Over the past 20 years information and communication technology has changed rapidly, with the advent of social media being a key advancement.

The pace of change is stepping up. For example, mobile technology development has played a major role in shaping social media effects. Mobile devices dominate throughout the globe in terms of total minutes spent online. This puts the means in everyone’s hands to connect anywhere, at any time, to any computer.

Why People Share Information

New York Times Consumer Insight Group’s fascinating study exposed the reasons that participants cited for sharing social media information. These include a desire to expose useful and engaging material to others; a desire to identify themselves; a desire to develop and maintain relationships and get the word out about brands and the causes they like or endorse.

Such factors have led to the development of social networks from being a convenient means to keep in touch with friends and family to being used in ways that have a real impact on society.

Social media is used in ways that influence politics, industry, culture around the world, education, employment, creativity and more.

Impact of Social Media:

1. The Impact of Social Media on Politics

A recent Pew Research study claims that 62 per cent of people are getting their news from social media, with 18 per cent very often doing so.

The role of social media in political campaigns has increased tremendously as opposed to other newspapers. Social networks are playing an increasingly important role in electoral politics–first in Howard Dean’s ultimately unsuccessful 2003 campaign, and then in the 2008 election of the first African-American president.

The New York Times notes that “Donald J. Trump’s election is perhaps the best example yet that social networks across the globe are helping to radically rewire human society.” Because social media enables people to communicate more openly with each other, they help create increasingly powerful social organizations within previously marginalized groups.

2. The Impact of Social Media on Society

Nearly a quarter of the world’s population is already on Facebook. About 80 per cent of all internet users are on this site in the United States. Since social networks rely on people-to-people interactions they become more effective as they develop.

Any person with marginal views can see, through the internet, that he is not alone. And when these people find each other through social media, they can do things — create memes, magazines, and whole online universes that affirm their worldview, and then break into the mainstream.

Without the social media, there would be little exposure of financial, legal, economic and political ills. Increased visibility of the problems has changed the power balance from the hands of a few to the majority.

The flipside: Social media destroys true activism slowly and replaces it with’ slacktivism.’

While activism in social media brings increased awareness of societal issues, questions remain as to whether this knowledge translates into real change.

Some argue that social media has encouraged people to use computers and mobile phones to voice their concerns about social issues without actually having to actively engage in real life campaigns. They just support pressing the’ Like’ button or sharing content.

4. The Impact of Social Media on Commerce

The rise of social media means that a company that doesn’t touch its clients and prospects through one or another social media platform is rare. Companies see the value of using social media to communicate with clients and to generate revenue.

Businesses have discovered that social media can be used to generate feedback, stimulate demand and create targeted product offerings. This is critical in traditional brick-and-motor businesses, and, naturally, in the e-commerce world.

Some studies suggest the introduction of social networks within the workplace may facilitate the exchange of information. The aim is to enhance project management practices and promote the diffusion of specialist knowledge. Fully integrating workplace social technology reduces barriers, decreases silos and can improve engagement and help create more highly skilled and skilled workers.

The flip side: Low number of social’ shares’ can lead to negative social proof and undermine the credibility of company.

Interestingly, while the use of social sharing has become the norm rather than the exception in industry, some businesses have opted to go against the grain and withdraw the social sharing buttons from their websites after witnessing the negative effects of social media firsthand.

A case study with Taloon.com, a Finnish e-commerce store, showed that sales improved by 11.9 percent when they removed sharing buttons from their product pages.

4. The Impact of Social Media on the World of Work

Social media deeply affected recruiting and hiring. 19 per cent of hiring managers make their recruitment decisions based on social media knowledge. According to the 2016 social media recruiting survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 60 per cent of companies use social networking sites to study job applicants.

Professional social networks like LinkedIn are important social media platforms for anyone in their career trying to stand out. They allow people to create a personal brand, and to market it.

5. The Impact of Social Media on Training and Development

Far more employable are job candidates who develop skills in the new and most sophisticated social media techniques.

A 2013 survey conducted by Pearson Learning Solutions recorded a substantial increase in social media use in learning. Over half of the educators interviewed agreed that social media promotes engagement and offers a learning-fostering atmosphere.

In many educational institutions, forums, wikis, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube, and podcasts are now growing learning tools. Social media has led to the growth of online long distance learning.

6. The Challenges of Social Media

Social media has been accused of promoting social ills such as:

Cyberbullying:

Teenagers need to fit in, be famous, and outdo others. Long before the advent of social media this method was difficult. Add Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram to the mix and you immediately have adolescents facing feeling pressure to grow up in an online world too soon.

Lack of Privacy:

Stalking, identity theft, personal assaults and abuse of information are some of the risks that social media users face. The consumers themselves are mostly to blame as they end up posting information that should not be in the public eye. The misunderstanding stems from a lack of understanding of how an online profile actually works out the private and public elements.

Unfortunately, when private information is deleted, it is usually too late, and can cause problems in the personal and professional lives of individuals.

7. The Impact of Social Media on Relationships

One of the social media impact is to allow people to form and cherish artificial bonds over real friendships. As used on social media, the word ‘ friend’ lacks the familiarity associated with traditional friendships, where people actually know each other, want to speak to each other, have an intimate bond and often connect face to face.