This post was originally published here: post

 

Life and social Media
By
Dr. RGS Asthana
Senior Member IEEE
Summary
This paper describes the life and social media. It describes social media apps and their usage among people, e.g., FaceBook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and Reddit. It covers the addiction issue particularly among teen agers of social media very briefly too including reasons and some remedy. Social media is good if used intelligently but bad if one goes to the level of addiction.

One can use social media positively to begin new relationships, strengthen existing ones, as well as to innovate, learn, collaborate and learn to enjoy life by maintaining good health through exercise and controlling intake i.e. food and water [12-17].

Keywords
Life, Social Media, Social media networks, FaceBook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, Smart Phone

Prelude
What is meaning of life in human context? The answer to this question is partly represented by our capability to get-outside-of ourselves and view our hobbies as well as habits distantly from a detached and composed viewpoint. Everyone has this capability but crux is to be aware of it and being able to use it whenever needed. We possess analytic ability to examine what we do; and why we do; and also how what we do binds with the rest of reality; and whether reality in any way cares about us.
Social media is a tool which allows us to get away from reality if we so desire and remain authentic, of course, again only if we wish. It, in fact, includes computer-mediated tools that allow people or companies to create, share, or exchange information. Wikipedia identified four commonalities unique to current social media services:
(1) Social media are Web 2.0 internet-based applications,
(2) User-generated content is the lifeblood of the social media organism,
(3) Users create service-specific profiles for the site or app that are designed and maintained by the social media organization, and
(4) Social media facilitate the development of online social networks by connecting a user’s profile with those of other individuals and/or groups.
Social media technologies are available in many different forms including blogs, business networks, enterprise social networks, forums, micro blogs, photo sharing, social gaming, social networks, video sharing, and also ability to create virtual worlds. Facebook, Google, WhatsApp and Twitter are the leading social media apps, but in the past few years’ additional social apps, such as, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest have joined the fray and all of them appear to have taken the internet by storm.
When we talk of life and social media then it is necessary to discuss social instincts of human being. The first one in this category is companionship, i.e., desire to belong or to be accepted and second set includes ego, self-esteem, pride and prestige that is one does wish to be recognized and accepted as a leader and it’s also important to remember the fact that often one has excessive and unjustified opinion of oneself, either positive (self-love) or negative (self-hate). The last and important attribute is ambition – it includes our plans to gain acceptance, power, recognition, prestige etc.
Social Media, in fact, provides a forum where one can seek companionship without fear and can express himself freely. One can also compromise here on being authentic with little fear and risk. Let’s take an example of Facebook, it is true that Facebook have led to crime, but Facebook has also solved many unsolved crime mysteries. The social media apps are, in fact, only tools and it really depends how one uses them.
The Life
One need to always remember that social media is not real life. Many people look less authentic on social media sites. If socially ‘Barbie’ were a real person and if one poses next to a photo of the Barbie doll in front of the famous Vance Creek Bridge, Washington, U.S.A. and edits the photo to look great in the photo and posts the photo on social media then one need to answer a basic question– “Is this photo authentic?”
The following imaginary incidences show different facets of life and do look relevant to me to be quoted here:
#1
I had spent an hour in the bank with my Uncle, as he had to transfer some money. I couldn’t resist myself asked…,”Uncle, why don’t we activate your internet banking?” Uncle replied, ”Why would I do that?”
He asked…

”Well, then you won’t have to spend an hour here for things like transfer. You can even do your shopping online. Everything will be so easy!” I was so excited about initiating him into the world of Net banking. He asked ”If I do that, I won’t have to step out of the house? ”Yes, yes”! I said. I told him how even grocery can be delivered at door now and how amazon delivers everything!
His answer left me tongue-tied. He said ”Since I entered this bank today, I have met four of my friends, I have chatted a while with the staff who know me very well by now. You know I am alone… this is the company that I need. I like to get ready and come to the bank. I have enough time. It is the physical touch that I crave. Two years back I got sick, the store owner from whom I buy fruits came to see me and sat by my bedside and cried.My wife fell down few days back while on her morning walk. My local grocer saw her and immediately got his car to rush her home as he knows where I live.
Would I have that ‘human’ touch if everything became online?
Why would I want everything delivered to me and force me to interact with just my computer? I like to know the person that I’m dealing with and not just the ‘seller’. It creates bonds and relationships. One always needs to remember that Technology isn’t life.
#2
Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the White House. One contractor was from Country ‘A’ henceforth referred to as ‘CA’, another from country ‘B’ referred to as ‘CB’ and the third from country ‘C’ referred to as ‘CC’ respectively.
All contractors go with a White House official to examine the fence.
The ‘CA’ takes out a tape to measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil. “Well”, he says, “I figure the job will run about $900 (break up of cost is $400 for materials, $400 for my team and $100 profit for me)”.
The ‘CB’ also does some measuring and figuring, then says, “I can do this job for $700 (break up of cost is $300 for materials, $300 for my team and $100 profit for me)”.

