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-Akancha Srivastava

All of us reading this blog certainly have an account at least on one of these platforms- Twitter/ Facebook/ Instagram/ Snapchat. And why not? Social media is a great way of connecting with our long distance friends and family. Its heartening to see all the lovely things happening around the world, wonderful videos, quizzes, recipes, so much more.

The problem arises when we over use or misuse these tools. Remember that any absolute use in life is harmful.

Let us try to understand what is the best use and drawbacks of social media in today’s times.

Good Use Of Social Media:

It’s an incredible medium of learning!

You can learn anything from pottery to space science through it. You can connect to Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg and chances are quite high that you might get a response. It still amazes me that despite this, these platforms are still free!

Build a personal/ professional image

You can use these tools to create an image for yourself or your business. You can share your skills/products to targeted audience. You can demonstrate leadership skills, create videos or write case studies. Many platforms allow video calling facilities that allow you to address your clients in real time.

Socialise with your friends and family

In today’s fast paced life and geographically distributed circle of friends, social media is a great way to keep in touch. It comforts us to know that we can be connected even when afar or show our support to one another by just one click.

Overuse/Misuse of Social Media

Addiction

Please Google and you will find that “Facebook depression” is a scientific term and its effects are the same as that of a drug withdrawal symptom. Sounds crazy, right? But ask anyone who is glued to their social media accounts to stay away from it for 48 hours and you will certainly see them restless. Our phones have become an extension of our hands. Always at the end of them.

Over sharing

This has got to be one of the most dangerous drawbacks that leads to serious on-ground crimes like theft, assault, sexual crimes, blackmail, kidnapping and even murders. We literally reveal every bit of our life pattern willingly on social media right from what we eat, drink, where we go, our company of friends, home interiors etc. It’s incredibly easy for anyone following us online to trace a lifetime cycle and use it to harm us.

Dos and Don’ts of Social Media

  1. Moderate use that doesn’t become a compulsion
  2. Be mindful of sharing personal details
  3. Remember that anything you put online leaves ‘digital footprints’ and can be traced back to you at any point
  4. Don’t indulge in sharing fake news/rumors especially unverified content on whatsapp. Government has taken very strict view in light of recent lynching incidents in Assam that were triggered by fake news on Whatsapp
  5. Don’t bully, don’t get bullied. Teach your younger ones the same
  6. Use social media for ‘socialising’ and not to cut out real social life.
  7. Spend time with real life friends and family. Restrict the time spent on different platforms. Will help your mental health.
  8. Please remember that a lot of what people post on social media, is fake. They are not as happy as they seem. Don’t manifest jealousy or sadness. Even last week a young fashion blogger with a huge following on Instagram committed suicide due to depression. You never know what people are going through.
  9. Don’t share offensive content like morphed pictures. Even if you are not the creator but you shared offensive content, you are liable for punishment.
  10. At the end of the day nothing else matters except how you feel about yourself. Be confident in that belief. No social media should give you external validation

(The writer leads India’s largest social impact initiative against cyber harassment. Readers can visit http://akanchaagainstharassment.com and read/listen on this topic in detail. She can be contacted at HelloAkancha@gmail.com or on Twitter: @AkanchaS)

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