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The Benefits of Social Media Essay

Computers have been around since the 1950’s, and now, they play an important role in what we do on a day to day basis. They help us connect to the internet, which enables us to see almost anything we can think of. Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, are growing trends on the internet that people cannot seem to get their hands off of. According to Statistic Brain (2014), 58% of people use at least one source of social media, and around 1.4 billion people worldwide use Facebook. It was also calculated that the average amount of minutes spent on a social media site in one month is 700 billion minutes (Statistic Brain, 2014). Social media has been around since the 1970’s, and has increases substantially, and continues to do so as well (Golbe, 2012). Social media is a way for us to contact and stay in touch with old and new friends. Even though social media is mostly seen as just a communication factor, many do not realize that it also has many benefits that it provides to everyone that has the capability of using it.

In Andrew Keen’s (2012) article, he talks about social media being a trap to us humans who are involved in taking part in it (p. 429). He talks about how we are able to share every single bit of information about ourselves to anyone at any time we are shown the opportunity too. He believes that we should not be able to have the ability to share almost everything about ourselves to other people. He mentioned that you will only be able to find pure happiness if you are being left alone, and not having the capability to share our life with other people (p. 429). In this case, that is not true. Pure happiness does not come from being alone, and not being able to share anything with anyone. PBS (2011) mentioned that Psychologist researches have come to a conclusion that “happiness is made up of pleasure, engagement, and meaning”.

Engagement involves other people that you surround yourself with or may come in contact with, and so can pleasure. Therefore being alone does not create pure happiness. Parent Further (2013) also proves this point wrong, by mentioning that “kids can gain social confidence from interacting with other people online,” which will help them with new situations that involve social interaction that they will face in their later on lives. Social media can also help with improving relationships and making new friends, and what are relationships and friendships without being able to share things with those people? Friendships and relationships are all about knowing the other persons you are surrounding yourself with. In order to do that, one has to be able to communicate and be capable to share things. So, as you can see, just because we share things with other people, does not mean we will not be happy. Sharing things can help us with many areas in our day to day lives.

Schools, teachers and students also benefit from the use of social media as well. Social media helps teachers and students to be able to connect outside of school with academic questions, and help when they need it. Parent Further (2013) mentions how social media, such as Moodle, Digg, and other sights have become increasingly important in school for communication between the students and teachers. With the use of the social media that the teachers are using, to have outside of school conversations, it helps children build stronger school communities. They also mention how students are also able to explore their interests more through social media, by getting in contact with others and being able to exchange their knowledge, along with learning from the others knowledge as well (Parent Further, 2013).

According to Ritu Pant (2013), 96% of students, that are allowed access to internet, use at least one social media piece. Out of that 96%, 59% of them talk about educational topics on their social media page, and 50% of those students talk specifically about schoolwork that they are participating in. ProCons (2014) talks about how social media helps students do better in school as well. They mention that “after George Middle School in Portland, Organ introduced a social media program to engage students, grades went up by 50%, chronic absenteeism went down by 33%, and 20% of students school-wide voluntarily completed extra-credit assignments” (ProCons, 2014). Therefore, social media helps teachers and students increase their involvement with the school and their education.

Social media also has many other benefits. It can help companies in multiple ways. Madhur Chaturvedi (2014) mentions how “social media websites have become an important platform for businesses to engage with customers, prospects, employees, and candidates”. ProCons (2014) mentioned how large chain businesses use social media to quickly disperse new information with all their managers and employees. It also helps businesses create a faster and more efficient way of looking for new employees. Most business uses social media to target and reach out to employees through advertising the job openings to the community. According to ProCons (2014), “64% of companies are on two or more social networks for recruiting because of the wider pool of applicants and more efficient searching capabilities. 89% of job recruiters have hired employees through LinkedIn, 26% through Facebook, and 15% through Twitter.

