Media and social media — Robin Wils's website

Last modified: Wed, Jan 6, 2021

Table of Contents

What is the difference?

Both words mean that it is a way to share messages or ideas with others, but it are rather vague words. It is hard to give these words a correct meaning, but I gave it a try.

Social media is a part of the media nowadays and many people use the media to impact others. It is the best way to reach people.

Social media and the media aren’t so different. You can only see a bit of the world at the time, in other words, people have an impact on you all the time.

A screen which shows a man using binoculars. The glasses of the binoculars have the Facebook logo on it.

Social media binoculars By Glen Carrie - CC0 licensed.

Social networking and social media

I see social media as the full package which includes media and other stuff. Social networking is usually included in this full package.

I mean the part in which people chat or talk with others when I use the word social networking. Social networking applications are things like IRC, email, videocalls and chatting.

Some might see these things as social media, but I see it as a different thing.

Research shows us

Social media

Social media is similar to (or is) a drug and can be bad for your health.

" Around one-third of humans on the planet are using social media, and some of these people are displaying maladaptive, excessive use of these sites. "

– Dar Meshi (lead author and assistant professor at MSU)

Research source: Excessive social media users demonstrate impaired decision making in the Iowa Gambling Task;
Year: 2019;
Authors: Dar B Meshi and Anastassia Elizarova and Andrew R. Bender and Antonio Verdejo-Garcia;
Published in: Journal of behavioral addictions;

Social networking

There is research about the positive sides of social networking. Someone who uses a social networking site might be more likely to avoid serious psychological distress.

Research source: Social Networking Sites and Addiction: Ten Lessons Learned;
Year: 2017;
Authors: Daria J. Kuss and Mark D. Griffiths;
Published in: International journal of environmental research and public health;

Keep in mind that I don’t see social networking as social media. Social networking is a smaller package.

Social media disadvantages

That research might have shown you, why social media is probably not healthy and addicting, but it has even more disadvantages.

There is even a video of the founding president of Facebook who claims that they make it addicting and that they always knew this.

Watch on YouTube

" It’s a social-validation feedback loop… exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology. "

" The inventors, creators – it’s me, it’s Mark, it’s Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it’s all of these people – understood this, consciously. And we did it anyway. "

– Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook

Fake news

It usually contains a lot of propaganda and lies. It can contain some truths as well, but many people also believe the lies, since they don’t have the time or are too lazy to do some research.

People get paid to promote stuff. Social media is still a marketing tool. The media also has this problem.

Privacy problems

Many people including kids, probably don’t read the extreme policies which you accept by making a social media account.

Some policies of the popular Facebook network allow them to:

Keep in mind that this isn’t even everything. I recommend the “Terms of Service; Didn’t Read” add-on if you want to see the Words of Service in a more readable format.

Terms of Service; Didn’t Read

This extension informs you instantly of your rights online by showing an unintrusive icon in the toolbar. You can click on this icon to get summaries from the Terms of Service; Didn’t Read initiative.

License: AGPLv3

It costs you time

Your time is valuable. Life’s short. Don’t let social media eat your time, many people don’t realize how much time social media really takes. Not much (if even anything) is worth living a life that you wouldn’t like. Nothing is worth putting aside what you have always wanted to be.

Good reasons to use social media

Is using it to stay in contact with others any good?

Using it to have contact with others is a good reason in my opinion.

Don’t let privacy ruin your life. Try to often avoid the social media part of the platform in that case. You are the exception and will lose connections if you leave such a platform.

Some of your connections which know something about computers will try to stay in touch in some way, but you might discover that you don’t have much connections which you can trust.

Social media is not going away soon. It is important to know your limit if you decide to use that poison. Test what it does to you if you spend a few weeks without social media.

I feel better in general when I stop using social media for a while. Do what feels right in the long run and play with the options.

To influence people

This is a very good reason to use social media. Influencing people is useful when you try to sell a product or an idea.

It is just the fastest and easiest way to market something. Many people use it and it works. There are other ways though. I add share links, so that I don’t have to have an account on those platforms.

My share links don’t use any tracking JavaScript, since I don’t find it ethical to track users.

Share buttons

The Facebook like buttons violate the GDPR and I bet that it isn’t the only social media button which tracks everything you do, even if you don’t have a Facebook account. This is a reason why some people like myself often block JavaScript.

I added custom share links for these platforms. Don’t worry, I won’t use the buttons which these platforms provide. I cares about my privacy minded readers.

A opened box of big white pills. The label of this box says 'Facebook'.

Facebook pills, I couldn’t find the original creator of the picture - CC0 licensed.

Social networking

Social networking

I already mentioned why it is probably a better choice as social media… but it also has some disadvantages.


The current most used social networking platform is probably email. Email has a lot of problems, but most people still use it because it is easy to use.

Some, but far from all of those problems are spam. It is easy to spoof(fake) an email address and it is not encrypted by default. No encryption by default means that anyone who uses a packet analyzer on your network can see and read the contents of your emails.

Email is easy to use because the most people have it. It also isn’t too hard to use. Many sites use email to validate your account. Disposable email services exist if you don’t want to share your email with a website.

Is it possible to not have these problems?

It depends.

The problem is that good alternatives exist, but the communities are a bit small, so the norm isn’t using these platforms yet. This makes it harder to find people to have conversations with.

You can use these alternatives which might fix many of the problems which email has as a solution.

I think that Discord is a pretty good option at the moment, or maybe