The Effect of Social Media on Society

Introduction to social media

Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, exchange and comment contents among themselves in virtual communities and networks. Social media or “social networking” has almost become part of our daily lives and being tossed around over the past few years. It is like any other media such as newspaper, radio and television but it is far more than just about sharing information and ideas. Social networking tools like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Blogs have facilitated creation and exchange of ideas so quickly and widely than the conventional media.

The power of define and control a brand is shifting from corporations and institutions to individuals and communities. It is no longer on the 5Cs (e.g. condominium, credit cards and car) that people once talked about.

Today, it is about the brand new Cs: creativity, communication, connection, creation (of new ideas and products), community (of shared interests), collaboration and (changing the game of) competition.

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Social media has devalued the traditional definition of “friend” where it means trust, support, compatible values, etc. Although we get to know more people, we are not able to build strong bond with all the people whom we met as our available time is limited. Hence, there is an upcoming social trend of people with wider social circles, but weaker ties (people we don’t know very well but who provide us with useful information and ideas).


Besides having opportunity to know a lot of people in a fast and easy way, social media also helped teenagers who have social or physical mobility restrictions to build and maintain relationships with their friends and families.

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So,children who go overseas to study can still stay in meaningful contact with their parents. In 2008, President-elected Obama won the election through the effective use of social media to reach millions of audience or voters. The Obama campaign had generated and distributed huge amount of contents and messages across email, SMS, social media platforms and their websites. Obama and his campaign team fully understood the fundamental social need that everyone shares – the need of being “who we are”. Therefore, the campaign sent the message as “Because It’s about YOU” and chose the right form of media to connect with individuals, call for actions and create community for a social movement.

They encouraged citizens to share their voices, hold discussion parties in houses and run their own campaign meetings. It truly changed the delivery of political message. In 2010, after the earthquake happened in Haiti, many of the official communication lines were down. The rest of the world was not able to grasp the full picture of the situation there. To facilitate the sharing of information and make up for the lack of information, social media came in very handy to report the news about the affected area on what happened and what help was needed. Tweets from many people provided an impressive overview of the ongoing events from the earthquake. BBC covered the event by combining tweets from the work of its reporter Matthew Price in Port-au-Prince at the ground. Guardian’s live blog also used social media together with the information from other news organisations to report about the rescue mission.

It has been two years since CNN officially launched iReport as a section of its website where people can upload video material, with contact information. During the Haiti crisis, CNN had published a range of social media material but not all the materials were verified. The editorial staff would vet the reports from the citizen journalists and labeled them differently compared to unverified contents. On Facebook, a group, named “Earthquake Haiti”, was formed to show support and share updates and news. It had more than 14,000 members and some users even pleaded for assistance to the injured Haitians in the group. Using email, Twitter and social networking sites like Facebook, thousands of volunteers as part of Project Ushahidi were able to map reports sent by people from Haiti.

The most impressive part of the social media’s impact on Haiti is the charity text-message donations that soared to over $10 million for the victims in Haiti. People interested in helping the victims are encouraged to text, tweet and publicize their support using various social networking sites. The Global Philanthropy Group had also started a campaign to ask wealthy people and celebrities, like Ben Stiller and John Legend to use Twitter and Facebook to encourage others to give to UNICEF. An aid worker, Saundra Schimmelpfennig, allowed the advice from other aid workers and donors to post on her blog regarding to choosing which charitable organisations to support. In the meantime, donors were asking questions in Twitter, Facebook and blogs about their donations and endorsements of their favourite charities. After every crisis, the social media for social cause becomes a more effective medium to spread the word.

Negative impacts of social media on society

There are always two sides of every coin. Social media is just a tool or mean for people to use. It is still up to the users on how to use this tool (just like a knife, can help you to cut food or hurt others). Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center conducted a study on “The Future of Online Socializing” from the highly engaged, diverse set of respondents to an online, opt-in survey consisted of 895 technology stakeholders and critics. The negative effects presented by the respondents included time spent online robs time from important face-to-face relationships; the internet fosters mostly shallow relationships; the act of leveraging the internet to engage in social connection exposes private information; the internet allows people to silo themselves, limiting their exposure to new ideas; and the internet is being used to engender intolerance.

