The impact of social media

In my opinion I think it is too soon to tell whether social media has had a positive of negative impact on society, however I think it is trending in a negative direction. So far social media has brought people a lot of joy in their lives but it has also brought people a lot of sadness. Even though the technology keeps on advancing forward no one has taken a step back to ask if it's going in the right direction. If government and business leaders work together to protect consumers then social media can me used for good and to increase quality of life for everyone. However if social media remains unaccountable and directionless there is a danger in the overall effect it could have on society.

 For example the presentation on cyber bullying showed how destructive anonymity and trolling can be. The increase in suicide rates is also a byproduct of this trend. Unless social media companies work to curb the hate and harassment people encounter on their sites this problem will only worsen. Even though we are more connected then ever people still seem to feel more alone. Now it seems like hate and trolling are an integral part of social media but it doesn't have to be that way. If social media companies take real action to moderate their sites and protect users then in the future this trend could reverse and social media could do what it was meant to do.

The presentations about "Facebook and politics" as well as "Facebook's unparalleled power" showed how dangerous the influence of these companies can be when in the wrong hands. Russia's influencing of the 2016 US election shows how easy it is for social media to undermine democracy. In the future if nothing is done to curb the influence of fake news democracy as we know it may cease to exist. Already in countries like Indonesia and Mynammar Facebook is used to spread hate and radicalism and this trend will only continue as more developing countries are exposed to the technology. However Facebook could be used for good like in the Arab spring where it was used to encourage democracy and representation. If these companies work harder to curb fake news and manipulation them Facebook could be used as a tool for instead of a weapon against democracy.

In conclusion I think there is lots of potential in social media but now it's not reaching the heights it could. Instead its descending into the depths and becoming something that nobody intended it to be. If social media were to change its ways and become a force for good in the world there needs to be more work done by the leaders of the industry. They have to become more focused on their customers well-being instead of just their profits. Governments and regulators also have to take a more active role in making sure these companies abide by their promises and use their institutions for good. If these steps are taken then the future of social media could end up quite bright, but if they aren't then only darkness awaits.


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