Social Media: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly. (2022)

The emergence of social media has changed our world forever. Its presence has impacted our businesses, entertainment industry, politics, social movements, relationships and overall view of the world. Social media has eliminated communication barriers and has paved the way for people to connect, collaborate and share their opinions and creations with anyone who is willing to listen. Social media is breaking down hierarchical, regional, age and cultural boundaries by providing a communication platform that spans across the globe and reaches us all. We can now find out what we want from whomever we want, no matter where they are located on this planet. Social media enables people to effectively mobilize, rise up and speak out on issues that they consider important. Everyone now has a voice that can be heard, no matter yourrace, religion, color, creed, or sexual orientation. But while we mostly hear about the enrichment that social media is to our lives, some may argue that there is a significant flip side to the phenomenon as well. In this post, I would like to provide some historic context to the origins of social media and also present an overview of the two-sided argument that is present in society today with regards to how using these networks has impacted our wellbeing; positively or negatively.

Origin & Emergence of social media

Throwing it way back.

It is almost impossible to truly pin-point a starting point for social media, as it has emerged from a landscape that has gone through some incredible technological developments over a span of decades, centuries and perhaps even millenniums. I believe that the essence of social media is long-distance communication. One could consider that the earliest forms of long-distance communication date all the way back to Ancient Persia, when around 550 BC a true postal system was developed in Assyria.(Gascoigne, 2015, p.1) The system was broken down into two categories: Express Post, which carried letters of kings, ministers and top officials by men on horseback and Ordinary Post, which carried letters of government employees and ordinary people by pedestrian postmen and beasts of burden. (Tour Egypt, 2011, p.1) But while it was mind-blowing that the Persians were so far ahead of their time with regards to communicating across great distances, I would like to identify a different starting point for the journey that led us all the way to becoming the Facebook Post-liking, Tweet-favoriting and Instagram Picture-Double tapping social media users that we are today.

Straight from the Morse's mouth

Samuel Morse was an American painter and inventor who revolutionized communication by inventing a wire telegraph system based on previous European telegraphs. In order to transmit messages across telegraph wires, Morse and his partner Alfred Vail developed a code that assigned letters in the alphabet and numbers to a set of dots (short marks) and dashed (long marks) based on the frequency of use, called Morse code. (History, 2009, p.2) The marks were initially written down on a piece of paper, to then be translated back into English. But as time went on, people started to be able to understand the code simply by listening to the clicking of the receiver. Morse sent out his historic first message: “What hath God wrought!” on May 24th, 1844, and the telegraph system began to spread across America and the world to forever transform the way we communicate. Introducing the telegraph radically changed the world of journalism, how wars were fought and how money was exchanged. News or other updates no longer took weeks to be delivered by horse and carriage but could now be exchanged between telegraph stations in an instant while money could now be “wired” across great distances.

While many different technological advances and innovations began to emerge by the end of the 19th century, practically all of them were based on the foundation that was laid by the telegraph system. Even though technologies such as the telephone, fax machine and Internet surpassed and replaced the telegraph, I still consider its invention as pivotal catalyst in ushering us all in to the Digital Age.

Here comes the boom

It seems impossible in today’s day and age to consider social media and the Internet separately. But the Internet was not founded to necessarily become the driving force behind massive social platforms like it is today. The Internet had, in its humble beginnings, only a relatively small set of networks most of which had direct links to defense research or operations. Through the 1980s and 1990s the Internet grew tremendously in size and became no longer under military control. Instead, it became under civilian control and its operation would be privatized. (Abbate, 1999, 181) This meant that the network became much more accessible to the public and people were now able to truly acknowledge and embrace the possibilities and potential it offered regarding information gathering and self-expression. When the power of the Internet joined forces with a new application called the “World Wide Web”, all bets were off and our society has never been the same.