One in six job-seekers credit social media for helping find their current job. 52% of job-seekers use Facebook for the job search, 38% use LinkedIn, and 34% use Twitter”. Social Media also allows companies to reach out to and interact with their customers. Companies use social media to get immediate customer feedback on certain items or things dealing with the company, so if it is disliked, they can make quick changes to ensure that their customers will be satisfied (ProCons, 2014). Companies also include a tab on their social media content that is just for their customers, allowing customers to interact with the company and give feed as well (Chaturvedi, 2014). That last thing that it helps companies out with, is being able to advertise their products in a fast, easy and efficient way. According to Chaturvedi (2014), sale leads generate from social media, because of the capability that companies have to advertise through social media.

Social media also helps protect our society in many ways. It can helps us to become more aware with our surroundings, by informing us of any situations that may put us through any harm. According MPA Degree (2006-2014), “government leaders and agencies are increasingly harnessing the powers of social media to both connect with the public and extract information”. They use social media to help defuse riots, by following “rabble-rousers” on Twitter, and using hints and clues to pinpoint where the riots exact location and time will be. They are also using it to prepare for disasters as well. They share posts on social media that inform the society what to do in case of an emergency, and how to always be prepared. MPA Degree also mentions how the government uses social media to warn the society of weather tragedies, like earthquakes and hurricanes for example. They mentioned how the 5.9 earthquake that hit the Northwest in the 2011, was broadcasted on Twitter before the earthquake even happened, in order to get the word out to many people (MPADegree, 2006-2014).

According to ProCons (2014), the US Military uses social media to help prevent suicides from occurring. Health clinics also use social media to tell patients when vaccines are in, and why they should get that certain vaccine. The Boston Health Commission used Twitter to help inform their followers of the vaccine available for the H1N1 breakout that occurred. The law enforcement also uses social media to catch and prosecute criminals. It was surveyed that 67% of “federal, state, and local law enforcement professionals . . . think ‘social media helps solve crimes more quickly’” (ProCons, 2014). They also mention how NYPD uses a tracking device that helps catch criminals who talk about the crimes they committed online (ProCons, 2014). ProCons also talks about how a nine-year old student, Martha Payne, shared a blog about her schools lunch, and how it was exposed everywhere. This blog led to the creating of the “Friends of Never Seconds” charity to help feed children globally. Social media helps protect us citizens from harm and discomfort that the world will see.

Social media is used everywhere across the world. About 58% of the world uses social media is some sort of way, whether it is through Facebook, Twitter, Moodle, etc., people are always using it (Statistics Brain, 2014). Just by listening to stories and hearing about them, social media really does not have a good reputation. Social media is seen as useless or a hurtful factor that we should not give as much recognition too that we do. People find it hurtful to our society and children, but that is not the case. Social media is very beneficial in many positive ways. Instead of hurting us, like a lot of people think, it helps us in very important ways.

It helps students and teachers become more engaged in their education, and it with helps raise grades and participation rates in the students themselves. It also helps our society in multiple ways. When businesses use social media, they are benefiting from it by excelling in their performance, and the community benefits as well by being able to give feedback on what is good and what isn’t. Lastly, it helps with protecting the communities. Weather it is through emergency warnings, or tracking devices, social media is a factor that plays a great role in protecting us. Overall, social media plays more of a beneficial factor than a harmful one, so therefore, we should continue to use it to our advantages.

References
Chaturvedu, M. (2014). Effective social media strategies – four tips, four benefits. Oracle. Retrieved from http://www.oracle.com Globe, G. (2012, September 6). The history of social networking. Digital Trends. Retrieved from http://www.digitaltrends.com Keen, A. (2012). Sharing is a trap. In K. A. Ackley (Ed.), Perspectives on contemporary issues (pp. 425-429). Boston: Wadsworth MPA Degree (2006-2014). How social media is being used by the government. MPADegree.org. Retrieved from http://mpadegree.org Pant, R. (2013, July 18). The use of social media in schools. Socialmedia Today. Retrieved from http://socialmediatoday.com ParentFurther (2013). Benefits of online social networking. ParentFurther. Retrieved from http://parentfurther.com PBS (2011). What is happiness?. This Emotional Life. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org ProCon (2014). Social networking. ProCon.org. Retrieved from http://socialnetworking.porcon.org Statistic Brain (2014). Social networking statistics. Statistic Brain. Retrieved from http://statisticbrain.com


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