The ‘CC’ doesn’t measure or figure, but leans over to the White House official and whispers, “$2,700.”
The official, outraged says, “You didn’t even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?”
The Indian contractor whispers back, “$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire the ‘CB’ to fix the fence.”
“Done!” was the reply of the government official.

The moral of incidence #1 is that Technology isn’t life and cannot replace human touch. The incidence #2 relates to greed – one of the basic instincts of humans — the art of easy money making without any morals. Please note that reference to White House and its official is only fictional.
Number of real people doing search
People use social media for searching and not only for socializing. People conduct millions of queries on Google, Twitter, and Facebook daily. Businesses want their companies coming in top 5 results in search and Google and other make money from such promotions.

Suitable social media sites
Today all businesses as well as individuals want to be present on as many sites as possible on social media. However, before joining a site one needs to know which sites have how many eyeballs? How many persons are really active and how many out of them are not machines?

Audience on different social sites
Figure 1 gives the number of users on different social media sites [1- 10]:

Figure 1: Number of users
Part 2 [Continued] LSM
The key media sites
As of now in social media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google + are most active sites and anyone interested in social media must join them.
Facebook
It’s a social networking site created in the year 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg. It allows one to create a profile, post pictures and chat with friends. In addition, one has access to play games, such as, Farmville, Cafeworld, MafiaWars, etc.
Some of the statistical data of interest on Facebook is as follows:
1. Facebook has over 1.65 billion monthly users as in May 2016 [2] which is a 15 % increase year over year.
2. 1.09 billion People log onto Facebook daily (DAU) for March 2016, which represents a 16% increase year over year.
3. There are 1.51 billion mobile active users (MAU) for March 2016. Five new profiles are created every second.
4. Facebook users are 76% female and 66% male.
5. There are at least 83 million fake profiles on Facebook for both valid and invalid reasons.
6. There are Photo uploads of close to 300 million per day on Facebook.
7. The most important data is that average time spent per Facebook visit by user is about 20 minutes.
One can create webpage on Facebook on the fly. Having own websites will soon become things of past as the businesses and individuals no more need their own website but may soon prefer to have Facebook webpage. 42% of marketers report that Facebook is critical or important to their business.

Twitter [3]
Twitter is a happening place. In Times of India Jun. 07, 2016 edition, I saw an interesting iToon [see figure 2] which shows the popularity of Twitter.

Figure 2: itoon in Times of India in Jun. 07, 2016 edition

The statistical data of Twitter as of March 2016 is given below:

1. 1 Billion unique visits monthly to sites with embedded Tweets
2. 83% Active users on
3. 40+ Languages supported

Tweets will no more be restricted to 140-character. Twitter is soon going to revamp tweet length rules. Further, members will be able to add multimedia to tweets – including pictures and videos – without eating into the 140-characters-a-post limit at present.

Google+ [4]

The statistics of Google+ is as follows:

1. Total number of Google+ monthly users is 300 Million
2. Number of Google+ monthly unique users on mobile is 20 Million
3. Average monthly time spent on Google+ is 7 minutes

When you combine Google Authorship with the world’s dominant search engine, and create a social media platform that integrates them, it’s no wonder that Google+ is turning up as a dominant form of online social interaction. Google+ has also found a sweet spot in social collaboration through Hangouts.

The following social media sites are huge, and it will be good to register your presence here too.

Pinterest [5]
According to a study earlier this year, Pinterest officially became a more popular sharing platform than email. Pinterest has the highest revenue per click of any other social sharing network.
Early in its life, Pinterest got labeled as a social platform for women as more than 80% of its members were women. But now, women account for only about half of Pinterest pinners.

Instagram
It’s a powerful platform for promoting both one’s personal brand and a business, too. It’s an established fact that liking and commenting on other photos is a powerful way to grow a massive following.

Instagram is basically a visual platform (see case study [6]). Emojis are everywhere, and Instagram is no exception. Between Emojis and hash tags, brands are finding creative ways to spice up captions. The important statistics about Instagram [6]:
1. 90% of interbrand 100 companies now have Instagram accounts;
2. Engagement per post has grown at a rate of 53% year-over-year
3. Photos see more average engagement than videos
4. 70% of the most-used hash tags are branded

National Geographic’s Instagram channel is a killer, and they have a strong 4.8 million followers.

