Eleven years ago, I was sent an invitation from a girlfriend to join this social media platform called “Facebook.” I joined, and learned that I could connect with as many or as few friends as I wished, upload information about myself, publish pictures, “like” a post and many more interactions. Today, Facebook is so popular that it is not only utilized as a personal means of connection, but businesses have jumped on the bandwagon to promote their products and services. So much has changed, you can now react to a post through different emojs, do a live Facebook video stream, promote products through paid ads, etc.
So many platforms developed, not even 10 years old, have made such an impact on our global society: Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. It makes me wonder as a consumer what will be developed next.
Is the level of social media usage a good or a bad thing? One might say that it can be very good because not only from the personal connections you can maintain, but from a professional stand point social media can reach a very large audience, depending not only on your own audience numbers, but based on the numerical amount you are willing to fund to reach your target audience through ads.
Twitter, especially for me, has become a news outlet. I personally follow many news sources, and stay ahead of the most breaking news and weather stories. Yes, Twitter was originally designed simply to “Tweet” out our inner/random thoughts, all at only 140 characters. Now, Twitter has become a major platform, once again for professional usages, for businesses, actors, business owners, politicians, to get the word out to a very large audience.
Others might say that social media can be a platform for online bullying to take place. How often does it happen that a person will post a picture/video, accompanied by a mixture of responses. Why do people feel its ok to say something extremely negative and downright mean to someone they have never met in person? Is it easier to hide behind the screen? It will never be ok to be an online bully, no matter what the social media platform is.
Another downside to social media is the addiction of usage users have developed (I’m guilty of this.) How often do we see in public people on their devices, instead of communicating with the people in person (again, I am guilty of this.)
Social media, has also become a source of income. Having a large audience can be very lucrative; we often will see an account holder talk about a product or service followed by the hashtag #ad or #sp, meaning they are being paid to post. YouTube used to just be about posting amateur video on any topic, now people have made a side or full time income from posting videos to their large audience and make money through monetizing their channel.
In the end, social media is great for both, just with a good balance. We will see how many of the platforms stick around and compete with one another.