Some respondents also highlighted that there will be development of some new psychological and medical syndromes that will be “variations of depression caused by the lack of meaningful quality relationships”, and a “new world society”. The term, “Social Networking”, has begun to deceive the users to believe they are social creatures. For instance, spending a couple of hours using Farmville and chatting with friends concurrently does not convert into social skills. People become dependent on the technology and forget how to socialise in face-to-face context. The online personality of a person might be totally different from his/her offline character, causing chaos when the two personalities meet. It is apparent in online dating when the couple gets together in face-to-face for the first time. Their written profiles do not clearly represent their real-life characters. It is more enticing for people to type something that others want to hear than saying the truth.

Besides the “friendship”, creators of social networking sites and users redefine the term, “privacy” in the Internet as well. The challenge in data privacy is to share data while protecting personally identifiable information. Almost any information posted on social networking sites is permanent. Whenever someone posts pictures or videos on the web, it becomes viral. When the user deletes a video from his/her social network, someone might have kept it and then posted it onto other sites like YouTube already. People post photographs and video files on social networking sites without thinking and the files can reappear at the worst possible time. In 2008, a video of a group of ACJC students hazing a female student in school on her birthday was circulated and another video of a SCDF recruit being “welcomed” (was hosed with water and tarred with shoe polish) to a local fire station made its way online.

Much news has been reported about online privacy breach in Facebook and Facebook is constantly revising their privacy policy and changing their privacy controls for the users. Interestingly, even when users delete their personal information and deactivate their Facebook account, Facebook will still keep that information and will continue to use it for data mining. A reporter asked whether the data will at least be anonymized. The Facebook representative declined to comment.

In the corporate world, human resource managers can access Facebook or MySpace to get to know about a candidate’s true colours, especially when job seekers do not set their profiles to private. Research has found that almost half of employers have rejected a potential worker after finding incriminating material on their Facebook pages. Some employers have also checked the candidates’ online details in Facebook pages to see if they are lying about their qualifications. Nowadays, younger generations have a complete disregard for their own privacy, opening doors to unwelcome predators or stalkers.


Social media puts business in touch with the world. With nearly every hom now having access to the internet in some form, and 600 million users visiting Facebook every month, the potential to raise brand awareness through sites like Facebook is huge. social platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow your customers to interact with your brand and instantly comment and share your products, news, special offers and recommendations amongst their friends. If your products and services are appealing, fans and followers of your brand pages will “Like” “Share” “retweet” and “re-pin” helping your news to travel further than just your direct email database or registered website users.

Apart from that,social media also aids in many other factors : Communication: social media offers enhanced internal and/or external communication • Meetings and conferencing: the act of having actual meetings and conferences online, which can take place in a group of any size. This means that you can virtually meet up with several colleagues to discuss a project for instance, but also that you can attend a lecture or training session from your own home. Social media has completely dissolved physical boundaries, which translates into immense advantages for businesses. • Sharing media: the sharing of all kinds of content including documents, videos, audios, pictures, presentations slides, etc. This sharing of information can be between specific people only, or with all users of a given site. This not only means that companies can share content easily, but also that they can share it with those they want to, such as their customers or clients. This is a very effective way for companies to promote their business. Communities: social media allows access to groups or communities where key players like customers, suppliers or competitors can be found.

• Marketplaces: these are social media platforms where some kind of e-commerce is taking place, i.e., the buying and selling of a range of goods and/or services between the users of the site. Entering marketplaces allows companies to reach a very large pool of potential customers, as well as create traffic towards their own websites. • Social networks: from a business perspective, these offer excellent arenas to reach specific types of people – such as customers, suppliers or clients – and engage with them. Also, social networks give very good opportunities for businesses to spread brand awareness through these communities.

