Social networking sites are the major platform on the internet for communication and exchange of information since the early 21st century. The social media platforms get updated regularly with features depending upon the need of the users and usage patterns.

In the early stage of the social networking era, people from all around the world started using to connect with friends and families to share and communicate through photos or text messages. Since the development and rapid growth of the internet speed, the usages increased more towards generating and sharing media such as photos, GIFs, and videos.

There are many different social media sites for different purposes, for example, Linkedin is a social network for professionals, while Snapchat is a social network targeted mostly at teenagers (Based on this data). There are also many drawbacks and benefits of social media platforms.

Social Media – Advantages and Disadvantages

Social Networking Sites
Image source – Flickr

Modern social networking sites are not just about connecting and sharing information, such platforms are being used for many different purposes. Most people are still using social media for “social purpose” while many are using for the business purpose. Government, security agencies, researchers, etc are also using social media for official purposes.

Though the usages and user behavior in different social media sites may differ, there are common pros and cons of all social networking sites or social media platforms. For example, there are more advantages for photographers or artists using Instagram while he/she may not get more benefits or attention on Twitter. Similarly,  a journalist or author may have many pros of using Twitter.

In this article, you will learn about the advantages and disadvantages of social media.

Advantages of Social Media Sites

Social media websites are the tools for anyone to make the best use out of it. Millions of people around the world are using social media platforms for, fundraising, social awareness, promoting local business, and so many good things. There are so many benefits of social networking sites if used properly. Below is the list of pros of social media platforms.

1. Networking without border

One of the primary goals of any social networking site, networking is a primary feature any social media platform has to offers to consider the platform as a social networking site. One of the most important and noteworthy advantages of social networking sites is that it enables everyone to connect no matter which country they belong to.

2. Instant News and Information

Before the social media era, we used to communicate on email and instant messengers like Yahoo, AOL, and MSN. All those IMs and communication tools were mostly one to one communication. But on Social networking sites, communication can be one-to-many instantly. We do not have to look for the news by visiting different news websites, the news will find us on modern social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter.

3. Great marketing channel for Business

Social networking sites are one of the best marketing channels available in this world. Social Media Marketing is the term described for the marketing technique used on social networking sites or platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Twitter, YouTube, etc. There are currently over 4 billion social media users globally ready to discover your information about your business or service. (Also read – Pros and Cons of Social Media for Business)

4. Awareness and Activism

We have already witnessed the great modern revolutions and events around the world. Social networking sites played a very important role in such revolutions and events like Occupy Wallstreet, Arab Spring, The Libyan Revolution, Hongkong protests, etc.

Almost all internet users do use at least one social media platform. It is easy to spread the message and invite many people to take part in events for awareness and activism.

5. Exchange of ideas and Collaboration

Social networking sites like Facebook do have collaboration features like Group and Document sharing. One can create a group and start to share ideas and information for a specific purpose. Social networking sites are very useful to collect feedback and comments on the various idea.

6. Stay in touch

While ignoring the rest of the advantages of social media, some people prefer to use it just like a contact book. Not being actively engaged in the social feed, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are also being used only for communication purposes. Such platforms help us easily stay in touch with friends and family, and other like-minded people as well.

Disadvantages of Social Media Sites

Like any other tool available for humans, Social Media Websites also have many disadvantages if you do not use them consciously. Unware social media users may encounter many different types of problems while using social networking sites. Here we list a few but most important cons of social media that everyone should be aware of.

1. Addiction

The compulsive behavior developed due to social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, YouTube, etc leads to negative effects. Social networking addict constantly checks Social Media Feed or checks out people’s profiles for hours and hours. The compulsion to use social media can make one social media addict. Researchers at Chicago University concluded that social media addiction can be stronger than addiction to cigarettes and alcohol.

2. Mental Illness

Social networking sites are linked to an increased risk of mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Too much time spent scrolling through social media can result in symptoms of anxiety and/or depression. Teenager’s mental health is often negatively affected by this culture of comparison as well.

3. Frauds & Scams

This is yet another challenge for social media companies. There are billions of fake accounts on various social networking sites including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Facebook removes more than 3 billion fake accounts in six months and Five percent of Facebook’s monthly active users are fake, the company said.

4. Misleading Information

This is probably the most challenging problem for social media companies. Fake news and misleading information can go viral in no time on social media platforms. On Facebook, more than 80% of people who react to the link do not read the complete article or content. Due to which many publishers and spammers are misusing the platforms by sharing fake and misleading information.

5. Cyberbullying

Since anyone can use and express on social networking sites, many use it to express hatred and aggression. The public figures are the commonly targeted victims of cyberbullying. Teenagers, in particular, are at risk of cyberbullying through the use of social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.

Cyberbullying is also associated with depression, anxiety, and an elevated risk of suicidal thoughts.

6. Hacking

Most of the users of social media sites are not fully aware of the security measures they need to take care of while using social media platforms. People share thoughts, personal experiences, photos, etc on social media sites. Such information can be helpful for hackers to hack your accounts in social media, emails, or even your mobile phone.

Several personal Twitter and Facebook accounts have been hacked in the past that have affected the individuals’ personal lives.

7. Privacy Issues

Your behavior on social media can help people or companies know who you are. It is not hard to find how many friends you meet daily, interact with, or what type of food you like. Based on your check-ins on social media, one can easily find where you hang out. Based on your check-ins, browsing history, interaction on various Facebook pages, groups, friends, or even links, bots can suggest the products or services.

Pros and cons of Social Networks

What do you think about Social Media Platforms? Did we miss any? – Please let us know!