LinkedIn [7]
The salient LinkedIn user’s Statistics and demographics are as follows:

1. Total number of Linked in users is 433 Million
2. Every second, two new people join LinkedIn.
3. Number of monthly unique visiting LinkedIn members is 106 Million
4. LinkedIn reach is 200 countries and territories
5. Number of LinkedIn member page views in first quarter of 2016 was 45 Billion.
6. Over 3 million businesses have set a company page on this platform.

LinkedIn is a force to be reckoned with, particularly, for business users. According to Search Engine Journal, marketers love Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. They generally leave out LinkedIn. But the fact is that LinkedIn is the platform for B2B marketing and not B2C marketing.

YouTube
YouTube has the distinguished position of being the second largest search engine in the world. It has only videos and it is its USP. The salient statistics about YouTube [8]:
1. YouTube has over a billion users–almost a third of all people on the Internet–and every day, people watch hundreds of millions of hours of YouTube videos and generate billions of views.
2. YouTube has launched local versions in more than 88 countries.
3. You can navigate YouTube in a total of 76 different languages (covering 95% of the Internet population).
4. More than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices.
5. The number of channels earning six figures each year on YouTube has increased by 50% y/y.
6. As of July 2015, there are 8,000+ partners using Content ID
7. As of March 2015, creators filming in YouTube Spaces have produced over 10,000 videos which have generated over 1 billion views and 70+ million hours of watch time.
But, despite their modest pretensions to massive search, YouTube is a hit when it comes to video watching.
Tumblr
It’s a “blogging platform,” Tumblr has liked dramatic growth in its young life. In 2015, Tumblr was raking in monthly page views that soared over 5 billion. Tumblr.com’s cumulative total blogs from May 2011 to Apr. 2016 had surpassed 291.7 million blog accounts [9]. Many marketers have discovered that Tumblr has good content and also consistency; therefore, it is an ideal place to make an impact within one’s niche.

Reddit
Reddit is basically a news site but it has an appeal that goes beyond mere “headlines.” These headlines are voted up and virally shared. It has 150 million plus page views and about 20 million unique page views per month [10].

WhatsApp [11]
WhatsApp is a cross-platform instant messaging service for smartphones that relies on the internet for the transmission of messages. It is the second most used social networking site. It was founded in 2009 by American Brian Acton and Ukrainian Jan Koum.
You can also upload your videos and photos instantly through your internet connection; this is the USP of WhatsApp. As of February 2016, the mobile chat service has more than 1 billion monthly active users.
Symptoms of Addiction to Social Media [18]
Present generation children are addicted to Facebook. Facebook use causes addiction as it activates Amendola – part of human brain which is activated even by use of Cocaine. Facebook addicts are eager to update their status on an average every 15 minutes and check their account more than 100 times within an hour. They update their minute to minute status on the platform. You are likely to be addicted if you start living, eating and sleeping social media.
The key symptoms of addiction are as follows:
1. One does not do work to be done during the day
2. One has more than 1000 friends on say FB but none in real-life
3. The addiction is due to fact that One’s ego is satisfied when e.g. one posts a photo or small video on Facebook and he gets lot of likes and congratulations and even positive comments
4. One tends to type in the URL of social media site whenever he connects to the internet and wishes to remain on the site all the time
5. One always wants to see what his friends have posted or will post and what their ranks in various games are?
The Security Risks
The insecure use of social media may result in identity theft, financial fraud, infected computers, stalking, child abuse, sexual predation, defamation, lawsuits, mad boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/parent, unwanted legacy, embarrassment, It may even lead to downloading/installing malware – Malicious ads – Wall posts, inbox or chat messages with malicious links from “Friends” (particularly in case of hijacked user account).
Tips for Safer Social Networking
Social networking sites can bring positive or negative facets of life depending on how you use them such as many other areas like alcohol, wealth, or food. Social networking can be used to spread awareness of a business, keep one in touch with people one would otherwise lose contact with, or allow one to share music with his friends. On the flip side when people spend too much time on Social Media sites rather than hanging out with real friends — it may have harmful effects.
Given below are a few tips for safer social networking:
1. Use a strong and unique password
2. Provide as little personal information as possible on Social Media sites
3. Understand and customize the privacy settings in all of your social networking accounts
4. Do not permit 3rd party applications to access your information
5. Be careful about what you post e.g. photos of self or others or your opinions on controversial topics
6. Supervise your children’s use of social networking sites
7. Be suspicious of friend/follow requests and also ads, 3rd party applications, chats, messaging apps, etc.
8. Use built-in and add-on features in web browsers to warn you of malicious sites
9. Minimize exploration – don’t casually click on lots of ads, videos, games, etc.
Conclusion
Today, almost everyone uses a mobile device, MP3 player, digital camera. electronics tablet or camcorder to share their thought and/or pictures with their friends on a social media instead of the classic communication methods such as writing letter and even having a phone call. Social media now has an important role in our daily life.
Now we have a well-developed social network and media such as Facebook or WhatsApp to communicate. One can find lost friends and make new friends on social media. Today, people are spending more time on social media sites to entertain. Some even become addict to social media apps.
However, the social media scene can be perplexing. But if you fine-tune on the following plan, you may get to experience an ROI:

