Social Media Use – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Many situations in life are like a double-edged sword. Often, when there’s good news, there’s bad news, too. For example, becoming the president of a group you’re interested in may come with more recognition and praise, but it’ll also require more work and stress.

When it comes to bad news and good news, many people have preferences on what they want to hear first. Interestingly enough, most people ( 78 percent ) want to hear bad news followed by good news.

Starting with the bad news first, below are the major cons and pros of social media. As you know, social media is one of the double-edged swords of life. For some, it’s fun and exciting, for others, it’s addicting and depressing.

Social Media Cons

1) Adult Bullying

Although you may not realize it, you probably experience bullying in your adult life. Whether you have an intimidating boss, a controlling partner or a rude neighbor, you’re likely impacted by at least one bully.

Many times, these people try to harm you in tangible, verbal or passive-aggressive ways. There are a few ways for a bully to do this, but one of the easiest is cyberbullying. Cyberbullies are powerful because they don’t have to have physical access to do you harm. It’s easy for them to bully you through the web.

Interestingly enough, online identity theft can actually be a type of cyberbullying. Some people harass their victims by creating fake online profiles in the victim’s name. They may even post embarrassing information and photos to harm a victim.

2) Security Threats

Nearly every social media platform carries a high risk for security threats. Platforms contain up to hundreds of millions of users, some of which have bad intentions.

History of social media fraud

Identity thieves can gather and improperly use the personal information found on your social media sites. Even if you have high-security settings, there are workarounds that thieves use to steal your information.

Hackers are also able to hack into your social profiles. Once they have access, they can inject viruses into your computer and steal your personal information.

Another potential security threat is giving stalkers or people who don’t have your best interests in mind access to your information. If you use social media to post photos or update your location, it’s easy for people to know exactly where you are and what you’re doing.

Even if you do not have any enemies, random burglars you have no association with might find you online and use your social media info to determine when you aren’t home. Posting a photo of you on vacation seems harmless, but it can be very harmful if it falls into the wrong hands.

3) Incorrect Information

Fake news and social media often go hand in hand. According to the New York Times, hours after the Las Vegas massacre, Facebook was filled with incorrect info about the shooting. Twitter has also been under a magnifying glass recently because some believe that Russian hackers used their platform to spread misinformation and skew the 2016 presidential election.

Generally, you can ask yourself three questions to filter out fake news, but this isn’t a foolproof method. Even media experts can be duped by incorrect information online. Social media will always include misinformation, which can cause real harm when taken seriously.

4) Time-Consuming

Today, you are subject to countless distractions. When you’re at home or in the office, there always seems like there’s something that needs to get done. Although social media can serve as a well-deserved break from everyday tasks, it can also distract you from them in the first place.

It’s much easier to get distracted on your phone and spend an hour on social media than it is to finish up an important project or clean your kitchen. Some social apps have pop-ups and notifications that constantly demand your attention. These aren’t always serious distractions, but if they gain your attention when you’re driving or carrying out another high-risk activity, the consequences can be quite severe.

5) ‘Highlight Reel’ Comparisons

Social media is filled with highlights. Day-to-day life is full with ups and downs. Platforms where people brag about their accomplishments and show off their big moments aren’t necessarily realistic or genuine.

It’s important to celebrate the big stuff, but you also have to consider the day-to-day work and struggle behind every accomplishment. Social media only presents one side of this equation, which can leave you feeling sad about how boring or uncompetitive your life is in comparison to others’ lives.

Social Media Pros

1) Unmatched Connectivity

In the past, most people waited for high school reunions to see the first person they had a crush on or their favorite sports teammate. Today, people don’t have to lose touch. Thanks to Facebook and similar sites, you can stay in contact with nearly everyone you’d like.

On a larger scale, social media allows you to connect with people all over the world. You can stay up-to-date with family members that move abroad, or you may even reach out to people from cities or regions of the world you’re interested in learning more about.

2) Around-The-Clock Opportunity

Thanks to numerous devices and the Internet of Things, you can use social media to connect with people wherever you have service or a Wi-Fi connection. Long gone are the days of sending snail mail and relying on landlines. At any time, you can connect with the people you need.

From a business/consumer standpoint, instantaneous communication is often superior to traditional forms of communication. Social media allows customers to communicate with companies in real-time.

On a personal level, social media is a wonderful way for people to quickly chat with their friends. Whether you want to talk with someone one-on-one or you want to gather a group of your friends online, it’s easy to quickly send a message and get a conversation going.

3) Educational Offerings

Social media has a lot of benefits for students and teachers, but the learning doesn’t stop with these demographics. Regardless of age or background, it’s easy for users to follow educational groups or academic profiles to learn more online.

This has a lot of advantages, one of the largest being that it’s completely free of charge. Regardless of your income, you can access high-quality, educational information on social media.

4) Stay in Touch in Spite of Disaster

If you use social media, you might have noticed that in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, people were “marking themselves as safe.” Although constantly publishing your location on can be harmful, in times of crisis, it can be an essential form of communication.

When phone lines fall in a natural disaster, the best way to reach help agencies, family and friends is often through a social media channel. If you’re in a life-threatening situation, social media can be a life-saving way to reach out for help.

Before a disaster, you can follow local, state and federal agencies that can help you avoid future crises and manage unavoidable crises. For example, people that travel a lot can the U.S. Department of State or another agency to receive travel warnings and precautions before they head out for vacation or a work trip.

5) Social is Fun

Social networking can lower your self-esteem, but it isn’t always harmful. Sometimes, it’s downright fun. It’s amazing to see photos and videos of your grandkids or other family members taking their first steps. It’s nice to have a fast way to take a break and check out from the real world. It’s convenient to stay current with what your friends are doing without having to ask them over and over again.

When you’re not interacting with friends, social platforms can introduce you to various games. “FarmVille” is one such game that allows you to play by yourself or with friends. “Zuma Blitz” is another social game that allows you to compare your scores to your friends’ rankings. “Words With Friends” is one of the most popular social games, which is kind of like a never-ending game of “Scrabble.”

Outside of gaming, people can use social networks to pursue their interests. Individuals who love movies can use social networking to discover new flicks and actors they might like. People who follow sports can join specific groups to talk with other like-minded individuals about every aspect of the game.

Do the Pros Outweigh the Cons?

With the above cons and pros in mind, you can decide if social media is right for you. If the pros outweigh the cons, you’ll probably benefit from social media in the long-run. If the cons are greater than the pros, social media might not be for you.

Over time, your relationship with social media can change. Every six months, ask yourself if the benefits of social media still outweigh the cons for you personally.

If you’d like to learn more about social media, whether you need help setting up your profile or you simply have more questions, reach out to HelpCloud directly.

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About the author

Photo of Erik Fullmer

Erik Fullmer

Erik was raised in many places but has long since called Utah home. Rooted in mountains, he spends a lot of time with his dogs in the mountains and in the winter he skis… a lot.

Erik is actively earning the necessary certifications and training to become a certified AMGA Ski Guide.

With over a decade of content writing experience, Erik finds passion when writing for the tech and outdoor recreation industries.