Do you know that as of 2014, Facebook has approximately 1.35 billion monthly active users, Instagram has about 300 million monthly active users, while Twitter has 284 million monthly active users (MAU)?
Let me recollect the fact that the world has a total population of about 7 billion approximately. Of course, not all these 7 billion have access to the internet, obviously and 4 countries which include, the worlds’ most populated country – China (population: 1.35 billion) , Cuba, North Korea and Iran have banned Facebook. China’s leading social networking site, Weibo has about 156 million MAU.
I’m considering only these 3 major US based sites in this discussion: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; as they have wider reach and large number of active users.
Don’t you think 1.35 billion MAU of Facebook is such a large number? Remember, it is almost equal to China’s current population. Why do you think Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are such a big hit?
As the year draws to an end, I thought I should write about something which everybody doesn’t like to admit, but they all do it one way or the other. My blog has always been a source for me to vent out my feelings and opinions regarding various aspects of life. When I got to know that the third assignment on Writing 201 workshop was an “opinion piece”, I wanted to share my opinion about Social Networking Sites (SNS) with a possible valid reason for my opinion as such.
These SNS have been beneficial in education, marketing, science, research, socializing, connecting with loved ones, learning, business, news, politics, etc., They have played a vital role in raising awareness in various fields. The positive aspects and impacts are large, the negatives are equally harmful as well.
Humans are social animals and socializing with fellow beings is in our genes.
People, in general love to gossip, eavesdrop or poke their nose into others’ business. Even if they don’t do any of these in particular, they at least try to get to know what the other person is up to. Some even go the extent of extensive stalking!
Earlier people would gather in clubs, parks and other public places to discuss about their friends, kith and kin, celebrities, anybody and everybody. News channels, magazines and newspapers would report some of the scandals and other updates about the celebrities which were the only source of information for the general public.
Now, celebrities update their daily meetings and activities, starting from their morning coffee till their late night work and practice sessions via social networking sites. Their fans, stalkers and friends enjoy reading them and even those who don’t care much about them read the tweets just to stay updated. People like to know who is dating who, who ditched who, who ate what, who went where with whom…..
Some celebrities like the Academy Award winner, Jennifer Lawrence and many others find these sites as a sheer violation of privacy and loathe the idea of publishing every tiny detail of their private lives while some find as a means to connect with their fans and supporters personally.
But how can people know about their friends, foes and rivals in their neighborhood?
It is so simple!
If a person is at the movies with his buddies, say, to watch the movie Interstellar; the first thing he does is: update the status or tweet and post a picture and tag all the friends who are accompanying him and watch all the comments, likes, shares, etc. People tweet, update status and post pictures of their relationships, friends, travel, tour and parties, which makes it easy for everybody to know everything in detail about their private and social life.
All one has to do is add and follow them for notifications or scroll through their public page!
Physical stalking is almost extinct these days as we have a more practical and easier way to stalk a person virtually – Cyber Stalking. Everyone’s is inquisitive to know what the other is doing! They subscribe for updates and enable minute by minute notifications so as to stay on toe with the updates! Even if they are not your close friends nor have you ever been in good terms with each other, they still send you a friend request or follow you. Why? Just to make sure that their score book is intact. 😛
I too used to stalk my crush on his social networking pages. (that amazingly cute guy.. oh! come’on! )
These social networking sites exploit this very basic human nature, the love for stalking, eavesdropping, gossiping, poking their nose into others’ lives and the urge to know what the other is up to, took this as an advantage and created their ever flourishing business which in turn have started to rule our lives, relationships and friendships in every possible way.
My friends always tell me that I am so cynical about the modern era and see technology’s negative side more than its positive. Yes, I do that because I see them take over our freedom, privacy, intimacy and exploit our innocence and ignorance even though I know that they are one of the best tools to connect with our loved ones.
People tend to overlook the most dangerous impacts such as cyber bullying, invasion of privacy, lack of security for personal information and data, child safety, etc. Cyber bullying is one thing am really terrified of. Since anybody who has an email ID can have an account on these SNS, kids of any age can have an account through which they can connect with their friends, which lays a smooth platform for cyber bullying. Having been a victim myself, I know how these can scar a person forever, even though I was old enough to have an account when such terrible things happened. When I think about the impact of the same on a child or a teenager (an age at which a person is the most vulnerable and emotionally sensitive), it gives me chills and shivers. Uploading unflattering pictures, posting mean comments and sending hurtful messages are some of the ways a person is bullied in the cyber world which is no longer confined to small audience in a playground or a classroom. The National Crime Prevention Council reported in 2011 that cyber-bullying is a problem that affects almost half of all American teens. Am not exaggerating the facts. Although there have been many awareness campaigns held throughout the world, they still do exist in various forms. It is just that these points have gone unnoticed or given lesser attention because most people are swayed over or addicted to these SNS. You can Google to know more data and statistics about cyber bullying and other harmful impacts of SNS, which I have not mentioned here.
Some create fake accounts, impersonate a friend or a relative, which can not be identified easily as verified accounts are available only for celebrities and not for common people. Thus paving way for enemies in a friendly mask to violate and invade one’s personal life virtually. Anyone can add, follow, view one’s data. If the person is smart enough to stay discreet about their followers and friends, anybody can easily hack one’s account and retrieve all information, just because of one basic ideology and the very nature of humanity.. the urge to eavesdrop, gossip and poke one’s nose into others’ business…
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter Statistics Source: http://www.statista.com/
Population Source: http://www.worldometers.info/