Are Social Networking Sites Good for Society?

One side claims that social networking sites are good for the society while the other side feels that they are not good for the society.

Some proponents of social networking sites define them as a utility that connects people with the people around them. They back this up by saying that social network links an individual to other people through the computer. They support this by saying that it connects people regardless of their physical location. On the other hand, critics of social network hold that social media disconnect us from people around us. This is supported by claims that instead of hanging out with your friends in the pub or somewhere else, social media makes one stay at a computer or mobile screen by themselves. It deprives a person of the real natural connection where one can chat with his friend one on one, share a meal, a drink or simply do something enjoyable together. Also, nowadays most people would rather sit by themselves and engage in social media rather than join other people in their conversations or activities. To the con, social media disconnect people.

The assumption that the proponents make is that connecting is similar to a mere text or communication. On the other hand, the cons assume that connection between people should be one on one. These two assumptions are the basis of the arguments from the two sides. Hence, the main reasons to their disagreement are in social network definition.

The proponents and critiques of social networks present some cause and effect relationships that support their claims. Pro students say that social networking sites help disburse information faster than any other medium. This means that if some information is published in a social network site, it will spread very fast as compared to all the other media. This cause/effect relationship is likely because information is known to flow very vast on social networks. Also, most of the people use social media to catch up with breaking news. This is because it transfers information very fast.

The con argues that students who engage in social media heavily tend to score lower grades. This means that if a student is visiting social media sites a lot, the effect will be that he will score a lower grade compared to a student who does not use social media heavily. This cause- effect relationship is likely because social media takes up a lot of people’s time. Students need to study a lot in order to get exceptional grades.

Critiques of social media say that it helps spread hate speech which leads to violence. This problem is evident from the availability of social groups such as those experienced in 2012 attacking president Barrack Obama. They spew racial and stereotypical messages all over the internet. Pictures comparing President Obama to apes were also circulated. To remedy such behaviors on social media, the media regulations need to be revised to include social media regulations. Also, the government should monitor the sites for hate speech. Those caught should be jailed as a lesson to others. This would reduce the high rate of hate speech dissemination if not curb it.

The proponents of social media argue that it is faster than any other media, a fact that critiques say leads to fast distribution of false and unreliable information. This is one problem widely experienced in social media. For example, an individual twitted that the NYS Exchange was flooding and, hence, power will be cut off all over Manhattan. This false information was picked by mainstream media like CNN and reported. This caused panic to the affected parties. The problem is that the mainstream media also source for news on social media. Thanks to social media there are a lot of citizen journalists. To avoid such cases, mainstream media should only gather news on social media from credible sources. They should scrutinize the information reported by citizen journalists, to find out if it is factual. They should also ensure that they collect information from sources they can identify, and make them understand that they are responsible for the information they give.

Evaluation should be carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed methods above. For the first problem, after a few culprits are apprehended, and this is made public, they should monitor the scope of hate speech being disbursed in the internet. It should be checked if it is reducing. If hate speech in social media is reducing, then the method proposed is good. For the second problem, evaluation would be both quantity and quality. If the number of times false information is distributed through mainstream media is less, it can be considered a success. Also, if the news broadcast is always factual, it means that the media are confirming the facts as well as the sources.

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