(Video) Social Media - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly | ft. Nehemiah Damien & Joshua Andrews

The original World Wide Web did not have an easy way to search the data on it, so new businesses began sprang up offering services that made it easier to locate information on the Web. Originally, users could only type in a URL or follow links from page to page. But then programs referred to as “search engines” hit the scene which made it possible to search for specific topics, organization on people on the Web effortlessly. (Lazonick, 2002, p. 294) The Internet became no longer merely a research tool but a popular medium as it provided a platform and application that was attractive enough to draw the masses of potential Internet users into active participation. Abbate explained, in the chapter Popularizing the Internet of Inventing the Internet how the Web “solidified the Internet’s traditions of decentralization, open architecture, and active user participation, putting in place a radically decentralized system of information sharing.” (1999, p. 217) Each individual could now become a producer as well as a consumer of content, which was one of the most pivotal advancements that handed the users more control over the way information on the Web would be presented to them. This set the stage for the arrival and era of social networks.

When looking back in history for the origin of social media as we know it today, pointing out a starting point can be very difficult and confusing. When searching for a social media platform or website with a structure like the ones that we are so accustomed to today, one has to consider as being the very first to do it.

Social Media: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly. (1) was founded in 1997 and was the first to allow its users to create personal profiles, invite their friends, organize groups and browse through other user profiles. While the networking site did bring in millions of users, never caught on like its’ successors. The website was sold in December of 2000 after its popularity had steeply declined. A big reason for this was, in my opinion, that the accessibility to the Internet was still limited at the time, meaning that people were simply not connected and online to fully embrace the platform that was pushing. In a timespan of only 3 years after SixDegrees’s birth, the amount of worldwide internet users had quintupled and it became more and more common for people to be engaged socially online. It wasn’t until a few years later that the Internet’s infrastructure was able to catch up with the concept of social networks and the huge boom of social media occurred when platforms such as LinkedIn (2002), MySpace (2003), Facebook (2004), Twitter (2006) and Instagram (2010) hit the scene.

Social media TODAY: Good or Bad?

Social media as we know it today is a relatively new concept and development in our lives, which is why there is so much divergence in the published research on social media usage and its effects on our wellbeing. There seems to be a rather strong divide in approaching the consequences of substantial social media usage; One half of the studies out there tends to mostly focus on the negative consequences and effects, while the other half highlights the positive impact that social media usage has on people.

Social Capital? Thumbs up!Social Media: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly. (2)

Especially for young adults, establishing and maintaining healthy relationships with peers is important for several reasons. Besides positively helping their psychosocial development, it also functions as an important source of “income” commonly referred to as social capital. Social capital is an “elastic construct used to describe the benefits one receives from one’s relationships with other people” (Lin, 1999 as cited in Steinfield et al., 2008, p. 434) Social media allows you to re-connect with old friends and associates, make new friends, exchange ideas and use your established network to market yourself in a way to further your professional career and business prospects. Social media has empowered people to learn about diverse cultures by connecting with others all over the globe in a way that was never before possible. Several studies that were highlighted in Social Capital, self-esteem, and use of online social network sites: A longitudinal analysis (2008), by Steinfeld et. Al, highlight how social media usage positively impacted students’ lives by helping them maintain distant relationships with friends and family, spark offline conversations and also initiate new social interactions; all of which directly linked to increased social capital. Certainly, being part of social media platforms has proven to be a very powerful tool of communication and inclusion for people from all walks of life.

(Video) Social Media: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Not all sunshine and rainbowsSocial Media: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly. (3)

While social media continues to be praised for promoting a welcoming community to people from all social, cultural and racial backgrounds, one has got to be willing to look at the other side of the coin as well. Social media’s structure has perhaps had an even more profound effect on the exclusion of people. Not being a part of “the movement” and specifically being targeted and/or excluded from such online networks has shown to be detrimental to a young adult’s mental and social wellbeing as it can lead to isolation and depression. Cyberbullying is a growing problem in society that puts children and young-adults in serious emotional and social danger. Danah Boyd explains, in It’s Complicated: the social lives of networked teens, how networked technologies complicate how people understand bullying. Some people believe that cyberbullying is a whole new phenomenon. Others argue that technology simply offers a new site for bullying, just as the phone did before the internet.” (2014) While lawmakers have begun to implement anti-bullying laws all over the country, cyberbullying continues to cause significant problems by being considered a “grey area” because of the difficulties and common surrounding the definition and explanation of the term. Over half of today’s adolescents state they have been bullied online and over 25 percent of adolescents state they have been bullied repeatedly through the Internet or on cell phones. However, only 1 in 10 teens will tell a parent about the bullying. (Cyberbullying, 2014)

Sadly, some victims of cyber bullying resort to suicide to escape the embarrassment, and increased social media use has hit the scene as possible contributor to the increased suicide rates for teens between 2010 and 2015 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017).

