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Social media the BLACK plague of 21st century - The University Times

Social media the BLACK plague of 21st century

The University Times

It was somewhere in 1995 that the first form of social media was seen in the horizon. Mirc , a small windows program that you would download on your PC install it and then start chatting with numerous people usually around your area, mostly it was a method to flirt no differnt than Facebook.

After MIRC we had new other platforms like high5,myspace, ICQ even skype was used to chat with random people around the globe. And then we welcomed the biggest plague of 21st century Facebook and like that was not enough a new one came in the surface, Twitter, then Instagram, tik tok and so on.

All these social media were created not to connect people but in reality to disconnect people. Doctors warn parents to not let their children use social media ti ll the age of 14 at least due to the psychological damage that does on them. Who listens though? Absoloutely Nobody.

The following is an essay from a kid of the sixth grade in Washington:


Social media is a black plague that has tormented victim after victim. Initially, it was designed to be a fun entertainment experience, but social media is threatening the safety of users. “68 percent of social media users share their birth date publicly, 63 percent share their high school name, 18 percent share their phone number.”

Someone could be put into debt if a hacker stole their identity and used their credit card. Likewise, more and more teenagers are sacrificing their grades to be on social media. “Students who use social media had an average GPA of 3.06 while non-users had an average GPA of 3.82.” This is a problem for high schoolers, because colleges look at GPA when deciding who to accept.

Additionally, social media addiction causes people to be lonely. At UCLA’s brain-mapping center, scientists found out that every time someone gets a “like,” the reward center of the brain is activated so the person feels that people like them. Social media tricks people into feeling a fake sense of happiness when they are actually lonely due to the lack of face-to-face communication.

Some claim that social media is helpful because it provides quick, reliable sources to get breaking news. “News outlets can share breaking stories, alerts and other important bits of news instantly with followers.” However, disinformation (fake news) of social media is just as easily spread as real information. To sum it up, society needs to banish the social media plague from the world.”

They have become a part of our lives and not only part but in many cases addiction. Some people have become billionaires and some others have committed suicide because of the damage that social media created on their lives.

Certainly, social media had its own positive point, for instance promoting your company through them by advertising, creating profiles, and so on. Social media would assist you to create your brand image. But that is not the case anymore a recent study showed that people do not trust social media and anything display on them.

A survey from SurveyMonkey showed that 74% of people are tired of social media ads and do everything possible to avoid seeing them like adblockers. Another Survey Showed that 90% of people buy from brands that follow on social media but what they haven’t told us is that they got to know these brands from real life and not from social media.

Grey and YouGov find 96% of people in the UK do not trust influencers and the products they promote.

The biggest advantage for people that use social media to promote their business in reality it does not work. The thousands of euros people spend to promote their businesses on social media in reality they dont work. So what is the reason to engage with Social media?

Following is research from Dr Mariann Hardey, Associate Professor at Durham University Business School, is a social scientist and digital humanities scholar.

Her research interests have long been concerned with mediated relationships and digital communications while bringing a richer comprehension of opportunities around working in technology into the process of leadership with a focus on supporting gender equality in tech in particular.

I work with a range of corporate clients, NGOs and charities, along with cultural sites, museums and art galleries all of whom recognise strategic benefits of social media for engagement and audience and consumer tracking metrics.

Many consumers are comfortable with the change in formal methods of engagement to serendipitous social media posts and messages.

Consumers are already ‘social’ in these spaces, so the natural extension of corporate reach seems to fit with the innovation of smartphone technology and opportunities for new types of interactions. Yet these new types of interactions are hugely problematic: if a consumer wanted to know, for example, how to raise a complaint there isn’t a linear pathway here. Anyone who has tried to ‘contact’ Amazon will quickly realise after five clicks through different webpages that it is easy for corporations to appear engaged and friendly, when really they are hiding in plain sight.

There used to be a level of transparency in the close relationship required between corporations and consumers, much in the same way people like to put a face to know who they are dealing with.

If you were starting a new company tomorrow, you’d be uniquely different if you did not initiate some form of social media profile. You don’t need to worry about a long-lead time to establishing a visible presence, however, the amount of time and financial investment corporations put into initiating and managing a social media profile varies from none, or a little to a substantial share of the corporation’s value.

Do corporations invest properly in social media? Often, no. And here is how the plague becomes an epidemic. The infected world of Social Network Sites (SNS), Facebook, Twitter, 微信; Wēixin, 微博; Wēibo, LINE, YouTube, Reddit and their siblings is such that if I want to start an account, I just click a few buttons. I now have a new profile, and the provider looks after the user database for me. Wonderful.

All of this ‘user-friendly’ technology is designed with sticky features to keep users online for longer, giving away their data ‘freely’ and putting data power into the hands of the few. Some responsible action is being taken in the UK: the latest policy reform and new legal code means that social media firms are barred from using ‘addictive features’ such as notifications, continuous scrolling, auto-play or reward loops. Part of this rhetoric forms a pre-emptive set of protective reform changes designed to assure the user they are ‘safe’ in social media spaces. What these reforms fail to acknowledge is the role of third parties and the responsibility of corporations in managing their sponsored content to protect user data. Cambridge Analytica is a story of the digital age where the main players fail to resolve complex privacy issues and destroy users’ faith in social platforms.

Exacerbate existing inequalities and perpetuate new ones I’ve been doing some research into home biometric DNA kits asking fundamental questions about data integrity and how individual’s data is protected. Though in the initial stages of the research, the lack of transparency and inaccuracy in how the tests are managed draws a sharp intake of breath. Equally, some of the positive experiences have fundamentally changed lives: one participant found out she had a predisposition for a rare type of diabetes; she booked to see her GP and has been able to reform her lifestyle before the disease became a chronic condition. We are far from the elixir of ‘cyber’ life, though it would be wrong to state social media is entirely a malevolent condition. What is needed are specialists to create open and fair terms of use. For every commercial opportunity to create more content and leverage more information by social media, there exist in equal measure opportunities to disturb the user experience to exacerbate existing inequalities and perpetuate new ones.

Today’s digital social platforms and networked information have been optimised to ensure users remain engaged and tethered to their affective appeal. This is technology designed to hold attention – constant scrolling, autoplay, image integration, push notifications – all with the capacity for addictive interactions and to immerse the user in ways they likely did not intend or expect.

What, then, is the role of government regulation to protect us from such infrastructure? We once may have speculated about ‘technologies of freedom’, however, things have significantly shifted and the celebration for a utopia of self-governance is woefully inadequate to protect user data. Today, the operation of many digital platform-based media have begun to mimic the operation of collective circle of power and questions remain for how big players and their CEOs might be held accountable.

There is not an easy answer to the above, so as users continue to be used, so too we must prepare ourselves for further disturbances as platforms dip deeper for longer into our data.

To find out more about Dr Hardey’s research, please visit durham.ac.uk/business/mariann-hardey

This article was published in IMPACT Magazine on 1 July 2019

Close your social media accounts and feel free again. Engaging with your customers in more traditional ways is way more productive and profitable, invest on the real relationships we have with people and not online with 30% of the accounts being fake, avoid the risk of sharing private information to intruders and hackers.

The University Times

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