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Social Media Usage Research Paper

By MubarakMuse1 May 13, 2013 1314 Words
Social Media: Usage and Impact
Humans were always known for their cultural trend of migrating to what is cool and new. The Internet became a sensation when it first came out in the 60s. However, now sites such as Facebook and YouTube have absorbed that popularity. There are about 250 million active Facebook users, 346 million blog readers, 184 million bloggers, 14 million “tweeters” (Zarrella, 1). These websites are now known as the world of social media. The term social media broken up consists of two words, social & media. Social meaning one’s uncontrollable need for companionship and media is a communication instrument (Dictionary.com). Therefore it basically means the search for companionship through a communication instruments. The recent rise in the usage and the popularity of the Social media has amended the higher education system, altered the psychological state of its users and redefined marketing and advertisement. Facebook, YouTube and BlogSpot are the more prominent sites in which Americans socially relate. “With over 500 million active users, Facebook provides a virtual reality in cyberspace where users can enact identities for their friends, acquaintances, and a larger passing public” (Noor Al-Deen, 5). Users create profiles and provide explicit information such birth date, location, and relationship status, forcing one to become deeply attached to one’s accounts. Of the many reasons why members of the society use social media are to accumulate friends and strengthen previous friendships. “According to Facebook, the average user has 130 friends” (Noor Al-Deen, 5). Facebook focuses on making friends and updating statuses and being aware of your virtual friend’s status. Another reason why members of the society use social media is it to engage in self-presentation, make one self-known to the larger world (Noor Al-Deen, 5). Many have become socially elevated just by posting a video of themselves on Facebook or YouTube. College students are of the top users of social media. “In a recent study college students ‘reported using Facebook 30 minutes throughout the day as apart of their daily routine’”( Noor Al-Deen, 3). College is an environment where one explores his options and decides his future. Therefore many college students refer to sites such as Facebook and Twitter to become truly apart their collegiate community and become socially integrated. “A study submitted by Heiberger and Harper in 2008 found that 78.1% of students who spent more than an hour on Facebook participated in at least 1 student organization or more” (Wankel, 4). Therefore there is an evident relativity between social integration and participation in school organization. Social media sites have also enabled freshmen student to enact with their professors and classmates much efficiently instead of having to set appointments and wait for a long time for one to meet one’s professor (Noor al-Deen, 6). Therefore incoming freshmen students should be encouraged to get involve socially both online and offline to increase their chances of growth within the institution they attend. However, according to Charles Wankel, a professor at St John’s University, extensive usage of sites as such Facebook can cause deficits such as information overload and bypass academic responsibilities. It takes up to much time of the day that it distracts one from his tasks. Social media sites have also altered the psychology of our society. “‘…Television and other popular forms of social media shape our perception of reality’ Sheldon says.” (Newswise) we base our decisions and thinking on what we encounter during our experiences with those forms of social media. Children are the most vulnerable to this psychological shift due to the stage of life they are in. Childhood was always known as a stage where children absorb all information presented and merge it into their behavior. So when children are presented with social media sites they are forced to adopt. An article written by Chelsea Clinton and James Steyer says “By the time they're 2 years old, more than 90% of all American children have an online history. At 5, more than 50% regularly interact with a computer or tablet device, and by 7 or 8, many kids regularly play video games.” Children are being familiarized with social media by parents and older siblings and cousins and that’s how to they ride this wave early on. As they grow up they are faced with calamities and adversities such as bullying or parental divorce. They then turn to social media sites to express their feelings and search for comfort and empathy. “Rosen says. His research shows people who engage in more Facebook activities -- more status updates, more photo uploads, more "likes" -- also display more virtual empathy” (The Huffington pos ). This virtual empathy then reflects on one’s face to face interactions. Children who are not socially active face to face become more socially confident after using social media. This is due to them sharing and communicating online behind doors, which builds their confidence. “If someone posts he had a difficult day, and you post a comment saying, "Call me if you need anything," you've just displayed virtual empathy” (The Huffington post). However an article claims that” The immediacy of social media platforms, coupled with vulnerable youngsters who are socially inexperienced and not fully developed emotionally, can create a combustible mix. Kids often self-reveal before they reflect, and millions of kids say and do things they later regret” (Clinton & Steyer, 1). Social media sites have transformed the minds of these children and made them think that these sites are always helpful. “Consumer Reports reported last year that more than 7.5 million American kids under the age of 13 have joined Facebook, which technically requires users to be 13 years old to open an account” (Clinton & Steyer, 1). This shows the addiction that one’s children could have if one doesn’t set restrictions and provisions. Lastly, the final aspect in which social media sites had an enormous impact on was marketing and advertising. Businesses recently began to market their products on social media because of the large online social population. So as they receive supporters, these supporters also began to influence others that they virtual met or will meet. It is like a chain reaction of supporters. In recent years many name brand companies have become a part of the social media community. “Brands such as IBM, Burger King, and have come to own a 100 blogs and claim over 100000 views on YouTube” (Zarrela, 2). Through these blogs and YouTube they communicate with consumers and make sure that the consumer full is convinced with the product. Advertisement is a great part of a business because it is what attracts consumers. “Advertisers don’t have to pay publishers or distributors huge sums of money to embed their messages; now they can make their own interesting content that viewers will flock to (Zarrela, 5). Therefore their spending decrease and profit increase. The social media is cheap means of marketing for businesses. It costs almost nothing, it’s easy to get started, and it can have an enormous financial impact on your business (Zarrela, 3). In conclusion, social media has become a source of advancement and growth in which one can attain effortlessly. However one must become knowledgeable of what one share and reads. Social media opens doors to who chooses to excel academically by offering different angles on a single topic and aiding him/her on researching about that topic. It also opens opportunities to become more socially rounded by building confidence behind closed doors and automatically reflecting that in your day to day interactions and relationships. And open doors for businesses to grow and become more popular and productive. Social media cost all most nothing therefore there is no reason why one should take advantage of the golden opportunity that lies ahead of one. However one must not be controlled by the social but one should be in control of it.

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