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The Controversial Role of Social Media

Social media has altered roles and working practices in journalism, public relations, advertising, and entertainment. The rise of social media has brought many problematic nationwide issues to the fore while also giving rise to unprecedented global communication. Potential harm and the prevalence of negative behaviors have increased because of social media, while simultaneously, a sense of creation, expression, and sharing has been induced. With both unfavorable views paralleling support toward what social media offers, there is no doubt of this phenomenon's universal impact. As a result, using social media platforms and the Internet is an unconscious practice that has found its way into daily life. With all things considered, society must ponder how social media is both beneficial and detrimental to society. Furthermore, users must question if there is a way to collectively shift social media toward a more progressive route rather than a cynical one. With all to consider, and regarding research purposes, through content analysis and personal anecdotes, as a representation of "Generation Z," conversation will begin, and disputed questions will have the chance to be discussed worldwide.

Cultural norms may have changed, but the media has always had a social component. The tools and capabilities of social media have existed since the earliest days of the Internet, but only in the past few years has their potential been realized. Through the skills and uses of conversation, networking, and creation, platforms appear worldly, efficient, and indispensable. Social sites with millions of users are only beginning to put such perks into practice. 

The epitome of understanding how necessary social media is can be seen through LinkedIn. With its 500 million members, LinkedIn is the quintessential professional network that could be used more optimally. LinkedIn offers a variety of ways to expand your network by finding and connecting with relevant professionals in the industry. The key is finding, approaching, and connecting with individuals you already know, individuals you'd like to know, and people you should know.

Considering social media is dynamic, it is crucial to keep up with the evolution of all the platforms and keep looking for ways to optimize the uses of available tools. Failing to do so can leave an individual behind, unable to form conversations and, as a result, unable to network and expand potential opportunities. Because social media has revolutionized networking, sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram can be great tools for deepening connections with business contacts, clients, and potential partners. However, it is also essential to have an intelligent approach. Many business owners must learn to use the traditional hard sell on social media and then wonder why their efforts don't pay off.

To avoid directing people in the wrong direction because of specific aggressive tactics, users on social media must have an intelligent approach. Such an approach is easily manifested through a creative outlet needed for display across all social media platforms and behind the scenes. The ability to distribute content cheaply and easily to a mass audience and the chance to interact with others is the most crucial aspect of how the Internet is transforming mass communication. 

The digital media tools that facilitate content creation will always play a significant role in the rise of user-generated media content. However, despite social media's convenience allowing instant conversations, networking, and creativity, the Internet has exposed many controversial and troublesome social issues. The harm and commonness of such damaging and adverse behaviors have increased because of social media, with thousands of young people falling into mental health issues and giving into catfishing. Of course, issues like racism and bullying did not originate with social media; however, because verbal actions have become more public, social media does raise new ideas and can make said behavior seem more familiar.

Along the same lines, mental health has become a prominent topic in America. Mental health risk factors include anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and trauma such as childhood sexual abuse. Individuals' media feeds constantly flood their minds with false expectations of reality, which only encourage risk factors. As a result, these illnesses can change one's emotions, thinking, or behavior. Many individuals choose not to seek help because of societal standards and pressures. Intervention is essential to make people aware that there are stigmas around mental health and to redefine the meaning behind these persistent feelings. When people look online and see they're excluded from an activity, it can affect their thoughts and feelings and can affect them physically. Generally, the constant updates, photos, and tweets feed into one's consciousness to convince us that there are always people doing better things and being better humans.

Furthermore, catfishing is a leading cause of social media platforms gaining a negative reputation for feeding into these ideas of warped reality. While catfishing may be used as a household term to describe someone who looks straight out of bed compared to later that night, there are severe dangers and repercussions of giving in to catfishers. Catfishing is creating a false identity and then interacting with someone for a specific purpose, usually to "lure" them into some relationship. Luring can include mild flirting to years-long partnerships. The catch? These people never have and will never meet in real life, even though they can spend hours a day communicating with someone; kids don't always assume the worst of people, especially when someone is nice to them online. A shy teen who thinks the most popular kid in school is messaging them may want nothing more than for that to be true. Their critical thinking skills and skepticism overlook warning signs and missing information, hoping that it's happening like in the movies.

Since harmful and detrimental aspects of social media overpower the clear advantages of these platforms, society must proactively and collectively shift the stigma of media toward a more progressive and normalized route rather than a cynical one. Limiting the amount of time on these sites, being mindful of the content consumed, and using social media as a resume are all steps that will break the toxic cycle of social media.

Firstly, individuals may start by intentionally limiting the amount of time they spend on these sites. Generally, especially for Generation Z, these sites are used to combat boredom, and people need something to entertain them. However, the issue is that the longer time spent scrolling, the feeling of boredom may increase. Instead, it must be encouraged to pick up a new hobby or even an old one. Secondly, social media is a highlight reel where people only set their best foot forward. It must be understood that a person is not defined by metrics such as likes and followers. Learning to be self-aware when engaging with these highlight reels can improve self-worth. When people stop comparing themselves to the people they follow, they realize that life isn't perfect. All influencers are human, and they'll want to be seen as excellent even though there is no such thing. Finally, social media may be used as a resume. By being authentic and posting original content that fits an exciting field, an individual can automatically create a resume any employer can look into. Engaging with companies can increase your chances of working there one day.

Society must reevaluate social media's purposes and where technology's future is headed. With the Internet expanding and thousands of connecting platforms becoming more popular, it is undeniable that controversial issues will suffocate these platforms. It is up to the individual to not spread hate and instead change morals and priorities when using these platforms.

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