new product or any development within their business establishment and operations (Zhang et al, 2017). Social media has been the basis of today’s customer service for organizations, hence leading to increased sales, new opportunities and well as healthy advertisement which in turn elevates the organization higher in terms of performance and customer reference (Kumar & Agrawal, 2017). Social media has become an affordable marketing approach compared to the traditional marketing channels such as television, print and outdoor posters. On the other hand, the social media platforms allow business to establish deeper engagement from the customers, enabling the business to develop their services and products to the best of their customer demand. This in turn has helped to increase sales and overall organization performance.
The use of social media has almost benefited almost every sector, including the music industry. The social media offers artists and musicians a platform to build audiences even when they fail to have a corporate contract. Channels such as YouTube have been used and continue to be used for musicians and artists to showcase their talents which in turn have seen increasing following for the best in terms of money gained and popularity. It is estimated that, 66% of teenagers use YouTube channel to listen to music making the top used channel for music than CDs. For example, Justine Bieber, who is a renowned musician today can be said to be a YouTube star in the making. In 2016, the music star was estimated to be worth $ 200 million.
Social media has recently become political change facilitation tool as well as voter participation revolution. Today, the social media offer social movements a zero cost platform to disseminate information and mobilize people for a common political goal such as campaign as well elections. For example, in 2011, the Arab uprising case in Egypt was largely mobilized via the social media which resulted into the then Egyptian leader resigning from power. Today the social media has been used to woo voters to turn out during elections. According to Zhang et al, (2017), a Facebook user is more likely to follow his/her friends in voting habit. In 2012, an estimated 24% of the voters in the presidential election in the US posted about their voting on social media. In 2015 the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States successfully the 2016 presidential candidate addresses the issue during their campaign (Gönen, 2014). Today, even the African presidential election such as the case with Kenya has highly been influenced by the social media channels as followers ensure the popularity and positive name of their preferred candidate remains.
Despite the massive growing use and application of social media in different areas such as business, personal communication/relations and education there is the ugly side of it. Several disadvantages and vices have been related to the fast spreading use of social media (Jain & Jha, 2017). These include addiction, fraud, cyber bullying among the young, spread of false information, etc. one of the major problems related to social media is an addiction and over reliance on the social media platforms for the current generation. This has led to teenagers spending most of their glued to their devices, which in turn affects their school and class performance. Veldeman, Van Praet & Mechant (2017), in their article identified that the number of hours a teenager spends on the TV playing games or on their phones in social media directly increases their exposure to obesity, which has become a major health concern in the United States. Despite social media being a tool for enhancing access to study material over reliance on it, and poor time management affects students’ performance. When learners perform poorly the social media doesn’t serve the primary purpose, but instead is a negative catalyst to fail academically.
Social media as a catalyst to stress and problems in offline relationships; an estimated more than 30% of young adults have fought a friend in relation to something that had occurred online. More so the young marriages being established have greatly been affected by the social media. In his study in 2016 Yadav established that, extended use of social media during the adolescent age directly influenced by decreasing the rate of successful relationships later during the young adult life. This is due to the idea that online communications hinders an adolescent’s conflict management ability and skills development and awareness. The more friends’ one has on social media the difficulty the more stressing it is as this has been related to cases of breakup divorce and infidelity. It has in turn become an ideal approach for young adults to ensure they have balanced social life without much dependency on social media.
With reference to business operations social media reduce employee productivity. When the employee becomes fond of using the social media in their places of work, which in turn cost the organization some productivity hours and this a loss for the business entity. In addition to slowing employee productivity, social media have been used by competitors to harm a business reputation (Hendriks et al, 2016). This is through passing false or fabricated scandals. For example, when a customer films a McDonalds employee doing the wrong thing or unethical act while preparing a client’s burger, the video can at a great extent be used to hurt the credibility of a reputable organization. This in turn means that social media, despite promoting a business can as well be a catalyst for its downfall. Finally, hacking, viruses spread and theft have become a common thing in the modern era (Kumar & Agrawal, 2017). Business entities ought to protect their websites and social media platforms, which to some extent can be used to access key information about the organization hence used by the competitors to bring down a business. Online crimes have become a menace as money has been stolen online though scamming. That has led to losses for business entities, and in turn their downfall.
Despite being a powerful political campaign tool in recent times, the social media has become a platform for spreading hatred and political clashes. In the recently concluded presidential elections in Kenya have seen the social media been used to spread hatred tribal clashes with reference to the two prominent leaders vying for the presidential slot. The spread of hatred speech instigating clashes, burning of vehicles and murders has seen the dark side of the social media (Gönen, 2014).
One of the key downsides with reference to the use of social media is the fact that it reduces the aspect of face to face communication between an organization and its customers as well as between individuals. Despite the power of social media in connecting people, family, friends as well as customers with the business, the power of interpersonal communication can hardly be ignored. This is because it helps in exchanging thoughts and feelings between people and hence perfect for building lasting relationships. In business it allows the customers of a given business entity close connected and respected (Kumar & Agrawal, 2017). This is because the customer service is able to read a client’s voice tone, and body language giving clues the true meaning of the message. It is in turn the key approach to discussing sensitive information.
With reference to the arguments presented it is evident that social media use is on the rise with more and more people, institutions and business entities adopting the social media vehicle in their daily operations. The merits related to social media use in addition to being an inevitable innovation in today’s lives and the business world. However, with a host of demerits related to social media, both business and individuals need to effectively manage the use of social media to their best and life improvement. Nevertheless, the negatives related to social media can hardly be ignored, but with effective management the benefits related to social media can outweigh the negatives hence the advocacy for use social media both for personal and business use. In case of the teenagers, parents ought to keep watch of what they share or use the social media for, to prevent vices such as cyber bullying, trafficking addiction and other related problems.
In conclusion, social media is an unstoppable invention in this digital age, and its benefits are immeasurable. It in turn should be adopted wisely, as it is here to stay and individuals businesses and institutions will continue to reap the benefits from it. As technology continues to advance, business and people are forced to adopt strategies that would improve their lives in making more profit and being more socially capable for the individuals. The endless merits of social media can be derived with careful implementation of the platforms. Effective management of social media strategies is demanded for either party (business or individual) to get the best from the unstoppable development in the modern world, not forgetting its application in education sector among many other sectors.
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Hendriks, C. M., Duus, S., & Ercan, S. A. (2016). Performing politics on social media: The dramaturgy of an environmental controversy on Facebook. Environmental Politics, 25(6), 1102-1125.
Jain, R., & Jha, B. (2017). Adaptation of Social Media in Academia. SIES Journal of Management, 13(1), 101-115.
Kumar, R., & Agrawal, P. (2017). Impact of Social Media in Present Scenario. Pranjana: The Journal of Management Awareness, 20(1), 31-38.
Racz, N. (2014). Understanding Social Media. Political Studies Review, 12(3), 442-443.
Veldeman, C., Van Praet, E., & Mechant, P. (2017). Social Media Adoption in Business-to-Business: IT and Industrial Companies Compared. International Journal of Business Communication, 54(3), 283-305.
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Zhang, Y., Trusov, M., Stephen, A. T., & Jamal, Z. (2017). Online Shopping and Social Media: Friends or Foes?. Journal of Marketing, 81(6), 24-41.
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