January 14, 2013
Do you Advocate or Oppose Social Media?
Advocates of the Social Media say that these communities facilitate social and political change; offer teachers, librarians, and students valuable access to educational support and materials; promote increased interaction with friends and family and broadcast useful information rapidly. Opponents say that these sites alter children’s brains and behavior; waste time on frivolous activity; prevent face-to-face communication; expose users to predators like pedophiles and burglars and spread false and potentially dangerous information.
In this paper I will give a brief history of the Social Media and will also enumerate in an unbiased way some pros and cons of the Social Media. History of the Social Media
SixDegrees.com, which existed from 1997-2001, is considered the first social networking site because it allowed users to create personal spaces and connect to friends online. Friendster, created in 2002, popularized social networking in the United States but was quickly outpaced by other social networking sites like: MySpace (2003), Facebook (2004), Twitter (2006), Pinterest (2009), and Google+ (2012). Facebook reported one billion monthly users worldwide on October 4, 2012, making it the most popular social networking site with one in seven people on the planet using the site. Every day, Facebook manages 2.7 billion "Likes,” 300 million photo uploads, and 2.5 billion status updates and check-ins. Twitter, the second largest social networking site, had an estimated 107.7 million users in the United States (as of Jan. 31, 2012) and 500 million worldwide users (as of Sep. 28, 2012). Pinterest is the third largest social network with 23 million unique visitors in July 2012, followed by LinkedIn, Tagged, Google+, and MySpace. 59% of all Internet users use at least one social networking site and 56% of social networking users are female. Social Media Pros
Social networking sites spread information faster than any other media. Over 50% of people learn about breaking news on social media. 65% of traditional media reporters and editors use sites like Facebook and LinkedIn for story research, and 52% use Twitter. Social networking sites are the top news source for 27.8% of Americans, ranking close to newspapers (28.8%) and above radio (18.8%) and other print publications (6%). Twitter and YouTube users reported the July 20, 2012 Aurora, CO theater shooting before news crews could arrive on the scene, and the Red Cross urged witnesses to tell family members they were safe via social media outlets. (Hughes & Pesce, 2012).
Law enforcement uses social networking sites to catch and prosecute criminals. 67% of federal, state, and local law enforcement professionals surveyed think "social media helps solve crimes more quickly." In 2011 the NYPD added a Twitter tracking unit and has used social networking to arrest criminals who have bragged of their crimes online. When the Vancouver Canucks lost the 2011 Stanley Cup in Vancouver, the city erupted into riots. Social media was used to catch vandals and rioters as social networking site users tagged the people they knew in over 2,000 photos posted to the sites. (Global Post, 2012).
Social networking sites help students do better at school. 59% of students with access to the Internet report that they use social networking sites to discuss educational topics and 50% use the sites to talk about school assignments. After George Middle School in Portland, OR introduced a social media program to engage students grades went up by 50%, chronic absenteeism went down by 33%, and 20% of students school-wide voluntarily completed extra-credit assignments. (Delmatoff, 2010).
Social networking sites allow people to improve their relationships and make new friends. 70% of adult social networking users visit the sites to connect with friends and family, and...