Social media - Is it good or bad? That is the question of the day.
And there's no easy answer, really.
The first social media platform is credited to Six Degrees. Launched in 1997, it was the first true attempt to build a platform that allowed users to create a profile and connect with others. Over 3 million people were using it by the time it was bought out in 2001.
There were others, of course, but social media really began taking off when YouTube came out in 2005, followed by Facebook and Twitter in 2006. Today, there is a whole slew of them.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes social media as 'forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content.'
In other words, it's a way to connect with people.
When it first started, I believe it achieved that in an innocent way. People connected with old friends and family, people who lived far away or with whom they had lost contact. I know I did. I have reconnected with high school and college friends as well as family who live in different states. I can keep up with their lives (via pictures and stuff) in ways I would not otherwise be able to do. It's awesome!
And I've been able to reach out and communicate with folks about the books I've written. As a self-publisher, it has given me a greater reach that I would not have had.
I believe that's the good part of social media.
But there's a nefarious side that has crept in over the years and taken root. Below are a few different ways:
* People say and do things on social media that they would NEVER do face-to-face with someone.
* Children have become easier targets for bullying, selling drugs, and child trafficking.
* Lies can easily be spread and there's no real way to tell what is truth and what is not.
* Talking to each other has gone by the wayside. People have their noses in the phones or iPads (or whatever device) when they are at restaurants, on buses/trains/airplanes, in the office, etc., and no one is TALKING to each other.
* Sadly, more and more, people are wrapping their identity in how anonymous people respond to their posts. It's no wonder mental illness is on the rise.
My 1st 3 novels, the Mali Hooper Thriller trilogy, amplify the negative aspects of social media. Check them out sometime.
Bottom line, I believe that the negative aspects of social media are beginning to outweigh the positive aspects of it. And I don't believe it's going to change.