• Blogs and micro-blogs: these are very useful to create communities around a certain topic, product or organisation. Micro-blogs are much shorter blogs, as for example simple entries. Blogging offers many business opportunities: it creates brand awareness, increases market visibility, attracts traffic, improves customer relationship management and finally, allows you to get insight into your customers Collaboration: social media gives easy, efficient and often cost-effective ways to help different players work jointly or participate in a project

• Freelance platforms: outsourcing jobs and tasks has been made very accessible by social media. You can reach all kinds of freelancers, from writers to arbitrators, from general skills to highly specific ones, from very affordable prices to much more expensive ones and from local to global freelancers. The point is the choices are there, which means you can find the ideal freelancer suiting your exact needs. • Project & Team: social media makes a range of applications used at the office available on the web ,which means they can be used anywhere, anytime. From online document management systems to mobile phones, a range of applications and devices allow more effective collaboration regardless of physical boundaries.


Social Media can sometimes seem like just a new set of cool tools for involving young people.
Young people are using social media for:
*Keeping in touch with friends and acquaintances;
*Developing new contacts often with friends of friends, or people with shared interests;
*Sharing content, engaging in self expression & exploring identity;
*Hanging out and consuming content including commercial and user-generated content;
*Accessing information and informal learning;
*Participating in informal groups, and formal youth engagement opportunities;

Social media tools are woven into many young people’s day-to-day lives. Young people are in conversation and communication with their peer groups using a wide variety of different media and media devices every day. Social media offers platforms that every one can use freely, it gives young people the opportunity to share information among themselves in any way very easily and the level of interaction is very high because your contacts to which your message is been carried is always online (at the computer or via cellphone). In the moment when when you send a message, the person on the other side receives it and the conversation goes on.

Knowing this innovative and easy method to mobilize people, youth can organize meetings or protests via the internet where every other young person online can find out about it and get all the information.This has made the world very communal in the sense that these social media platforms give young people the chance to communicate instantly among themselves and so easy that events happening miles away from locations of other people can be shared online for everybody. Wherever you come from, you have the possibility to know what is going on and even comment about it.

What a world we live in now! In the old days when events happened at one place, it would take a while before people at another would find about them but now through social media, events and news are known worldwide in split seconds after they are shared and this has made the world one.Take a look at the events in the Arab world and recently England. Information among young people to mobilise themselves was the work of social media and even the whole world got to know about events in those places. Besides the political dimension, social media is also a way to find friends and find out about people that you have not met for a long time.


As a lover of social media and the brightness of its future in business and social connecting, this post is one which I have given much thought on and realised the potential of the brightness to totally blind its users. The benefits of socialmedia are just fantastic! Facebook has helped many people reconnect with old classmates, maintain long-distance relationships and enhanced people’s lifestyles in many ways. That can’t be denied. People are connecting more and making ‘friends’ at a greater pace than if they were physically placed in a room full of strangers. Shy people are able to chat via IM’s , emails and SMS as they are removed from the agonizing part of actually stepping up to say hello to a stranger.

We are connecting more every second and minute through the various social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, G+, MySpace, Path, Instagram, LinkedIn etc. Some are also using these platforms in the hope of finding that ‘dreamgirl or boy’. I have received a few messages via LinkedIn that were mild forms of dating proposals. Same via Twitter. So what is wrong with these great connections, you would ask, after all we are networking and there is no harm being done. True. But like everything else have you wondered about the adverse effect social media could be having on our relationships? Are people getting addicted to their gadgets due to social media?

In an average Asian family, every member of the family has a gadget of some sort. Either both parents have a BlackBerry or another smartphone whilst the two teenagers have cellphones plus an iDevice, gaming device or some form of tablet which they got as Christmas gifts. These are great items to have but are slowly replacing face-to-face conversations with our ‘need’ to connect. Some families have even stopped having dinner together because someone has to reply to an ‘Urgent’ email sent by the company boss, the kids have seen new comments on their status and have to ‘Like’ or comment back, instead of cooking the mother buys takeaway because she has to comment on the GroupChat created by her old students .

