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Social Media
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All communications channels available on the World Wide Web and devoted to interaction, share
of information, community-based input and cooperation are reunited under the abstract term of
social media. Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, LinkedIn are just few of the most used social
networking sites (components of social media). What is very interesting is that social media
become a very powerful tool in mass manipulation in these days. Look at the example of
Facebook and its mechanism of sharing and ask for likes or look at Twitter. It is widely accepted
that one needs to be involved in this phenomena in order to keep up with the other human beings.
In this report the advantages and disadvantages of social media are being analyzed and discussed
Keywords: social media, Facebook, Twitter,


In the contemporary context, people may often use internet for doing purchases, planning
vacation, research school assignments, watch movies and listening to music. But they were
affected in another way too: in the last years how people interact socially experienced new
dimensions. One of the cause for this changes is social media: people can send photos and small
videos, can share their thoughts with the world on blogs or other social networking channels, and
can become more involved in what is happening in todays society. Although there are many
positive aspects of social media there are concerns about the means in which the personal
information shared on social channels is being handled. This paper gives an overview of how this
concept evolved and develop, analysis its advantages and disadvantages and draws few
conclusions about the social and economic impact of social media in 21st century.
Social media is a concept that first appears in 1990s and it is connected to the appearance of
websites that allowed users to upload content. is the first social network born in
1997. After year 2012 there was an explosion in the number of social media users:

Facebook registered 1 billion users worldwide

Twitter estimated the number of its users at approximately 520 million (Cone, 2008).

A 2010 statistic for US shows some incredible numbers:


48 % of all Americans have social networking (Cone, 2008).

According to Nielsen Company (2010), Americans spend in average a quarter of their
online time on social networks and visiting social channels become the most popular

activity carried out on Internet (it beats even checking the personal email).
Almost 80% of the people from Fortune 500 user Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and similar
social network channels.


93% of the users believe a company should have a presence in social media and 85% of
users believe a company should go one step further and interact with its clients (Cone,

Better software tools, better computers, increased broadband availability, other technological
factors, social factors like popularity among younger age groups and economic factors all led to
an extremely rapid growth in social media.
In order to understand better the concept of social media, few definitions are in order.
Social network site a web-based service that allows users to create a public profile within a
system, develop a list of connections with whom they share common things and interact with
these online friends. Facebook and LinkedIn are the best examples to support the above
definition (Boyd & Ellison, 2007).
Media sharing sites here a user can post photographs and videos that can be seen, appreciated,
commented and distributed further by other users of the site. YouTube and Instagram fell in this
Status update tools allow users to share short updates about people, events and to see updates
created by others (Fox, Zickuhr, & Smith, 2009).
Bookmarking on social channels such sites allow users to create and share link to websites
(StumbleUpon is a good example).
Blogs this word comes from web log and is an online journal in which pages contain authors
opinion about people, events and ideas. WordPress is a popular host for free blogs.


Wikis is a collection of pages which can be created and updated by users with the help of their
own Web browser. Wikipedia is the most famous wiki in the world.
Advantages of Social Media
Social media can bring advantages to all areas of modern life. The evolution of the model is
based on the concepts of causes and dynamics of competitiveness in business. Nowadays,
companies must compete in global media by elevation and maintaining themselves on the global
networking and responding simultaneously to local demand. All this can be achieved with the
help of social media. If we think about the positive impact of this concept on tourism we will see
that social media allow tourists to avoid intermediaries and contact hotels directly through
Internet, on their Facebook page for example. Secondly, travel agency adapted very well to
market demands and use the network as a marketing tool. In addition forums, blogs, Social
Networks are being used by tourists who want to share their experiences in the network so as to
encourage positive advertisement of a tourist destination.
One does not have to forget about the word social. Organizations were capable to exploit this fact
by establishing communication with clients via social networks (Li & Yu, 2011). These networks
can help companies communicate and collect input faster than the traditional methods (Jonasse,
Howland, Moore, & Marra, 2003). For example, Starbucks encourages its customers to forward
ideas about how the company should improve.

