Communication is as old as humankind, it is the basis of social interactions and life blood of human societies, we can say without communication. Each individual would merely be an island isolated from all other such islands, communication in a simple sense is the process of transferring meaning in the form of ideas or information from a person called the sender to another or people called receivers.
The human life depends on communication to attain their full potentials, communication is also a social necessity without it there cannot be real community or society because it is the link between individuals who constitute a community and the link between community in the formation of a larger whole-a metropolis, a province or a nation, society as a whole cannot survive today if they are not properly informed about political affairs, international and local events, all these functions are perform through a media which are the vehicles of transmitting information.
In essence, when people communicate with one another, they do so by a medium, some device or process through which they convey information, these means which people use is called social media. 2 This paper will pretend a short historical back ground of social media, the development of social media will be summarized, and much attention will be on the current means of such media which has taken a paradigm shift as a result of technological advancement and modernism such as internet, home video, news paper, magazines, e. . c the social and political implications will be critically explored, for the umpteenth time we should have it in mind that social media has ethical end epistemological implication in human kind and the society, in fact some of its implication could be said to be negative while some could be describe as positive, the implication affects all aspect of human life, belief, religious and even the socio-economic status, most importantly the governance of this great country Nigeria.
Social medial technologies take on many different forms including magazine, internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, microbloggind, wikis, social networks, podcast, photographs or pictures, video, rating and social bookmarking, Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, to name a few, many of these service are integrated via social network aggregation platform by applying a set of theories in the field of media research (social presence, media richness) and social processes (self-presentation, self-disclosure) Kaplan and Haenlein created a classification scheme with different types of social media, they are ;collaborative projects for example, Wikipedia, blogs and microblogs like Twitter, content communities for example, YouTube, social networking sites like Facebook, and virtual social worlds, however, the boundaries between the different types have been increasingly blurred.
Social media refers to the means of interaction among people in which they create, share and exchange information and ideas in communities and network. Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content,5 social media depend on mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms through which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content, It introduces substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities and individuals.
Media is as old as human kind as said earlier, from the ancient time, history make it know that our great grand-fathers make use of gong, songs e. t. to communicate, pass information and transfer beliefs, there was paradigm shift as a result of education and civilisation, gong now change to written literatures such as news paper, then technology now help in developing telecommunication such as Television station, radio station, and the current social media, while other media such as magazine, published works also developed, today social media is the leading means and is now in various form, internet website that post information to the whole world in second such as facebook, twitter, 2go, Ebuddy and sites and blogs. 7 Social media differentiates from traditional/industrial media in many aspects such as quality, reach, frequency, usability, immediacy and permanence.
There are many effects that stem from internet usage, according to Nielsen, internet users continue to spend more time with social media sites than any other type of site 8. Social media in sum is the communication channels through which news, entertainment, education, data or promotional messages are disseminated this includes every day broadcasting and narrowcasting medium such as newspaper, magazine , T. V, radio, bill boards, direct mail, telephone, fax and internet, social media offers innovative opportunities for people, in a democratic society like Nigeria, social media offers innovation to political actors, political institutions and the public to interact with one another.
As said from the beginning that social and political implication of social media could be ethical and epistemological, Cultivational theory expose some ethical issues is a theory that also provide justification about the implication of social media, this theory states that the media is essential with the responsibility for the way in which people view the world,9 this theory explain that media heavily impacts society by influencing the normal view of gender roles, body image and normality, the theory attributes extreme social power to the media and hold that people are taught over time to respond to situations based on what they think is the appropriate way, this theory in essence show some epistemological and ethical implication of social media on human kind, , media teaches normality through television, video, music e. t. , this theory assumed the life we live as a reflection of media ideals that have been portrayed to us since childhood for example we tend to see small children imitating and practising what they watch in movies, most ladies watch Nollywood movies on the internet to sharpen their romantic styles and learn some other necessities of life, styles of dance either good or bad example is the idea of sagging of trouser common among people all these media influences. The truth is we generate belief from media and perceived that it is normal way to live, various advertisement tell woman how to dress, cook and soon on, a recent study in University of Washington found that the amount an adolescent watches soup operas and musical videos is directly correlative with negative body image.
Psychological egoism is another implication of social media, psychological egoism is the view that people act in their own interest even what seem to be acts of altruism11, owing to the fact that social media is used as a tool for some people, in a democratic setting like Nigeria, politicians and government use social media for their egoistic nature, the media publish orchestrated information to either promote image or give wrong destroy image, here we realized that the epistemic belief that most of this social media project to the world are cooked, biased and distorted, and these are registered in the mind of people in the society, no doubt also that this info sometimes reveal certain secret, recently through social media Nigerians known that the so called spokesperson of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Lagos command do not know the official website of the Corps he is working for, this popular scenario is tagged “my oga at the top“ courtesy Channels television The corollary of the above is that media circulate information, beliefs and knowledge, either acknowledge or not, to the society in a very speedy rate, the question now remains the authenticity and genuineness of this information.