Social Media: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly. (4)

A review of 37 studies found a definite relationship between cyber bullying and suicidal ideation and behavior. (Kim YS, Leventhal B, 2008, 133-154) There are even more extreme examples of social media contributing to shocking outburst of violence. A Dutch teenager was murdered for posting “derogatory comments” about another girl on Facebook.

In Conclusion

I believe that the impact that social media usage has on our lives can simply not be approached as black and white as most people tend to do. I stand on a middle ground, where I look at both sides and can completely identify myself with both sides of the argument: I acknowledge the incredible potential for connection, inclusion and flourishing of personal networks and social capital that social media brings to our lives. But I also recognize the dangers that lurk when you realize that such an immensely powerful tool as social media can also be used to destroy someone’s life. When I take a step back, I realize that we are really only at the dawn of the social media era and only time can tell in what ways immersing our lives into these networks has changed us; emotionally, psychologically and socially. One thing I do know for sure, regarding social media, is that we must never stop studying, analyzing and questioning it because the fact of the matter is: The emergence of social media has changed our world forever and we can never stop seeking new ways to better understand the world we live in.

(Video) Social Media: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly - Documentary

Social Media: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly. (5)

Cited/Used Works

1994 -2008 - 14 Years of Web Statistics at U.Va [Digital image]. (2009, July 19). Retrieved November 1, 2017, from (Used as Hyperlink)

Abbate, J. (1999). Chapter 6: Popularizing the Internet. Inventing the Internet. 180-220 Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Boyd, Danah, (2014). It's complicated: the social lives of networked teens. New Haven: Yale University Press

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [Online]. (2013, 2011) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC (producer). Available from

Cyberbullying statistics. Accessed August 29, 2013.

Gascoigne, B. (2005). History of Communication. HistoryWorld. Retrieved November 27, 2017, from

(Video) “SOCIAL MEDIA / DIGITAL MEDIA - THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY” | REV DANIEL MORTON-JONES Staff. (2009, March 2). Morse Code & the Telegraph. Retrieved November 14, 2017, from

Kim YS, Leventhal B. Bullying and suicide: A review. Intl J of Adol Med Hlth. 2008; 20; 133–154.

Lazonick, W. (2002).American Corporate Economy: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management. London: Routledge.

SixDegrees Log In Screen [Homepage of]. (CBS Interactive Inc.) Retrieved November 3, 2017, from

Steinfield, C., Ellison, N. B., & Lampe, C. (2008). Social capital, self-esteem, and use of online social networksites:A longitudinal analysis.Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology,29(6), 434-445.

The Story of the Post Museum. (2011, July 12). Retrieved November 14, 2017, from

(Video) Social media:the good? the bad? the ugly? #PYDC #LSSC


What are the 3 Faces of social media? ›

The 3 Faces of Social Media The Good The Bad The Ugly.

What is the ugly effect of social media? ›

The more time spent on social media can lead to cyberbullying, social anxiety, depression, and exposure to content that is not age appropriate. Social Media is addicting.

What are 10 reasons why social media is bad? ›

  1. It's an Enormous Waste of Time.
  2. It Lowers Your Self-Esteem. ...
  3. It's Not the Same as Being Offline. ...
  4. It's Addictive and Unhealthy. ...
  5. Privacy Issues. ...
  6. It Doesn't Often Teach You Anything Valuable. ...
  7. It Makes You More Negative. ...
  8. It Can Damage Your Reputation. ...

How social media affect our life? ›

However, multiple studies have found a strong link between heavy social media and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts. Social media may promote negative experiences such as: Inadequacy about your life or appearance.