As it relates to social networking in the workplace, benefits of social networking platforms can


Allows open communication, leading to rich information discovery and sharing.

Employees can discuss ideas, post news, and ask questions.
It is an opportunity to enlarge the list of business partners.
It is a useful recruitment tool.
Improves business reputation.
Tools for market research and marketing campaigns.
Another aspect, very important, is the influence of social media in education. Social media tools
can be used to encourage students to engage with each other and to share their creativity. An
additional benefit is given by the relationship created with real people, therefore the others are no
longer seen just as peers. For examples, with the help of Facebook a student can overcome
isolation and can start creating a durable relationship with fellow dorm residents or university
campus mates. Information about tutoring activities can be picked up by students via Twitter or
Facebook posts. According to a study conducted by DePaul University social media channels can
have a positive impact on students leadership and communication skills.
Disadvantages of Social Media
Along with the benefits that social media brings to education, scientists agree on the fact that
social networking tools have some hidden costs:

Facebook, Google, Twitter and other services fragment our attention.

Extended use of internet can be associated with lack of patience, decrease in tenacity and
critical thinking skills, greater impulsivity.


Shifting rapidly from object to object online can decrease students attention.
Extended exposure to addictive stimuli can produce permanent changes in brain structure
and function.

Possible disadvantages of social media at the workplace:

Possibility for hackers to commit cyber-crimes and launch virus attacks.
Increased risk of online scams that seem genuine and true.
The advent of social media data sharing and usage comes with some disadvantages. What may
be the most concerning characteristic of social networking services is that they ask people to
upload their personal information. Even the most cautious individuals can give away information
they should not. Employees may not be fully understand how their behavior online may prove to
be a risk for the security of the company. Employees must participate to security trainings which
will teach them how to avoid unpleasant effects of how a simple click on a received link can lead
to a virus infecting their computer, how a click on suspicious links can lead to data theft.
Unfortunately many users forget that just because they have an online profile, it does not
necessarily mean they know how to avoid potentially dangerous situations.
According to scientists, students must learn to choose the skills needed to find and use
information online from the ability to understand that information (Odden, 2011 ).
As technological shifts continue with advances from the mechanical to the electronic, people
tend to forget to interact face-to-face and shift to online social interaction.


According to Connolly (2011), students can build a capacity for critical thinking when using
social networking channels. Teachers and students should have multiple discussions about social
medias advantages and disadvantages. Social media can enhance student learning, and teachers
can use realistic case studies to help students identify trade-offs. For example, the use of social
media in educational condition may faulty state that knowledge acquisition process should be
easy and fast (Connolly, 2011).
For a growing number of people, social media provide a way of keeping alive interactions with
friends and communities. Social media also allow companies and organizations to reach large
numbers of followers or employers. At the same time, social media are modifying the methods
which people use to establish social reports with each others, although the impact of these shifts
is not yet fully understood. The implications of sharing personal information are also not fully

Boyd, D. M., & Ellison, N. (2007). Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship.
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, p. Vol.13.

Burson, M. (2010). The Global Social Media Check-up.
Cone, M. (2008). Business in Social Media Study.
Connolly, M. (2011). Contested Issues in Student Affairs: Diverse Perspectives and Respectful
Dialogue. Stylus Press.
Desilets, A., & Paquet, S. (2005). Wiki as a Tool for Web-based Collaborative Story Telling in
Primary School: a Case Study. National Research Council of Canada.
Fox, Zickuhr, & Smith. (2009). Twitter and Status Updating Fall 2009. Pew International.
Jonasse, D. H., Howland, J., Moore, J., & Marra, R. M. (2003). Learning to solve problems with
technology: A Constructive perpective. Columbus : Merrill/Prentice-Hall.
Li, X., & Yu, W. (2011). China in the eyes of western travelers as represented in travel blogs.
Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, 689-719.
Odden, A. (2011 , April). Manage Human Capital Strategically. Kappan, pp. 8-12.