Have an Opinion, Will Voice It! The Era of Social Media
Social Media: The Debate has to go past the ‘Boon or Bane’ Phase!
We live in an era of virtual socialization. These days, almost every living moment is captured and documented on social media. People post their holiday pictures, food pictures, and even their pets’ pictures on various social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. These platforms are no longer limited to being the medium for showing one’s life. People have also started using digital platforms to voice their opinions online. So, the question is no longer whether the use of social media is good or bad. It is about how people are using it to make their voices heard and influence thousands of other people using the same platform.
Here’s a look at some interesting statistics about opinions being voiced on social media:
- 70% of the teens trust social media influencers more than traditional celebrities (A Report by Digital Marketing Institute)
- About 42% of the current global population is using social media (A 2019 Report by Emarsys) .
- The more public nature of a communication channel lowers people’s likelihood of expressing their opinions.
What do these trends and assumptions tell us? Well, they show that social media is here to stay, and people feel comfortable expressing their opinions on these platforms. In this digital era, what makes people so comfortable in not just voicing their opinions, but forming channels and pages dedicated to this purpose? Let us find out.
On social media, there is no face-to-face debate.
Studies show that many introverts find it easy to express themselves on online platforms. The main reason is that these platforms are not like the real world. In the real world, people will present their counterargument or judgment on your face almost immediately. Many people dislike it when they are out in a conversation. So they prefer to express themselves on these platforms where even if there is some backlash, they can respond to it or ignore it.
Online platforms provide the greater audience
Today, anybody can become an influencer. All you need to do is to market your skills and your opinion voicing caliber with Elan, and you will find your audience. The reach of social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube is limitless. One cannot hope to be heard at such a large scale in the physical world. The chance of reaching out to a greater audience attracts many youngsters to these communication channels. They get their time’s worth and their voices heard by a large audience base.
One can express themselves anonymously
This is tricky! There are many trolls, haters, or even political voices out there who choose not to reveal their true identity. This option of going anonymous on social media has been one of the many reasons behind people being so comfortable in voicing their strong opinions on these platforms.
Effects of Being Highly Opinionated on Social Media: The Good, the Bad, and Ugly
Today, the highly polarize political scene all over the world. Many issues like #MeToo popular in public are finding platforms, thanks to the digital platforms. People are finding the courage to express their views on important issues ranging from racial bias, political debates, law and order, cinema, art, and culture. Without social media, many marginalized segments would probably have remained silenced. One cannot deny this positive side of digital communication channels. However, there’s a downside as well to this scenario- the aforementioned deterrents like the trolls, haters, and extremists use these platforms not just to voice their opinions, but to negatively influence a large impressionable audience. There is no censorship on someone who uses their freedom of expression on social media. Thus, it can get people into very messy situations by propagating hate and negativity.
So, Who Gets to Have the Last Word?
The simple and straightforward answer to this would be nobody. There is no end to people expressing, opposing, defending, glorifying, or even vilifying on social media. Yes, there are rules and guidelines for each of these channels, but online moderation can go only so far! One has to learn to conduct themselves ethically on social media to responsibly use these platforms.