Moderation vs. Manipulating And Being Manipulated

By Matt Classen

They say that excess of any one thing is unhealthy. This applies to social media as well. With the rate at which we are moving and becoming increasingly dependent on this communication medium, some people have already started to call it bad for business. And why not? We are evolving into a generation of individuals who are more occupied with their smart phone than they are aware about what’s happening in their surroundings.

But is it really so? Is social media good or bad? For this article, we are going to shed some light on the good, the bad and the ugly side of social media.

The Good Side

One of the first “goods” that social media has brought forward for business is that it has without a doubt eased off the communication gap between customers and businesses. In a way it has started to act as the principal communication bridge where both the customers and the businesses can communicate with each other and evolve. It could almost be considered a co-creative mechanism where customers and businesses can create the interaction and the experience they both want, which gives empowerment to both sides.

Another good thing about social media is that it has given businesses an opportunity to connect with larger audiences, in relatively lesser time. This is something that was not possible earlier. Even small businesses, who have managed to used its power in a smart way, have gone on leverage social media to reach far wider audiences to become super-successful. Remember how Justin Bieber used the reach of YouTube to get noticed and launch his career? Small business can do the exact same thing if they can come up with unique and compelling value propositions, and then create campaigns that attract and get shared on social media.

The Bad Side

Just like everything else, there is a bad face of social media as well.

Social media has become an addiction. Life has become less about face-to-face interaction and more about posting on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snap chat. This transformation cannot be considered as good for anyone, be it a business owner or a customer.

While businesses cannot live without it, as it is a great means to make their business marketing successful, it has emerged as one of the most damaging factors on employee productivity. Getting constant bombardment of notifications on social media has been rated amongst the top factors that distract employees at work.

The Horribly Ugly

In the macro world, social media is even being used to create incredibly accurate psychological profiles on individuals. The algorithms running social media are becoming increasingly complex and hand incredible power to the more sinister people and organizations walking among us. These individuals and organizations are, right now, at this very moment, using psychological profiling with the clear intent to manipulate, and even brainwash, entire segments of society. In a hyper-political climate where the stakes of power are higher than ever and the fate of the planet rests on cooler minds and collaboration, social media is being used to keep people in tightly controlled information bubbles where collectively derived solutions to the world’s most critical challenges can never be reached.

To sum up this post, I’d like to say that as good as social media is, it is imperative that we understand not to overdo it. As I said in the beginning, excess of anything is never healthy, moderation is key and to keep a weary eye on a system that can be used to manipulate. That’s exactly what’s happening in the realm of social media consumption.

Social media has become a necessary evil. It is transforming humans into something that’s confined to just the screen of their computers and smartphones. If you let it, it hampers the most basic of aspects that human nature requires to remain healthy and whole. This includes connecting with each other out of the online sphere and through simple human touch. If we lose sight of this, it will have an immense impact on the health of our trajectory into the future. That said, the benefits that it has brought are countless. Remember, the trick is moderation.