One needs to be present on all these social media sites viz. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ & WhatsApp for Smart Phones. The recommended sites are Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. One could also register presence on Tumblr, Reddit and LinkedIn just to cover the spectrum. It’s ultimately left to you to possibly to find one niche Site which is most suitable to your planned activity.

It may be noted that WhatsApp is now available on desktop also and Twitter will allow multimedia content and limit of 140 characters per tweet will also go.
When someone talks about an addict [18], one thinks of drugs or alcohol, or maybe even porn, but the fight for some is with social media read Facebook. People of Algeria have opened a clinic to help people overcome such addiction. Algeria has become the latest country to open clinic for de-addiction from social media.
Some feel that social networking has destroyed life among human beings. However in my considered opinion, the value of social networking far outweighs the risks involved in using it. One can use social networking effectively and positively to establish new relationships, strengthen existing ones, as well as to innovate, learn, collaborate, and thus entertain oneself and learn the art of enjoying all facets of life [12-17]. However, one must be aware of the risks so one can take adequate precautions and stay clear of the risks. The bottom line always is, ‘think twice before you click’!!!

References
[1] In an infographics from Search Engine Journal
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/growth-social-media-v-3-0-infographic/155115/
[2] The Top 20 Valuable Facebook Statistics – Updated May 2016
https://zephoria.com/top-15-valuable-facebook-statistics/
[3] Twitter website
https://about.twitter.com/company
[4] By the numbers: 50+ Amazing Google+ Statistics
http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/google-plus-statistics/
[5] Pinterest Statistics, Facts, Figures, Rules
https://www.pinterest.com/wglvsocialmedia/pinterest-statistics-facts-figures-rules/
[6] 5 Instagram Stats You Should Pay Attention to Now
http://simplymeasured.com/blog/5-instagram-stats-you-should-pay-attention-to-now/#sm.0001tvxfszpamd2zvpx2p3lx2kt4o
[7] LinkedIn users Statistics and demographics
http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/by-the-numbers-a-few-important-linkedin-stats/
[8] Statistics YouTube website
https://www.youtube.com/yt/press/en-GB/statistics.html
[9] The Statistics Portal
http://www.statista.com/statistics/256235/total-cumulative-number-of-tumblr-blogs/
[10] Traffic statistics for /r/AskReddit
https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/about/traffic
[11] Statistics and facts about WhatsApp
http://www.statista.com/topics/2018/whatsapp/
[12] “Happiness – Is it an attitude or state of mind?” by Dr. RGS Asthana Senior Member IEEE Part 1 to 3 posted on Apr. 23, 26, and 30, 2016 respectively.
https://www.facebook.com/HealthnWelnes/
[13] “Sadness – Is it only a temporary phase in One’s life?” By Dr. RGS Asthana Senior Member IEEE, Part 1 to 4 posted on Apr. 16, 20, 21 and 22, 2016 respectively.
https://www.facebook.com/HealthnWelnes/
[14] “Help: if one is sad and wants to be happy then read this…” By Dr. RGS Asthana Senior Member IEEE, Part 1 and 2 posted on May 9 and 11, 2016 respectively.
https://www.facebook.com/HealthnWelnes/
[15] “How to keep your brain cool by managing your emotions/Stress levels to save your heart,” By Dr. RGS Asthana, Senior Member, IEEE, Part 1 and 2 posted on May 13 and 14, 2016 respectively.
https://www.facebook.com/HealthnWelnes/
[16] “Eustress and its effect on performance,” By Dr. RGS Asthana Senior Member, IEEE, Part 1, 2 and 3 posted on May 21, 30 and 24, 2016 respectively.
https://www.facebook.com/HealthnWelnes/
[17] Live Active and Healthy by Dr. Geeta Asthana, Dr. RGS Asthana and Dr. Naresh K. Sinha, Confluence International, p. 224, ISBN 978-81-86425-90-9, pages 224, 2014.
[18] Social media addiction is a bigger problem than you think
http://www.computerworld.com/article/3014439/internet/social-media-addiction-is-a-bigger-problem-than-you-think.html