Is social media helpful or harmful? ›

Although there are important benefits, social media can also provide platforms for bullying and exclusion, unrealistic expectations about body image and sources of popularity, normalization of risk-taking behaviors, and can be detrimental to mental health.

Why social media is toxic? ›

Social media portrays a false sense of reality that detriments the mental health of heavy users. It has a record-breaking influence on the world, and is glamorized by users and influencers but has negative effects on mental health that can even turn fatal.

What are the pros and cons of social media? ›

Top 10 Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media
Pros of Social MediaCons of Social Media
Social Media Can Reach Large AudiencesSocial Media Causes Sleep Issues
Government Benefits from Social MediaSocial Media Cause Depression and Loneliness
Entertainment with Social MediaSocial Media Causes Distraction
7 more rows
14 Jun 2022

Why social media is a good thing? ›

Social media may provide individuals with a platform that overcomes barriers of distance and time, allowing them to connect and reconnect with others and thereby expand and strengthen their in-person networks and interactions.

What are 5 negatives of social media? ›

7 Negative Effects of Social Media on People and Users
  • Depression and Anxiety. Do you spend several hours per day browsing through social media? ...
  • Cyberbullying. Image Credit: HighwayStarz/Depositphotos. ...
  • FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) ...
  • Unrealistic Expectations. ...
  • Negative Body Image. ...
  • Unhealthy Sleep Patterns. ...
  • General Addiction.

Is social media good or bad essay? ›

It is harmful because it invades your privacy like never before. The oversharing happening on social media makes children a target for predators and hackers. It also leads to cyberbullying which affects any person significantly. Thus, the sharing on social media especially by children must be monitored at all times.

Why should we avoid social media? ›

Social media use is associated with a variety of issues, including emotional and mental issues, such as anxiety, depression, stress, loneliness, and low self-esteem, physical issues, such as reduced sleep quality, and general issues, such as exposure to misinformation and political polarization.

Should I stop social media? ›

Key Takeaways. Research shows that social media can negatively impact your health by increasing feelings of depression, anxiety, and even insomnia. If you find that your relationship with social media is hurting you, you can try going on a “digital detox,” or quitting social media for some time.

How important is social media nowadays? ›

In today's society, the use of social media has become a necessary daily activity. Social media is typically used for social interaction and access to news and information, and decision making. It is a valuable communication tool with others locally and worldwide, as well as to share, create, and spread information.

How social media makes my life worse or better? ›

Not only has social media been proven to cause unhappiness, but it can also lead to the development of mental health issues such as anxiety or depression when used too much or without caution.

What are the positive effects of media? ›

Some positive effects include: Motor skills are improved by typing, clicking, playing games, and other tech related finger skills. Hand eye coordination or even quick thinking can be helped. Access to mass news media can improve reading skills.

Why social media is good for teens? ›

Social media has given teens the ability to instantly connect with others and share their lives through photos, videos and status updates. Teens themselves describe these platforms as a key tool for connecting and maintaining relationships, being creative, and learning more about the world.

Why is social media good for mental health? ›

The anonymity afforded by social media offers a safe space for people to express themselves and reveal their personal experiences with mental illness. In other words, it allows self-expression without the danger of stigma. “It forms connections in a different way, watching strangers talking openly about their lives.

How social media affects students? ›

It is easy to become addicted, and research shows that students who spend too much time on social media can suffer from poor sleep, eye fatigue, negative body image, depression, anxiety, cyberbullying, and more.

Are people happier without social media? ›

But the harm it's caused to us and our kids for that matter can't be ignored. Study……after study……after study, simply show people are typically happier when they are off social media. Being on social media can cause or amplify our depression, loneliness, anxiety and a wide variety of other not so great feelings.

Is social media waste of time? ›

Multiply 28 hours by one month and that gives you approximately 112 hours. Multiply by one year and you have 1336 hours. That is the number of hours you waste on social media every year if you spend 4 hours on it daily. Some people spend up to six or seven hours a day on average.

Which social media most toxic? ›

Twitter Tops The List Of Most Toxic Apps.

