Social Media – The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly
In my first blog I introduced the concept that “society has changed” with the onset of social media. I explored all “The Good” that has come about due to mass communication such as connecting with distant family & friends, meeting new people, establishing support groups, marketing businesses, and spreading awareness through mass messaging capability. However, with the positive also come some negative affects on society. Today’s blog will look at “The Bad” affects of social media on society.
Social Media – The Bad
While social media can connect you with friends and family on a global basis like never before, it strangely disconnects you with the people that you are physically present. The people that we are actually with ie. parents, siblings, spouse, children, close friends; are generally speaking the people who are the biggest and most important part of our lives. However, while we try to “stay connected” on social media personally & professionally, we end up ignoring those important people in our lives who are right beside us. People are often caught texting at a meal, “privately” laughing at a post, or stopping all conversation to have a different conversation. In an immediate sense it is poor manners and ignorant. In an ongoing sense it sends a hurtful message to the people you are physically with that others are more important then they are. Over the long term it can damage or even destroy a relationship through mis-communication, lack of communication, lack of attention and even trust.
The use of social media promotes poor grammar and written communication. I repeatedly receive and occasionally send texts with no capitals, poor spelling, word substitution typos, and full of acronyms. People are expected to ignore and accept these shortcomings as they read it. For the older generation this is inexcusable. In my generation it is ignored based on “we know what they meant”. However, for the younger generation with little grammatical foundation to begin with, it produces a society that can no longer communicate effectively. Welcome to a society who through mass communication ability are losing their ability to communicate verbally or written.
Check out this effective and emotional video called on social media and humanity. I saw this a year ago. To me, it says it all.
While social media has become a great tool for communication, it has also become very time consuming. When I was growing up, if we wanted to contact someone we did so by phone or letter. Eventually, we even had an answering machine so if someone phoned we could hear their message and call back. It was pretty simple. Now I find that people communicate in so many different ways that I have an abundance of different venues I need to check on, on a daily basis just to “stay connected”. I still need to check my phone messages and mail box. I also need to check my emails, Facebook, linked-in, text messages on my phone, Instagram, and snap chat and various other “reminder” links. It’s time consuming and somewhat of a burden. I need to figure out how to communicate, how other groups and friends like to communicate, and then make sure I check on these daily.
Check out this Ted Talk called “Gotta Share” for a humorous look at the number of social media choices people use and the time spent using them.
Social Media venue choices to use can be overwhelming. As I read and learn in my “Introduction to Social Media” class about all the social media options including blogging, chatting, wikis, photos sharing, bookmarking, and networks (half of which I was unaware of) it is an overwhelming selection. I feel like I’m looking at a wall full of Campbell’s Soup cans; an impressive number of red & white cans that all look the same and yet are all different. An impressive number of choices but so many that it renders the purchase decision to a halt. I can’t grab and go. I need to stop, read carefully to discover my choices or to find the one I already know and like. Social media is much the same. What are my choices? Which do I use? How do I use it? Which is better ie. facebook or google, delicious or pinterest, wordpress or blogger etc. etc. etc.
Social media capabilities can be overwhelming. After making a choice of which social media venue to use, it is difficult to learn how to use it to its full potential. Much learning is through hands on use, tutorials, help lines, or person to person direction. The software capabilities are either used in a limited manner or a long road of frustrating learning. Then when you think you have it all figured out there is something newer, better, and faster. Social media constantly changes and must be kept up with to keep current both personally and professionally.
Social Media has also become time consuming for businesses. In today’s business world, much of the communication is also done via websites and social media tools. These need to be created and kept current. Not only does the business need to communicate their message to the public they also need to respond to the public on social media. Social media does imply after all 2-way communication. For a business this means an extra person hired or whole departments full of people to manage the business’s social media. This results in a whole new expense in the world of business.
For example the Applebee chain was once condemned for firing an employee after posting a derogatory comment from a customer ( see: 6 Examples of Social Media Crisis). The firing was not viewed well by the public. Within 24 hours 19,000 negative comments were posted. Applebee tried hiding the post but was further condemned. Moral of the story for Applebee was not to try to defend or argue with the customers on-line. Moral of the story for me, is the amount of time and expense involved with “caring” for social media in business. Tricky business!
That’s a long list of “Bads”. What do you think? Does the bad outweigh the good?