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Social Media Likes – Are they Beneficial?

Social Media Likes

There are different types of posts on social media including videos, pictures and text in the form of memes, critiques, events, offers, quotes, updates etc. According to current affairs or current moods, people share or tag their friends in such posts to be a part of it. As in the documentary, Bonin Bough (V.P., Global Media, Mondelez Intl) said, “When kids like something it becomes part of who they are.”

Facebook is one of the big platform for advertisers. Big brands search ambassadors and volunteers for the expansion of their business. Advertisers also make respective groups for increment of the sale of their products. Some of the names of such groups are, Isloo buy and sell, Isloo camera buy and sell, Isloo Bazaar, and Buy and Sell (For whole Pakistan) etc. Different brands including clothing, food, cosmetics, home appliances, instruments etc use social media as a big means to sale their product and have as many followers as they can.

By followers, I mean a person who supports and admires a particular person or set of ideas. Followers admire the products and posts of their favorite page; brand/musician/public figure/others. They like and share their posts on their timelines.

Social media is also a platform for strugglers, which is a source of their fame these days. We see many artists, musicians, actors and comedians gathering their followers by merely asking them to like their stuff. They strive for a long period developing their fans. They entertain them in every possible way and in return, they ask them to LIKE & SHARE their stuff.

If we take an example from Pakistan, “Zaid Ali”, “Furqan Shykh”, “Rahim Pardesi”, “Uzair Altaf” (The tweet guy), “Shahveer Jaffery” etc are some of the famous bodies who used social media for their fame. They started making and uploading their videos and posts on their respective pages and kept on promoting them. Their videos are followed by a “Must Like & Share” statement.

Now the question is, “How can a single like give them enough fame?

The answer is, when you like a page/post on Facebook, it automatically gets in your friends’ newsfeed. If you have around 300 friends, almost 200 people out of them will see your activity and out of them 100-120 friends will like or share that post; who will have mutual interests with you and the process continue (The mentioned number may vary).

“The icon of this generation is the like button, the tweet button and the reblog button,” Said Bonin Bough in the documentary. Our generation wants to have as many likes on their profile picture as possible. “The profile picture is kind of how you want people to visualize you, you put your best before and the cover photo tells about your personality,” Said one of the guests in the documentary. Therefore, a “like” is one of the most important things in the life of today’s generation. They want hundreds of likes on their profile pictures and thousands are welcomed warmly as well, if possible.

Nowadays, “Chai Wala” (Arshad Khan) and “Desi Bombshell” (Shumaila; Behind the character) are most trending on social media; Facebook and Instagram. By most trending, I mean they are ranked high and one who is ranked high is criticized as well. Comparing these two, Arshad Khan, being a public figure received criticism. Many people think it is his destiny, many claim that there are many beautiful people in Pakistan other than him so why only him?

Many suggest that he was earning Halal until they invited him to showbiz and now his earning is not pure anymore and many think that Allah Almighty gives this rank to him and he deserves it. Different people have different point of views on social media and everyone is independent to show his like or dislike towards anything. Although Desi Bombshell received no criticism until now in fact, it is a source of entertainment for people.

According to 2011 Pew Research data, “Nearly 80% of American adults are online and nearly 60% of them use social networking sites.”

PTI’s Leader, Imran Khan, after elections was called, “The Prime Minister of Social Media” because he had a huge number of followers on social media but he did not get as much votes as he expected in elections. His followers kept supporting him in all his moves and announcements through social media. Imran Khan’s supporters are called “Youthiyaas” as he represents the youth of Pakistan. Nearly 85% of the youth supported Imran Khan in the cause of “Dharna” against government and election commission.

There is another social boy in the documentary named Tyler Oakley, who has hundreds of subscribers on YouTube. He makes random videos of his lifestyle about which he says, “I have made probably over 500 videos in which I talk about everything.” But wait a second, not everything but the things he likes. Social media lets him share his obsessions with the world.

He makes videos of different stuff around him like the date of buying his laptop, the cookie he ate, his backyard and none the less, his haircut. Another little boy made some videos of his skating skills and uploaded them on YouTube, along with another skating fellow he kept making videos and got famous. Usually, these stars merge their videos with other renowned stars and keep on expanding their followers.

After all, getting people all about something is a big business.

Take the issue of same sex marriage, as another example, if you are in favor of it and want the world to know, oreo was there to help, a cookie, which is two chocolate and a cream in the middle. They built it in a perspective that was so profound.

That one post alone had million likes, a million people took an action and all those who supported gay marriages or wanted to be a part of it, claimed, that they associate with that, they like that piece of content. That piece of content spoke them. That profound so big numbers and those numbers are extremely valuable.

Coming to my opinion, there is no such demerit of social media in the documentary but in reality, there are some demerits of using social sites excessively. The majority of young people (56 %) reported spending up to three hours a day on social media.

Dr. Douglas Gentile, Director of the Media Research Lab at Iowa State University reports, “Almost one out of every ten youth gamers shows enough symptoms of damage to their school, family, and psychological functioning to merit serious concern.” Most of all, it is disturbing their study and their concentration. Students may be in class, but their minds are on how many “likes” their picture got last night.

“Teens stay up to 12 or 1 AM scrolling down their newsfeed. They end up only getting four to five hours of sleep, which is definitely not enough to function properly through the day.” (Marwick, Boyd).

Teens are increasingly sharing personal information on social media sites, a trend that is likely driven by the evolution of the platforms teens use as well as changing norms around sharing. Teens are sharing more information about themselves on social media sites than they did in the past. Social media may provide an additional way to connect with others and form relationships. These relationships may result in a good term or may be a bad one.

Another issue of using social media excessively is the privacy issue. If we compare 2003 with 2016, a huge number of people have increased who have started uploading their pictures and videos on social media without any hesitation. Around 65% of people have started updating their hometowns, relationship statuses, institutions and date of births.

In conclusion, it is important for every parent to learn about internet and keep an eye on what their children do online. They should learn different softwares and be aware of what their children upload and when they are online. Parents should also take care of the emotions of their children; they should not tell their children that they condemn their behavior yet tell your child you are concerned about some of the changes you have seen in his or her behavior

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