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Kelli Hoffer

Professor Rutherford

English 15.3

08 October 2018

The New Age: A Social World

Social media can be defined as “web based communication tools that enable people to

interact with each other by both sharing and consuming information” (Nations). Although the

definition is quite broad, many social media sites contain various functions that are typically

common. Many of the social media sites have applications (apps) that allow users to access it

easily through their smartphone or most other devices that use the internet. Some other functions

may include creating an account, developing followers and following others, posting content,

and receiving notifications (Nations). The discussion regarding the use of social media has been

around since the beginning of the new technological advancement. The first glimpse of social

media came about in the year 1997 with the creation of Six Degrees. During the 2000’s, it

became much more common for people to use social media, but it was looked at as a hobby. The

big rise of social media came in 2003 when MySpace was introduced. This led to many of the

social media sites people see today such as Twitter and Facebook. By 2010, people all over the

world became engaged in social media for many different reasons, including businesses

(Merrell). In today’s age, many people use social media. In the survey conducted from 2010 to

2017 by Statista, it was reported that 2.46 billion internet users worldwide use social media at

least once per month. The number has gone up from 0.97 billion in 2010 and is only predicted to

go up (Number). Social media is a large part of many individuals everyday life and is greatly
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beneficial. The three main benefits include improving your skills on a social, educational, and

business level.

The most important reason that individuals use social media is to enhance their social

skills. It can be used for meeting new people, keeping in touch with others, and self expression.

In the article, “Benefits and Costs of Social Media in Adolescence”, it was reported that “nearly

two-thirds of teenagers report that they make new friends through social media, and >90% use

social media to connect with existing offline friends every day” (Uhls). This shows that the

percentage of adolescence age thirteen to eighteen can expand upon their number of friends

because of social media. Another important feature is being able to keep in touch with people

such as family, friends, classmates, or a significant other that may be geographically separated

for various reasons such as jobs, school, military, or other travelling reasons. It is extremely

helpful to have this form of communication to view what these people may be interested in or

posting about. Being able to see these things allows users to stay more in the know with these

people and stay close with them. It also is stated that people who do not interact well with others

in person can receive benefits from using social media that improve their social skills (Tufekci).

Keeping in touch with people, meeting people, and expressing oneself online all lead to

improvement of social skills.

Another way users can use social media to benefit themselves is to gain educational

skills. With this, they are able to learn about any type of information that they may wish to

improve research upon. Some examples of information available to learn about include medical

information and research, political news, or cooking recipes or other projects. On a research

stating the benefits of social media in the health field, it was stated that the benefits included,

increased interaction among individuals, more information being consumed and shared, easier
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access to medical information, support from others medically, analysis of health data, and health

policy being influenced (Moorhead). Another example of information consumed is politically.

Many politicians use social media to broadcast their ideas and beliefs, which leads to more

support from the politicians (Hong). This allows social media to adopt opinions on party leaders

and educate themselves on debated topics. People have also used social media in other country to

post information that their government might be censoring through other media about protests or

other events (Tufekci). Users are also able to consume information regarding projects or recipies

via social media sites such as Pinterest. Using many different functions of social media enable

people to develop their educational level which provides many benefits.

Along with one's personal skills being improved, social media can provide benefits to

businesses and companies. These institutions can use social media as a resource for promoting

information about their company or advertising their products. Along with this, there are created

job opportunities and an increase of work mood. On the report titled “2014 Social Media

Marketing Industry Report” it was conducted in an experiment and then analyzed that “A

significant 87% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more

exposure for their businesses” (Stelzner). This report also illustrates a chart that describes how

effective social media use is for businesses. Not only do businesses benefit but potential

employees can also find potential employees via help wanted posted through social media. One

can also research information about the company and find more through their media sites

(Conlan). Another experiment showed that the use of social media has shown to improve users

mood at work using the regulatory focus theory, which proves to have lead to a higher

production rate at the workplace. These features can lead to further benefits for employees and

employers.
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Those that are against social media argue that it can lead to weaker development of

adolescence. They claim that there are negative effects such as mental illnesses or diseases, or

the issue of cyberbullying (Uhls). Many claim that these effects may be caused from

overexposure to social media which is actually unhealthy. Although these are very serious

problems, social media has taken matters into their own hands to try to prevent some of these

issues. Many settings available allow users to set restrictions on their phone that allow them to

block certain users that may be cyberbullying an individual. Another example is a time limit

restriction, which tries to reduce spending too much time on devices, which can be the cause of

many mental illnesses. Another restriction limits the age of the person signing up for these

accounts which is typically set to thirteen years old (Percival). Not only do they have these

features but social media provides ways of helping people with these issues, like healthcare

professionals that help to alleviate some of these problems. They also are not all from social

media, as many of these issues can stem from other sources outside of social media.

In conclusion, the many functions and uses for social media can lead to many benefits for

all types of people. Developing new and old relationships, staying in touch, and showing people

about their lives can all lead to an increase in users social skills. Learning many different types of

information such as political or medical all help people to continue to learn and educate

themselves via social media. Also, companies can expand upon their business by using social

media to advertise and promote. These examples of benefits all lead to an increase in your skills

socially, educationally, and professionally. These skills all stem from the positive effects of

social media.
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Works Cited

Conlan, Catherine. “Reasons to Use Social Media in Your Job Search.” Monster,

www.monster.com/career-advice/article/use-social-media-in-your-job-search

Hong, Sounman. “Who Benefits from Twitter? Social Media and Political Competition in the
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U.S. House of Representatives.” Government Information Quarterly, vol. 30, no.

4, 2013, pp. 464–472., doi:10.1016/j.giq.2013.05.009.

Merrell, Keith. “The History of Social Media: Social Networking Evolution!” History

Cooperative, historycooperative.org/the-history-of-social-media/.

Moorhead, S Anne, et al. “A New Dimension of Health Care: Systematic Review of the Uses,

Benefits, and Limitations of Social Media for Health Communication.” Journal of

Medical Internet Research, vol. 15, no. 4, 2013, doi:10.2196/jmir.1933.

Nations, Daniel. “Serious Question: What Exactly Is Social Media?” Lifewire, 30 Aug. 2018,

www.lifewire.com/what-is-social-media-explaining-the-big-trend-3486616.

“Number of Social Media Users Worldwide 2010-2021.” Statista,

www.statista.com/statistics/278414/number-of-worldwide-social-network-users/.

Percival, Tyler. “The Importance of Social Media Age Restrictions.” Net Nanny: Parental

Control Software & Website Blocker, 26 Dec. 2017,

www.netnanny.com/blog/the-importance-of-social-media-age-restrictions/.

Stelzner, Michael. "2014 social media marketing industry report." Social Media Examiner, 2018.

mybizonlineservices.com/wp-

content/uploads/2018/08/SocialMediaMaerketing_Industry-Report-

2018_SocialExaminer.pdf

Tufekci, Zeynep. “Social Media's Small, Positive Role in Human Relationships.” The Atlantic,

Atlantic Media Company, 26 Apr. 2012,

www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/04/social-medias-small-positive-role-in-

human-relationships/256346/.

Uhls, Yalda T., et al. “Benefits and Costs of Social Media in Adolescence.” Pediatrics,
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American Academy of Pediatrics, 1 Nov. 2017,

pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/140/Supplement_2/S67.

Zivnuska, Suzanne, et al. “Investigating the Impacts of Regulatory Focus and Political Skill

within a Social Media Context.” Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 91, 24 Sept.

2018, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563218304710#bib20.