In recent times, social media have seemingly dominated the information world. It is obviously distinct from other existing media networks in various ways. It operates in a dialogic transmission mode – many sources to many receivers – in contrast to print and electronic media that operate under a monologic transmission mode, one source to many receivers. It can simultaneously connect as many sources and receivers as possible.
There are numerous other positive roles of social media networking in nation building. Though it’s a relatively new advancement in technology, it has made the world seem like just a minute clan owing to its ability to simultaneously connect millions of people from different localities across the globe, as well as spread news within a shortest time frame. Hence, it makes information go viral that it could be access from any locality. It enables one to reconnect with his/her old time friend or schoolmate. In addition, it helps people to stay connected to each other.
Social networking is a great way to meet entirely new people. One can discover individuals or groups that are into his social/business interests. Online dating is currently more common than the traditional pattern of dating, and many happily married couples today met online. On the other hand, social media is, at the moment, the fastest and easiest way to promote goods and services; and it gives such products a different dazzling look, thereby encouraging the audience to patronize them. Entertainers these days don’t need to be on TV/radio before they could be heard; they can globally market their brands online with ease.
The social media equally helps to catch and convict criminals. People are usually ignorant of the consequences of what they post online. Often times they post pictures or videos of themselves doing illicit things. They also place bragging posts regarding various crimes they have committed. The law enforcement agencies invariably visit these sites towards fishing out the bad eggs, as well as to trace a suspected culprit. The sites also assist the agencies while prosecuting any suspect in their custody.
However, it’s imperative to note that there are equally negative impacts of social media on mankind and the society at large. There are several falsehoods on various social media platforms; such information or propaganda can stir up panic and severe misinformation in the affected area. Though it helps to start new relationships, it had succeeded in ruining or terminating various other existing relationships. The ability to easily share people’s privacy, such as nude pictures and videos, on social sites has constituted several nuisances in people’s real life. It suffices to say that it puts trust to a limit.
Cyber bullying is not left out. Having access to people’s lives at all times is not encouraging, because such avenue helps many online fraudsters to lure their potential victims into their net. Sometime in 2012, one Miss Cynthia Osokogu was cajoled to a hotel room via social media; at the said venue, she was brutally gang raped and thereafter murdered by the fraudsters. People are equally duped through social networking under the guise of ‘buying and selling’. The fact that you are not seeing who you are conversing with is enough reason to worry.
Prospective employers use the social media to scrutinize their intending employees. They would delve into the profile of the jobseeker, and by so doing they would acquire all the needed private information about him/her. Employers always use this mechanism to their advantage, and in most cases to the detriment of the applicant. But one of the greatest ills of social media remains that people are fast becoming addicted to it. This kind of craze causes a lot of distractions for people in their respective fields of endeavour.
Most people while conveying messages on social media prefer using symbols, smileys, abbreviations, and what have you, to writing words in full. Hacking is another worrisome factor that can’t be overlooked while discussing the social media. Internet hackers can intercept your account under a certain guise or by gaining access to your password. Considering that most users of the social media aren’t professionals indicates that people are liable to constantly fall victim.
It would be ideal to regulate the day-to-day usage of the social media with a view to sustaining decency and legality. All stakeholders to include families, communities, schools, and religious bodies are required in implementing the proposed regulation. Aside legislation, the leaders of the stakeholders can institute a law binding the users of social media within their respective jurisdictions. The parents/guardians, for instance, can determine when and where cell phones should be used by their wards. Self-control would equally help to avoid several misfortunes.
Above all, individuals, groups, and corporate organizations are advised to maintain a complicated password on their various accounts and endeavour to change it regularly, to avoid hacking. The social media is a viable platform but we must use it wisely and judiciously. Think about it!
Comr. Fred Doc Nwaozor