I BELIEVE social media is a fantastic tool for information sharing and connecting people who may not be able to engage in the usual avenues – giving them an outlet into the community.
When it is used correctly, small businesses can flourish, friendships are made and communities built, albeit online. Facebook is ten years old this month and information sharing is at an all-time high. I fail to see how this can be seen as anything other than productive.
Social media has been used to help find missing people, solve crimes, share details of weather warnings and road closures.
I find that more and more, social media is becoming part of everyday life for us. Over half of the UK now interacts daily using it.
I engage with people now that I would never have thought it possible to engage with in the past and have some good online friends. News from my area is available within minutes of it happening.
So is it all positive? Not at all. Social media is still very new. Unfortunately there is a massive downside to social media: the loss of real communication.
We appear to have forgotten the art of face-to-face conversation. People are choosing to engage over the internet instead of picking up the phone.
Being online gives people a certain amount of anonymity, which can be a dangerous thing, as social etiquette appears to have been lost. We will, as time goes by, establish rules for ourselves and these will be accepted as the norm. But with any outlet for freedom of speech there will be pitfalls.
When I see couples, family and friends airing their dirty laundry in public, I question whether they really understand how many are viewing and judging.
We have entered a new era of danger for our children and are less able to protect them now. With access to social media so readily available, it has become impossible for parents to ensure their child’s safety.
Online bullying is rife and where we once left school and had a respite until morning, we now have the abuse 24/7 and on a much wider spread scale.
Too many times a pack mentality is at play, with so called “keyboard warriors” attacking anyone that dares to disagree with their viewpoint. Not only is it vile but shows pure cowardice, to be so venomous with seemingly no restraints. The recent “neck nominations” is a worrying development.
The game has been pushed and spread so far, that normal rules of danger, appear to have long been forgotten, favouring social media notoriety.
Why do people see social media as so very different to their real life and not abide by the same behaviour they would in society?
How can bullying ever be accepted as normal, even if it is done online or anonymously?
The nastiness I see daily is a disappointing reflection on how modern people in Britain are losing basic respect for each other.
But when the police are almost powerless to intervene, then where does the answer lie?
Social media is here to stay and if we can get the right safeguards in place and rules of social engagement established, and then it will continue to enhance all our lives.