It has attracted a massive number of users with an estimate of 3.5 billion users worldwide.

This is according to 2019 Social Media Statistics. Here are the major ways that these platforms have impacted our society:

1. Socialisation

With the use of platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, how people socialise has been greatly revolutionised. It has made it easy to connect to our family members, friends and relatives on a real-time basis.

With social media, people can share pictures and videos and communicate with their close ones. This has strengthened relationships and it is bringing families together in a way that was not possible in the past.

Families, friends, relatives and businesses have the opportunity to share skills and improve on different proficiencies. Additionally, people get to make and meet new friends.

2. Business

Businesses have greatly been impacted by social media — from marketing to interacting with customers on a timely basis. A business that has embraced the use of social has a definite edge over its competitors.

The online platforms are a less expensive way for businesses to advertise their offerings on a real-time basis and to attract more customers. It has made it easy for businesses to reach out to a wider customer base and improve customer loyalty through different programmes.

Easy access to customers gives businesses the leverage to retain existing customers as well as to attract more. This leads to great market share and greater profit margins and some good bucks for businesses.

Through interaction and feedbacks by businesses to their customers, they can understand the market quickly and adopt new strategies, as well as conform to the dynamic customer's tastes and demands.

3. Politics

Social media has impacted politics in many ways. Nowadays, it is where most people get their news; in some cases, this is before the media houses do. It is the medium that gives the easiest access to political and other news.

These online platforms also allow people to air out their political grievances to their political leaders and demand for actions to be taken. Its also a medium where mass political rallies are formed, campaigns are carried out and even political unrests are most felt.

4. Job hiring

Social media has impacted job recruitments significantly. The majority of companies make their hiring decisions based on one's social portfolio. Recruiters also use online networks to post job vacancies through which they get their ideal candidates.

It has also made it easy for job seekers to get access to job posts. This is evident on platforms like LinkedIn, where job seekers can create their profile containing their skills and see what job opportunities recruiters are posting.

5. Education

Many professions and skills have been built and learned through social media. There is a massive increase in online learning where one can easily learn a skill and build a strong profession around it. The existence of social media has led to an increase in the number of people undertaking distance learning, as well as academic offerings such as writing services

6. The negative impacts of social media

There are, however, negative impacts caused by social media. Despite it being a platform through which we socialise, run our business and understand political affairs, here are some negative results to take into consideration:
  • Through sharing personal information, one's privacy is at risk of impersonations, theft and stalking — among other vices. Nowadays, companies use social media to gauge job seekers. Posting anything abusive or embarrassing could make you lose that job opportunities, because 'the internet never forgets'.
  • Online social platforms are addictive and this has drastically reduced productivity at workplaces. This impacts negatively on companies as they incur losses.
  • In some instances, it has made some people — especially the introverts — to rely too much on the virtual world as opposed to the real world.
  • Cyberbullying is another worrying impact of social media. Results of cyberbullying have seen victims falling into depression and, in more radical cases, has cost them their lives. 
  • Since information travels faster online, a piece of false information could quickly reach a big number of people and cause great panic among the recipients.
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*Image courtesy of Econsultancy