Is social media turning people into zombies? I think so. Test it out and see. Go to the mall for example and just sit still and observe the shoppers. Most people would have their head bowed whilst walking towards their destination as if knowing that other persons would see them coming and get out of the way. Even a group of girlfriends who have agreed to hangout at the mall would be more engrossed to their other social ‘friends’ more than the physical ones around them. We are not looking up to see our world anymore, the touch screen and mini keyboard is now the world we want to live in. We tap, poke and swipe to get further into virtual society. Tap, poke and swipe…Tap, poke and swipe…

People are spending more time on Facebook than they would at sitting at lunch with their friends. The worst is seeing a couple having lunch but both are engrossed in the BBM chats or Whatsapp GroupChats. The lunch ever so often would be interrupted with pings, beeps and tweets. So then how would they be able to have an intimate conversation about their relationship? People are using these gadgets to also avoid having to discuss serious matters that are going on in the relationship. They hide in cyberspace to avoid confrontations with the hope that when they resurface its all gone away. I think the way social media is being used relationally is peaking to a destructive level as it slowly replaces conversations. As we sink more into telling the world ‘what’s on your mind?’ we are slowly reducing the ability to actually tell others what is really on our minds via the face-to-face interaction.


The English language is constantly changing to accommodate developments in technology and culture. While some words appear quickly and then fade away, others become so commonplace that they immediately become permanent fixtures of our language. Keeping up with the evolution of the English language is no easy task. In the past, it took years or even decades for word usage to warrant inclusion in the dictionary. Radio and TV shortened the amount of time it took for new terms to gain traction, but the real revolution has occurred over the past several years thanks to the Internet and other technologies. Now, the development of the English language is accelerating at an unprecedented rate, and dictionary publishers are scrambling to strike the right balance between relevancy and credibility. Social media is at the center of the struggle, increasing the speed at which new words are adopted and creating new words for possible inclusion in the modern dictionary.

Where Language and Social Media Meet

Social media plays an important role in determining how dictionaries learn about potential new words. Instead of waiting for new words to gradually make their way through traditional channels, modern dictionaries use social media to monitor new words. For example, at Collins Dictionary we have leveraged the intersection of language and social media by opening up to crowdsourcing for new dictionary words. Our editorial staff thoroughly vets each submission to decide whether or not it will ultimately be included in the dictionary, but in just a few short weeks we have already received more than 2,100 new word suggestions. Individuals who suggest new words are also encouraged to use social media to stir up support for their submissions. So in essence, social media is being used as a tool for evaluating the strength and popularity of new vocabulary as well as a supply line for new word suggestions.

Social Media Terminology

Social media has also become a driving force behind the new words that are surfacing in the English vocabulary. The majority of the words that are being suggested for inclusion in dictionaries are either terms that describe various aspects of social media or words that have achieved widespread recognition due to the prolific social media use of pop culture influencers. “Tweeps”, “cyberstalking”, “twitlit” and “YOLO” are just a few of the social media-inspired suggestions that have are being considered for dictionary inclusion. Though not directly related to social media, other word suggestions like “Tebowing”, “cray” and “mantyhose” have filtered through the culture via Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Social media is here to stay. Going forward, it seems likely that social media will have an even greater presence in our daily lives – and a dominant influence over the evolution of the English language.


Although many people around the world use social media, it should only be used as a tool. Social media aides long distance communication greatly but there must be a stopping point. It cannot become our main form of communication and interaction. There are positives to this new technology but nowhere do these positives outweigh the negatives. If we continue overusing the aid of these sites, then it will keep effecting our communication, self-expression, bullying, isolation, friendship and humanity in negative ways.

There is nothing that can substitute for personal interaction. Overall,social media has devalued the traditional definition of “friend” where it means trust, support, compatible values, etc. Although we get to know more people, we are not able to build strong bond with all the people whom we met as our available time is limited. Hence, there is an upcoming social trend of people with wider social circles, but weaker ties (people we don’t know very well but who provide us with useful information and ideas).

Cite this page

The Effect of Social Media on Society. (2016, Sep 30). Retrieved from

The Effect of Social Media on Society

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