Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. The Office of Communications and Marketing manages the main Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube accounts.

The term social media refers to a computer-based technology that facilitates the sharing of ideas, thoughts, and information through virtual networks and communities. Social media is internet-based and gives users quick electronic communication of content, such as personal information, documents, videos, and photos. Users engage with social media via a computer, tablet, or smartphone via web-based software or applications. While social media is ubiquitous in America and Europe, Asian countries like Indonesia lead the list of social media usage.

The first recognizable social media site, Six Degrees, was created in 1997. It enabled users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. In 1999, the first blogging sites became popular, creating a social media sensation that’s still popular today.

After the invention of blogging, social media began to explode in popularity. Sites like MySpace and LinkedIn gained prominence in the early 2000s, and sites like Photobucket and Flickr facilitated online photo sharing. YouTube came out in 2005, creating an entirely new way for people to communicate and share with each other across great distances.

By 2006, Facebook and Twitter both became available to users throughout the world. These sites remain some of the most popular social networks on the Internet. Other sites like Tumblr, Spotify, Foursquare and Pinterest began popping up to fill specific social networking niches.

Today, there is a tremendous variety of social networking sites, and many of them can be linked to allow cross-posting. This creates an environment where users can reach the maximum number of people without sacrificing the intimacy of person-to-person communication. We can only speculate about what the future of social networking may look in the next decade or even 100 years from now, but it seems clear that it will exist in some form for as long as humans are alive. What are some of the Advantages as a Ghanaian youth we get from social media,

1. Build relationships.

Social media is not just about brands connecting with their customers. In fact, at its root, social media is about connecting people to people. If you’ve attended a Social Shift training session I’ve led, chances are you’ve heard that almost every single friend I have in San Francisco, I met through social media.

From a professional perspective, you can grow your professional network online tremendously by connecting with colleagues, mentors, role models and other professionals. If you nurture those relationships, you have a whole new network to tap when you’re looking for opportunities or professional guidance.

2. Increase your visibility.

If you spend time honing in on your expertise, consistently managing your social channels, then you have the potential to greatly increase your visibility and even become a thought-leader in your space. Good content gets shared, so if you are consistently posting quality content, the more people who share it, the more people see it.

It’s not just about pushing content, however. You also need to be engaging with other people’s content. Following people and interacting with them on social media will work to build relationships (we keep coming back to this one!) and will help to get your name out there for people to turn to.

3. Educate yourself.

There is a lot of noise on the Internet. Social media allows you to hone in on what you really care about and what you really want to read. You can create lists that curate content from your favorite people, thought leaders in the space, or media outlets. You can easily learn about current events and things taking place near you.

The above stated points shows social media has positive impact on the youth but without doubt it also has some strong negative impact on the youth. Below are some listed Disadvantages of social media on the youth;

1. Depression and Anxiety

Do you spend several hours per day browsing through social media? Spending too long on social networking sites could adversely affect your mood. In fact, chronic social users are more likely to report poor mental health, including symptoms of anxiety and depression.

It doesn’t take much thinking to figure out why. Social media lets you see the carefully selected best parts of everyone else’s lives, which you then compare to the negatives in your own life. Comparing yourself to other people is a sure path to anxiety and unhappiness, and social media has made this much easier to do.

2. Cyberbullying

A cyberbully is the use of social media to communicate false, embarrassing, or hostile information to specific users. Among the major effects of social media, cyberbullying is an evil that has become such an atypical today. Victims of prolonged cyber-bullying often end up with psychosocial problems like depression, isolation, loneliness, stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, and some even become suicidal.

The lack of a mechanism to unravel users behind cyberbullying accounts is what is making these activities rampant.

3. Reduces Face-to-Face Interaction

When you are on social media more often, not only do you spend less quality time with people who are physically present in your life, but they will quickly get annoyed when you’re mindlessly scrolling through social media platforms instead of paying attention to them.

Social media can be great for finding support when you aren’t able to interact face-to-face with those around you, but being physically present with someone offers a level of comfort and support that social media will never be able to rival.

When we speak with someone face-to-face, non-verbal cues are just as important as what we’re saying. On social media, non-verbal cues are eliminated, making communication more complicated and causing misunderstandings, even between the best of friends.

The best thing you can do (when possible) is to put down your phone and go out with friends or family.

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