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Social Media: A Boon or a Curse?

“By giving people the power to share, we’re making the world more transparent.” – Mark Zuckerberg

In February 2004, at a chilly Harvard dormitory, one man was changing the face of human interaction and social life without even being aware of it. Mark Zuckerberg co-founded Facebook with the intention of connecting people and giving them transparency. 15 years down the line, Facebook has been successfully transformed into a mega-successful business model. The game-changing success of Facebook has even led Zuckerberg to acquire its communication contemporaries such as WhatsApp and Instagram. In doing so, he created a huge tech/social media empire which has a constant finger on the ever-beating pulse of the industry.

While this development provides us with a new range of connectivity as well as various business and job opportunities for the next generation, there’s still one burning question: Did we just sacrifice our privacy in the name of transparency and innovation?

Privacy was once sacrosanct. There was always an element of secrecy within the human lifestyle. Social media has changed that forever. Things you like, things you don’t, interests, events etc. Zuckerberg & Co. were able to get to know you better than your best friends and family. Social media has transferred once-private conversations from offline to online.  Facebook and Twitter have led this charge onto an open and social web that reveals everything for all to see. Social networking sites vary in their levels of privacy offered. For some, providing real names and other personal information such as birthday, address, and telephone number is encouraged by the site. Some other sites, however, also allow users to provide more information about themselves such as interests, hobbies, favourite books or films, and even relationship status, rendering us not fully in control of our privacy and leaving it vulnerable.

One other major factor, especially amongst the young generation, is FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), a phenomenon that was born at the same time as Facebook and deemed a major downside of social media. FOMO is basically a form of anxiety that you get when you’re scared of missing out on a positive experience or emotions that someone else is going through. This fear is constantly fueled by social media engagement. The more you use social networks, the more likely you are to see that someone is having more fun than you.

It’s still a valid argument that social media is giving you so much more than it takes but at the end of the day, what needs to be decided is that whether it’s actually a boon of modern technology and changing our lives for the better or whether it’s a curse that’s slowly invading our privacy and making human interaction a scarce commodity.


Adnan Wahidi is Account Executive at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. |