By Ing. Yayah A.B. Conteh
A tool that has become very popular these days, because of its user-friendly features, is the social media. Through social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many more, people are given the opportunity to connect with one another across large distances.
This interaction reinforces the fact that the whole world is at our finger tips and disposal, thanks to social media. It is not therefore surprising that subsequently, different peoples across the globe have different opinions on this database topic.
Quite an undeniable fact, in today’s world, is that social media plays and continues to play a significant role in impacting our culture, the economy, health, politics, race and even the day-to-day relationships amongst citizens of different lands and climes, thus fostering the spirit of creativity and collaboration amongst all.
Social networking therefore has a vital influence on our everyday lives, as it enables a lot in several fields of passion such as the political field, economic field including the academic field as well to get more networks than ever before.
Social media has been both praised and ridiculed since its inception. It has gained numerous uses and platforms with the passage of time.
The use of social media, on education, provides students with the ability to get more useful information to connect with learning groups and other educational systems and establishments that facilitate an easy access to education itself. Teachers have, in fact, begun incorporating social media in the school and university curricula.
Generally, social media is considered powerful when used wisely and responsibly because it has completely altered our communication landscape much more for the better than for the worst.
The struggles and challenges, faced by members and people, in both our communities and others, are being communicated to the outside world through social media, thus making it a powerful tool to reckon with.
Through it also can exist a free and open form to debate, exchange ideas and share opinions that encompass worldwide issues. Social media makes it much easier for a student to be provided with vital information about events that facilitate face-to-face encounters with other students. They can also use this media for study and entertainment purposes, as it can readily provide any data they want very easily and quickly within a fraction of a second. Thus, such personal interactions are vital to fostering and sustaining not only a spirit of oneness but a sense of belonging too amongst the group of participants.
Indeed, social media has made the world a much smaller place to sojourn for the abundance of information and knowledge obtainable through it. It has enabled man to be able to absorb, utilize and disseminate information far and wide since its humble beginnings. What otherwise would have seemed impossible and overwhelming to someone 15 or more years ago is now virtually normal to us. No wonder the world has been regarded in recent times as a small global village! People have been empowered through information gotten from social media to add to their reservoir of knowledge.
90% of university students, according to survey of previous researches conducted, are quite knowledgeable on social networks. By way of introducing small communication gadgets, technology has shown a fast development for giving access to social networks anytime, anywhere.
Notwithstanding however, the uses and applications of social media are not only restricted to being widely used in educational sectors by students, but in other spheres of endeavours too, like in the business sector.
A business enterprise can adequately use social media to connect with its audience; it can use it to generate brand awareness, sales and revenues. It has become a hub for advertising and offering unlimited opportunities for connecting with the customer.
Social media has many positive effects on education. We can find numerous advantages when we take a look at its positive aspects.
The most important of all is, perhaps, its being a great device for education. All the vital information that a student might need is just a click away. Through this, students can educate themselves on various topics within and outside their course structures.
In these days and times, more and more students are distancing themselves from reading newspapers due to the existence of social media, which they depend upon for news. They are being updated on the latest happenings of the world around them through it.
Moreover, social media has made it possible for participation in live lectures. A student can attend a lecture happening in a London university whilst sitting in Australia.
In other words, distance has now become a thing of the past because of social media. It is no longer considered a barrier. One can easily communicate with friends and relatives abroad, meaning it strengthens bonds with loved ones.
Budding artists who wish to showcase their wits and talents can do so through social media platforms. They believe they can better increase on their chances by doing so through this media.
Social media can cause stress and other negative emotions apart from socializing, finding and sharing vital information, shopping or simply as a diversion. The tendency for fake news to spread with the use of it can be quite alarming. This fake news dissemination can sometimes degenerate into the poisoning of the minds of peace-loving citizens.
A good number of students rely on the accessibility of information on social media and the World Wide Web to search for answers, which greatly reduce their abilities to retain information.
There are also hundreds of thousands of fake accounts on social networks generated by pretenders which, in most cases, lead to embarrassment and disappointments. This, eventually, results in a life of loneliness and depression to the afflicted.
On the other hand, students have themselves developed a lax attitude towards proper spelling and grammar and even in their overall general studies due to the popularity of social media and the speed and accuracy with which information is delivered and published. In this vein, the students’ ability to effectively write without relying on a computer’s spell check feature is greatly reduced.
Furthermore, it has been universally acknowledged that students are having harder time to communicate face-to-face with people, meaning they are losing their people skills, simply due to the fact that they are spending a bulk of their time talking from behind a screen.
From the medical point of view, equally, it has been highlighted that the constant accessing of networking site may develop to eyesight problems, inflict back pain because of sitting in the same awkward position for long hours peering into the content of a laptop or similar device.
But irrespective of all this, social media is still considered very important because it allows the individual to reach, nurture and readily engage with his target audience as and when the need arises.
Ing. Yayah A.B. Conteh is the Director of the Mechanical Services Department (MSD) of the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA).
Tel. Nos: 076640364/077718805.