The era of social media has revolutionalized the world in terms of communication. Social media is a world-wide communication tool that people across the globe can share stories, ideas, pictures, vacation plans and much more. The channels for communication of the social platforms include: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, Linkedln, You-tube, Blogs and MySpace. Teenagers, adolescents, the young and the old use such tool to communicate with friends, families and neighbors. This free web-technology has its good and bad sides. For example, some of the benefits of this technology occurs when businesses use this internet-based platform for building customer relationships, as well as developing strategies to reach out to the general population for increased revenues. Secondly, healthcare industries take advantage of this technology to communicate with staffs and patients for instant medical services for better patient outcomes. With this technology, specialized physicians rely on tele-medicine to diagnose diseases at distant places which may have been impossible few decades ago. Thirdly, watching world events, such as the sports, the royal wedding and the world series can be viewed via social media and shared across the globe. Fourthly, the public may use this technology to expose wrong-doings about law enforcement personnel who takes the law into their own hands. This makes it possible for the truth to be known. Among the numerous disadvantages of this technology are the lack of respect for confidentiality and privacy. For example, the public uses this technology to intrude into the private lives of neighbors, co-workers, peers and friends. Such acts may cause uproar, mistrust and hostility among friends and family. Secondly, private health information may be compromised leaving room for lawsuits and other liabilities. Sharing too much private information to the public may result in job loss, damage relationship and blackmailing others. Society must be careful as to which communications go viral.
The revolutionary social media, which is internet-based technology, is very convenient from the finger tips of users. The world has become smaller in this era of social media where private information can be shared across continents within a twinkle of an eye. This means that the potential to help or hurt individuals, businesses or families cannot be underestimated. Facebook (2017, May) reported that, on the average, nearly 1.94 billion people communicated with one another monthly and 1.28 billion daily on Facebook in 2016.
On the one hand of the communication chain, Kiron, Palmer, Phillips and Kruschwitz (2012) agree that the businesses can create value and build brand awareness with customers and the public at large. In other words, there is a huge advantage to be derived from the advent of the social media platforms which enables businesses to reach large number of potential customers. Firms anticipate that the secrets of production may be protected by employees. Claywell, (n.d.) suggests that identity theft and cyber-crimes may jeopardize potential buyers who use social media for purchasing goods and services. In the healthcare settings, sharing unauthorized private health information of a patient may lead to dire consequences for the sharer and the institution. Sharing too much private information to the public may result in job loss, damage relationship and blackmailing.
Social networks are changing communication trends tremendously. Users of this technology increase exponentially across disciplines, socio-economic and educational backgrounds, among baby-boomers, customers, health institutions and businesses. One difficult thing is how shared stories and videos may be verified or authenticated as well as how employee or healthcare worker may keep the secrets of organizational culture that may be outside the norm. On this note, the thesis statement is: Has social media platforms done more harm than good toward privacy?
The purpose of this paper is to write an opinion as to whether social media helps or hurts privacy of individuals, patients, public officials, businesses and/or families. The social platforms create an environment for online businesses to thrive, thus cutting lots of bureaucracies and red tapes. Individuals could create products and market them online to avoid expensive overhead costs. Society will then benefit from the low cost and have some savings for other uses. Institutions may be happy with good times and sad when institutional potential secrets or wrong doings that may hurt the organization are shared or leaked to the public.
Internet use and all related web-based platforms are on the rise. The concentration of high internet use and its penetration into different parts of the globe is unprecedented in the 21st century. Srinivasan (2012) asserted that over 845 million users worldwide use Facebook for communication, sharing pictures, videos and information. Majority of social media users, who also trust the communication platforms, fall within the age group of 17 to 24 years. Additionally, research survey displayed that 90% of the teenage users exchanged videos of all kinds and expected to receive feedback from their friends, colleagues and families. Facebook (2017, May) reported that, on the average, nearly 1.94 billion people communicated with one another monthly and 1.28 billion daily on Facebook in 2016 asserting an alarming increase of global users.
The world has seen a 13% increase of mobile device users in accessing social networks over computers users. This is made possible by the availability of Smartphones in the global markets. As users carry along their mobile devices, there is the high potential that the social media will be flooded information highways, such as WhatsApp and Messenger (from Facebook) with all sorts of posts which may sometimes hurt or expose the privacy act of somebody or a product (Mander & McGrath, 2017).