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ePeshawar Blog

By Mujahid Khan - Publication Team (IYDC)

Social media has given us great ways to protect and build our digital reputations. Today we have the ease of searching conversations, the ability to set alerts to help us monitor our names, the constant availability of learning opportunities and more ways to communicate and interact with others.

The question made me think about how much has changed in society (whether we realize it or not) as a result of social media.

Think about it, it was only approximately 20 some odd years ago that the average person was beginning to become associated with the internet. The internet was mostly reserved for academia and various government agencies. Before that it was only reserved for the U.S. government (the official origins of the internet began back in 1969 with the U.S. military’s funding of a research network dubbed “Arpanet“). Today, we have not only the internet, but we have social media tied in there as well.

As the term “social media” implies:

media” is a place where publications occur.

social” implies that there is sharing occurring. A sharing of ideas, opinions, images.

The social in social media also implies the tools, places and services that allow people to gather for social interaction. Social media allows individuals to gather and express themselves in a much more simple and immediate fashion. By giving people this capability, they not only have the ability to share ideas, opinions and other contents.

Social media enables more rapid sharing of information. It may take hours, or even days, for a new announcement to reach the end consumer through traditional channels. Why? Because when a press release is issued, a journalist or writer must first wade through all the sales and marketing lingo to find the key points. Then, the content must be re-purposed in article format, and sent to an editor or proofreader before it is published.

Social media channels, on the other hand, allow for instantaneous dissemination of not just news, but images, audio, video, and other multimedia content as well. And because releases geared toward social media outlets contain only key highlights, pertinent facts, and links to related statistics and quotes, the information they contain can be immediately picked up and posted by bloggers and other online journalists. Ask any major news outlet how often they’ve been scooped by Twitter, from Supreme Court decisions to Olympics coverage to local news events.

Need further proof? Turn on any cable news channel and see how often social media is being referenced, if not directly imported into the shows themselves.

Social media also provides more widespread coverage, enabling breaking news to reach a much larger and broader reader base than standard media outlets alone. While magazine readership and the number of available print publications continue to decline, the number of consumers using the Internet to access and share information continues to rise sharply. Facebook now sports over a billion users who are logging in and reading, sharing, and talking daily.

Social media, including blogs, can be a highly useful tool for enhancing both awareness and image. Blogging can help “spread the word” about a company, its products, and its services to more people, dramatically increasing brand recognition and awareness. Additionally, social media can enable executives to gather input and feedback directly from their target audience, and use that intelligence for more effective reputation management. Insight into why people like – or hate – a brand is needed to help change and control audience perceptions and preferences.

Interesting news item came across my eyes few days in which psychologists asked to classify internet addiction into a mental illness. Russian Television reported that “Psychologists believe that Internet addiction should be categorized like other addiction disorders as it has similar symptoms, including emotional shutdown, lack of concentration and withdrawal. Parents have noted their children becoming angry and violent when their electronic gadgets are taken away from them. In other instances, kids preferred to play a video game over eating or social interaction.”

Its positives are very obvious therefore I won’t go into it. Let’s have the other side of the picture where the sites like Facebook and twitter denting the social norms, endangering the individual privacy’s and even playing with the emotions of millions of people. In a conservative society like Pakistan, parents normally do not leave any stone unturned to save their children from external impact, as they always try to control their social activities.

Owing to the computer illiteracy of most of the parents in the country, they fail to realize the perilous consequences of digital social activities. Unfortunately, today the usage of media technology has become synonymous to modernity. Anonymity is the biggest drawback of social media as no one owns its content and it gets extremely difficult to pinpoint the culprit and bringing him to the court of justice.

Social media’s problems are not limited to the social spectrum but it has also proved its Political impact. Although it has contributed to the awareness among masses but unfortunately has failed to inject the political norms. We observe Facebook pages made to malign the political parties and politicians. These Facebook pages also intrude into the family matters which may lead to the disastrous consequences. Unfortunately heads of political parties rarely condemn these mal practices which doubt their own intentions.

Social Media is also spreading chaos while playing with the emotions of people. Blasphemous material on the internet is the best example whereas we even see competitions being held to draw cartoons of respected religious personalities. These infamous acts bring anarchy and lawlessness in the society which now seems to be a well-planned conspiracy against some religions and countries.

Certain codes have also been formulated to curb the unwanted material on internet but its application was very limited. I remember YouTube banning a video which showed a murdered girl but did not ban the video which showed the assassination of former Libyan ruler Muamar Qaddafi. One can speculate that the murder video of Qaddafi had some political ambitions which stopped YouTube while banning it. Same is the case with the blasphemous movie which is still on YouTube, violating its own codes in which it claims to have a check on hate speech against any community.

Solution of all this mess is not a rocket science; first of all, the organizations and its advertisers should get rid of their dual standards and should implement the codes without any discrimination. Secondly each group whether it’s a religion or a race should raise their voice from a powerful platform to impact the authorities. Lastly the internet service providers should convey the monthly internet usage report to the guardian of the user.



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