Almost every twentysomething has at least one social media platform with which they interact. Most of us kickstarted our social media presence by putting ourselves up on Facebook before doing the same on other social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc.
Social media gives us a platform to articulate our thoughts, develop our personal branding, and connect with other like-minded individuals in other parts of the globe. Seriously, there is so much we can do and unleash with the power of social media.
Then again, although social media use is becoming a norm in this age of information, several myths persist about it. For as much info there is on social media, there is at least twice as much misinformation.
That being said, it is worth putting some of the common and most prominent social media myths to the test and uncover the truth behind each of them.
1. Your privacy on social media is always protected.
The idea of social media privacy is just a comfort blanket. While there are safety tips to make Internet banking and online shopping safer and more secure, your actions on the Internet are continuously tracked by data brokers. In other words, privacy is difficult to protect online.
Moreover, once we share something on social media, be it photos or texts, we allow other users to take screenshots of our actions. That means even if we remove something from the platform for good, it is still saved somewhere, either by a person or a data broker.
Speaking of which, social media platforms themselves record everything we do. You want proof of that? Facebook and Twitter allow us to export a copy of our data, including posts and media content we believe have been erased. Once we upload something onto the Internet, good luck taking it down.
2. We are constantly being spied on by the government.
Although the government possesses sophisticated tools and technologies to analyse online data, they are most probably not observing each of us. It is just too mentally paralysing to do so. It is also pointless from their point of view because they know many of us use social media for the sake of entertaining ourselves with memes and other funny posts. Yes, government surveillance is a real occurrence, but the likelihood of you being watched by them is very low.
3. We have to spend money to continue accessing our existing social media platforms.
There have been debates about this recently, where someone will fabricate a false message saying that Facebook will charge for membership. The only escape avenue is to broadcast a message on our timeline, indicating that we are against the implementation of such change.
For now, many social networking sites continue to offer their services free of charge. If you ever receive those messages, they are nothing but fake news.
4. The only group of people using social media is Gen Y.
Social media platforms are available to all who has access to the Internet. Moreover, social media has a widespread appeal, so people of all ages have accounts. Today, there are billions of people who have made their presence known on those platforms. Hence, it is not just teenagers and twentysomethings who are well-versed with the capabilities of social media. That shows that age is just a number and not a determining factor when it comes to how social media is used.
5. People online now have one unified voice.
If there is a backlash against something on social media, that is likely not how all people feel. Truth be told, Internet and social media consumers are so diverse that it is unrealistic to think that there is one thing that cheers everyone up.
If there is a viral post, chances are, many people will like and talk about it, but there may still be degenerates. It is just impossible to please everyone who views our contribution online.
6. It is pointless to hop onto social media platforms because they will eventually change.
All social networking sites are relatively young and still have plenty of room to grow. Facebook is undoubtedly one of the oldest. Since its establishment in 2004, many say that it is not worth getting a Facebook account because new social media platforms will emerge in the coming years.
Final 2¢: Misinformation breeds confusion
All of these myths about social media are brought about because of a small group of lunatics who seek attention and believe that the truth is boring. Studies have shown that falsely fabricated content spreads much faster than pieces of factual information. Taking advantage of this phenomenon and desperately wanting to cast their names to the world, they would craft ludicrous myths and misleading stories that get people engaged before sharing them on social media platforms.
Essentially, the myths about social media orientate around misinformation. While these are only a couple of examples, it is worth setting them straight.