Internet usage has become an integral part of every individual. With time, innovations and increasing use of internet have given birth to social media. Social media can be defined as a forum where people make communities and interact with each other, share ideas, personal information and much more. Most common and popular platform of social media is Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Previously, social media was used by teenagers but with time; organizations also adopted the use of social media. There are numerous advantages of social media that has attracted a huge population, but alongside there are risks associated with its usage.
/> Talking about Canada, around 70 percent of the people use social media websites. Recent report showed that Canada is ranked ninth country engaged in using social media. There is a growing trend of usage of social media sites as it helps people to communicate with each other and share information. Thanks to social networking, people are now able to share photos, videos, texts and memorable events with each other. Also, it is easy to communicate with distant relatives through social websites and know everything happening in their lives. (Scott & Jacka, 2011)
Social media have acted as a blessing for students. It has opened new forums and ways of learning thus enabling students to interact with the world confidently. There are numerous student groups on social websites where students from all over the world share their ways of learning, new technologies and any new progress in the education curriculum. Moreover, students make groups with their fellow students where they share recent class activities and discuss the problems they face with school management; together they sort out problems as a union. Students using social media get an edge in organizations as firms now hire people familiar with new technology as firms also use social media for marketing of their goods or services.
Businesses have also taken advantage of this form of communication, and they use websites to advertise their products and keep their consumers updated about their recent activities. Communication helps industries to understand the choice of people and get their views about their products and services. Business individuals hire trained personnel to help them in advertising and connecting to social sites as a business has achieved considerable profits by getting close to people. Around 58 percent of Canadians use blogging for promotions of their product or services. It helps in increasing the visibility of business and interesting blogs helps in generating comprehensive traffic. One more reason for business attraction towards social media is it helps them to solve queries of their customers in a timely manner. This increases customer satisfaction and makes them more loyal towards the respective business products. (Houser, 2013)
Social media has acted as a blessing for online businesses. Many people have launched their online brands and use social media websites for exposure to their business. They share their products on websites and take customer’s orders under the vicinity of their home. This way of earning has encouraged housewives and adults to become useful members of society and contribute to economic growth. (Barefoot & Szabo, 2012)
Social media has opened doors for people to find attractive job opportunities. LinkedIn is the most famous social websites which update numerous job opportunities every minute for people to see and apply. As an employer, social media helps to find a suitable candidate according to employer’s requirement from all around the world. As an employee, you can hunt for the most attractive job opportunity and link with the organization online that was never possible in earlier years. (Scott & Jacka, 2011)
Big industries use social media to communicate with their employees and share important messages and announcements. Social networking is common in the workplace and organization take advantage of this medium of communication to get close to their thousands of employees that otherwise was not so easy. (Scott & Jacka, 2011)
Talking about workplace, social media has its risks that can harm an industry and deteriorate its image in public. Although it helps an organization in marketing, branding and communication but risks are attached to it. By using social media, employees can leak private and confidential information on social websites. A company cannot maintain privacy levels, and everything is open for people to see and comment. This can harm company’s image as competitors can use social media to defame their rivals by posting negative comments about their product or services.
Unsatisfied employees can also take advantage of social media and defame their organization by posting negative comments about their products and services and leaking private information. They can also stalk information about their co-workers and can misuse it which can result in loss of job by innocent employees. (Barefoot & Szabo, 2012)
Social media has indulged people to such extents that they are unable to concentrate on their work. A Canadian survey presented a report regarding the countless hours’ employees waste on social media sites while working hours. This has affected the productivity of an employee and hurt the company in negative ways. (Scott & Jacka, 2011)
Many companies started using social media but were backed off when their websites and personal information were no longer private. Big organizations are often attacked with viruses and data theft which can result in big losses for the firm.
Social media has given birth to cyber criminals. In a competitive world, many companies hire professional cyber criminals to hack personal accounts of their competitors so they can know the ongoing and upcoming activities of their competitor. They can easily steal personal information that can result in drastic effect for the victimized organization.
Identity theft is a major issue of social media. People update their personal details and photographs without knowing that a stranger can stalk their information and misuse it. Not only strangers, acquaintance or an enemy can misuse the personal information which can be dangerous for an individual. They can use the information for blackmailing, cyber bullying or extortion. (Barefoot & Szabo, 2012)
Social media has encouraged people to develop online relationships. Many youngsters indulge themselves in communicating with strangers based on their facebook identity and waste their precious time which could have been used in doing something productive. In extreme cases, users commit suicide or become depression patients when they have to face deceit from the other party. (Scott & Jacka, 2011)
Social media is also used as a tool to commit crimes. Intellectual property can be pirated, or credit card information can be stolen. Criminals can run illegal scams and blackmail the victims for the huge amount of money.
Privacy is an important factor in the usage of social media. Companies or individuals should use effective privacy policies so that they do not have to face dangerous consequences of social media misuse. Pros and cons are attached to everything but with proper safeguarding policies, the benefits of social media outweigh the risks attached to it. (Barefoot & Szabo, 2012)
Barefoot, D., & Szabo, J. (2010). Friends with benefits a social media marketing handbook. San Francisco, Calif.: No Starch Press.
Houser, K. A. (2013). Legal guide to social media: rights and risks for businesses and entrepreneurs. New York: Allworth Press.
Scott, P. R., & Jacka, J. M. (2011).Auditing social media a governance and risk guide. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.