Social media are becoming increasingly popular among politicians and organisations as a means to disseminate political message, learn about the interest and needs of constituents and broader public, raise funds and build network support, these activities often take place is private run social networking site or stations that allow political figures and institution to communicate with the public in unmediated, society media are being used by Citizen also to connect with the public, influences decision makers and hold legislature and government to account, take the case of January 2013 subsidy removal, many people could not get to Abuja but somehow they made their opinion known to people through the website one way or the other in form of internet gossiping, example is a social site called Niaraland, people chat there, gossip, make connections either for business or another thing maybe like love affairs and so on, in essence this site through the gossips of it member evaluate the active the politicians or government of the country is.
Since social media give anyone with internet access an opportunity to disseminate their ideas, the mainstream media sources no longer ,monopolize information channels, in turn new issues and ideas that might otherwise be ignored by the mainstream media can receive public attention, given the vary level of expertise, individual users have unequal right to full potential of social media as a publishing platform, what this implies is that social media help in exercising freedom as a component of modernism, liberalism and democracy.
Another social and political implication of social media is that it enables citizen to become more effective political actors, social media remove barriers to collective action and empower citizen to influence and monitor the work of policy makers through a long distance participation, social medial also allow citizens to interact with public institutions and figures in an informal and interactive manner, through social media who are avid users of social media often discuss political issues interactively online with the opportunity to reach a large audience with criticisms of political figures and institutions, another similar social and political implication is that it provides opportunity for synthetic lobbying 12, well crafted and executed social media campaigns led by special interest groups can dominate online exchanges with political figure and institution to the point where decision makers are misled about the actual extent to which ideas are shared via these campaigns as representative of a widely held point of view, such advocacy tactics are often referred to as synthetic lobbying, this occur when coordinated letter writing campaigns have long been an element of politics and the policy process and policy makers have developed mechanisms that identify online submission from the public that form part of coordinated advocacy campaigns by weeding out these particular submission whether email to representative or submitted to an online forum.
The use of social media by public institution and figures may lead to surveillance state, by monitoring the information shared citizens on a special media sites, policy makers and representative can gain a better understanding of citizens interest and needs, also government can also use this to work against those they see as opposition, as reported by virtually all Nigerian Newspaper on April 25, 2013, the president of Nigeria Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR, awarded a contract over forty million US Dollars to one Israeli company to monitor emails and social network communications, this is part of the implication of social media we are talking about, it implies that the freedom of the people in the society is somehow restricted, I should be aware now that my so called private email message is monitored if one way or the order I radically against the government , it could be hazardous, though this surveillances could also help in checking certain fraudulent activities like yahoo fraudsters, organised crime and terrorism networks, and so on, but the implication of this is that the negative freedom as Isaiah Berlin postulated, that is, absence of external constraint in individual to act the way they want example is freedom of speech 13, this negative freedom is will now be limited, whatever this implication (surveillance state) appears either positive or negative, data shared by citizens via social media including sexual orientation, religious belief, political affiliation and other sensitive information will be monitored and used in ways that breach privacy right.
A cursory survey of this work shows a philosophical discourse on media and social media, its social and political implication has been so far discussed, in sum the implications are both ethical and epistemological, social media has become instrument that create awareness, publicise beliefs and transmit norms, it could be said that most of the action of human kind if not all is an imitation from the media, the implication of social media is undoubtedly positive and negative. In addition the picture of a society is painted to the world through social media, some years back when Dr Dura Akuyili was still the minister of information, she embarked on a project called rebranding with the slogan Nigeria good people, great nation, this was to change the bad image of the country and most of the activities she used to perform this crusade were majorly on media and social media.
Much of the criticism of social media are about its exclusiveness as most sites do not allow the transfer of information from one to another, disparity of information available, issues with trustworthiness and reliability of information presented, concentration, ownership of media content, and the meaning of interactions created by social media. However, it is also argued that social media has positive effects such as allowing the democratization of the internet while also allowing individuals to advertise themselves and form friendships Most people associate social media with positive outcomes, yet this is not always the case. Due to the increase in social media websites, there seems to be a positive correlation between the usage of such media with cyber bullying, online sexual predators and the decrease in face-to-face interactions, social media may expose children to images of alcohol, tobacco, and sexual behaviours.
Whether the implications are beneficial or risky, what is clear is that social media are quickly becoming standard communications tools for political figures and institutions and the citizens they serve, this paper recommend whoever is still lacking the knowledge of using social media to do that without wasting time, above all apply Descartes methodic doubt to every information the social media provided, that is subject social media information to thorough scrutiny before taking them as beliefs, also this paper remind the public of the dangers and vices of social media hence, the wise be more wise and the less wise should upgrade not be a victim of the bad influences.