How can we use social media positively? ›

Use your social media channels to reach out and see how your loved ones are doing, share personal stories and photos and remind you of the important people in your life. Follow and share inspiring stories. Follow and share inspiring stories that make you feel confident and positive about your life.

What is the face of social media? ›

WhatsApp is the most favourite social network around the world as of early 2022. The second place is occupied by Instagram, which outperformed Facebook by 0.3%.

What are the three types of social media marketing activities? ›

And thankfully, even with the influx of how-tos and social media guides out there, there are just three basic forms that social media marketing is made up of: Community management, content creation, and growth.

What are the 7 types of social media? ›

7 Types of Social Media Channels & How You Can Use Them
  • 1) Social Networks.
  • 2) Blogs And Micro-blogs.
  • 3) Media Sharing Sites or Content Communities.
  • 4) Wikis or User-Generated Content.
  • 5) News Sites And Social Bookmarking Sites.
  • 6) Discussion Forums.
  • 7) Social Events.
1 Feb 2019

What are benefits of social media? ›

Here are five benefits of using social media:
  • Build relationships. Social media is not just about brands connecting with their customers. ...
  • Share your expertise. Social media gives you an opportunity to talk about what you know and what you want to be known for. ...
  • Increase your visibility. ...
  • Educate yourself. ...
  • Connect anytime.
22 Apr 2014

Is social media good or bad essay? ›

It is harmful because it invades your privacy like never before. The oversharing happening on social media makes children a target for predators and hackers. It also leads to cyberbullying which affects any person significantly. Thus, the sharing on social media especially by children must be monitored at all times.

Why social media is a good thing? ›

Social media may provide individuals with a platform that overcomes barriers of distance and time, allowing them to connect and reconnect with others and thereby expand and strengthen their in-person networks and interactions.

What are the pros and cons of social media? ›

Top 10 Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media
Pros of Social MediaCons of Social Media
Social Media Can Reach Large AudiencesSocial Media Causes Sleep Issues
Government Benefits from Social MediaSocial Media Cause Depression and Loneliness
Entertainment with Social MediaSocial Media Causes Distraction
7 more rows
14 Jun 2022

What are the advantages and disadvantages of social media? ›

  • Educational process. ...
  • Online marketing. ...
  • Information spreads fast. ...
  • It lets us share anything with others. ...
  • It helps you to achieve your goals. ...
  • Privacy problems. ...
  • It changes lifestyle habits, and it is sleep disruption. ...
  • Lacks emotional connection.
19 Jan 2019

What are 6 social media types? ›

What Are the 6 Types of Social Media? The six types of social media, though this can be broken down in many ways, include social networking, bookmarking, social news, media sharing, microblogging, and online forum sites.

Why is social media marketing so effective? ›

Social media platforms allow users to spend time with more relevant content than traditional advertisements; Making social ads more valuable because they are more likely to be seen by the people that matter most for a product or service. Social Media ads are being seen as one of the most effective tools in advertising.

Why is social media marketing important today? ›

Social media allows marketers to connect and engage potential customers where they are at: LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, and even some of the younger platforms like TikTok. With a strong social media strategy and the ability to create engaging content, marketers can engage their audience.

What are 10 social media? ›

10 most popular social media apps
  • 1. Facebook. 2.93 billion monthly active users. ...
  • Instagram. 2 billion monthly active users. ...
  • Twitter. 229 million monetizable daily active users. ...
  • TikTok. 1 billion monthly active users. ...
  • Pinterest. 433 million monthly active users. ...
  • LinkedIn. 830 million members. ...
  • Snapchat. 332 daily active users. ...
  • YouTube.
18 Jul 2022

Which social media most popular? ›


With nearly 3 billion monthly users, Facebook is inarguably the largest and most popular social media platform in the world.

What are the 13 types of social media? ›

  • Social Networks. The primary goal of social networks is to help you connect with people, build communities and groups, share ideas, interests, and information. ...
  • Messaging Apps. ...
  • Photo & Media Sharing Apps. ...
  • Blogging & Publishing Networks. ...
  • Interactive Apps. ...
  • Discussion Forums. ...
  • Bookmarking & Content Curation. ...
  • Review Networks.
29 Jul 2021


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