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Some Pros and Cons of Social Media


To dig a little deeper into the last post, I wanted to give you a few pros and cons to social media.  Let me just state that I do not think that social media is a bad thing.  But like anything else, if not used properly it can be as harmful as it can be helpful. I read a couple of articles on the use of social media and found the following information. There are numerous reasons for and against it, but I thought I’d pick a couple of pros and cons for you to look at.



Colleges and universities use social media to recruit and retain students. 87% of colleges and universities use Facebook to recruit students, 76% use Twitter, and 73% use YouTube. Colleges and universities use Facebook apps and other social media tools to increase student retention. Social networking sites are also being used to give students a support system at community colleges that tend to be commuter based.

Social networking sites offer teachers a platform for collaboration with other teachers and communication with students outside the classroom. More than 80% of US college and university faculty use social media; more than 50% use it for teaching; and 30% for communicating with students. [66] Educators from around the world interact with each other and bring guest teachers, librarians, authors, and experts into class via social networks like Twitter and social networking tools like Skype. Edmodo, an education-specific social networking site designed for contact between students, teachers, and parents, reached over ten million users on Sep. 11, 2012.

Social networking sites spread information faster than any other media. Over 50% of people learn about breaking news on social media. 65% of traditional media reporters and editors use sites like Facebook and LinkedIn for story research, and 52% use Twitter. Social networking sites are the top news source for 27.8% of Americans, ranking close to newspapers (28.8%) and above radio (18.8%) and other print publications (6%). Twitter and YouTube users reported the July 20, 2012 Aurora, CO theater shooting before news crews could arrive on the scene [3], and the Red Cross urged witnesses to tell family members they were safe via social media outlets.

Now let’s look at the flip side.  Look at the last “pro” and now here’s the first “con.”


Social media enables the spread of unreliable and false information. 49.1% of people have heard false news via social media. On Sep. 5, 2012 false rumors of fires, shootouts, and caravans of gunmen in a Mexico City suburb spread via Twitter and Facebook caused panic, flooded the local police department with over 3,000 phone calls, and temporarily closed schools. Shashank Tripathi, tweeting as @ComfortablySmug, spread false information in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy by posting on Twitter that the New York Stock Exchange was flooding and that the power company would cut off electricity to all of Manhattan; the bogus information was picked up by national news outlets including CNN and the Weather Channel.

Social networking sites entice people to waste time. 40% of 8 to 18 year olds spend 54 minutes a day on social media sites. 36% of people surveyed listed social networking as the "biggest waste of time," above fantasy sports (25%), watching TV (23%), and shopping (9%). When alerted to a new social networking site activity, like a new tweet or Facebook message, users take 20 to 25 minutes on average to return to the original task. In 30% of cases, it took two hours to fully return attention to the original task. 42% of American Internet users play games like Farmville or Mafia Wars on social networking sites.

Social media causes people to spend less time interacting face-to-face. A Jan. 2012 Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School study found that the percentage of people reporting less face-to-face time with family in their homes rose from 8% in 2000 to 34% in 2011.  32% of those surveyed were on social media or texting during meals (47% of 18-34 year olds) instead of talking with family or friends.



 Social Media-What People See About You

As the year closes out and another one begins I’ll ask all of you to make one big change in your life. Some may, others will continue doing what they do- use social media the right way!

When I was young and I wanted to talk to my friend I had to ask my parents if I could use the house phone.  It then started to change in the 90’s. Cell phones were around, but they weren’t glued to people’s hands like they are today.  Then of course, instant messenger on aol became popular and I didn’t have to worry about people picking up the land line and interrupting my phone call.  But, if you were using the internet it blocked the phone line, so eventually you’d be told to get off the internet too.  Ask anyone of your parents about the ridiculous static sound buzzing in their ear when they picked up their phone.  Well- now we come to over a decade later and technology has advanced and I can’t decide if it’s to the benefit of anyone under the age of 20.  You’ve grown up in a world with information, and the access to share your information, literally at your fingertips.  Is this a good thing- well, that’s up for debate.  I’m not going to tell you I walked 5 miles to school everyday, but I am going to tell you that what’s happening now can be damaging to your future. 

Let’s talk about facebook. Let’s just be honest and say what it good’s for and what it’s not good for.  Facebook is great for keeping in touch with family and friends that live far away, or that you don’t see often.  It’s great to see a picture of your sister, brother, cousin having fun and enjoying a vacation. It’s also a great way to stay in touch with people after you’ve moved on from one adventure of your life and onto the next.  It can be a great way to network, and in this day and age networking is the key to helping people find jobs and opportunities. 

What isn’t facebook good for?  I could write pages upon pages about what its not good for – there are so many things I could write, but they are so totally inappropriate that I can’t even do that.  Why do some many people in the younger generations feel it necessary to post what you are doing at every point of the day.  Truth be told- I don’t care if you just woke up from a nap, or if you just went to the bathroom.  I also don’t want to know that you went out last night and need to sleep off your evening activities.  (and that’s putting it lightly)  Now, if I can see your pages, you know that other people can too- college coaches and admission counselors are two people that will see them. Go back and look at some of the things that you have posted. Look at the language that is used- the pictures that are posted.  Are these things that you want everyone to see?  And don’t think because you clicked a button and made something “private” that people can’t get around that.  Due to an unfortunate tragedy in a good friends life I’ve been in touch via facebook with some kids I knew 15 years ago.  I was embarrassed for these kids when I saw what they had written about themselves and others.  It was such a shock to see the blatant disrespect for themselves and for others that were posted.

You all have talent.  You’re all smart.  First impressions are exactly that.  You don’t want someone’s first impression of you to be of some off the wall, stupid post that you made on one of the social media outlets.  It’s not that difficult for people to plug your name into a search engine and get a hold of your information.  Take a minute and go back into your feed.  Look to see what you’ve been tagged in and ask yourself, “Do I want my coach, parents, future potential coaches, future employers seeing this?” If not, delete it- you’ll be better off!

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