Soon after the concept and then deployment of the internet, people were amazed at the technology granting them access to information present on an entirely different machine. The early stages of the internet, dubbed Web 1.0 contained static web pages containing pre-made content which you could only view. As soon as Web 2.0 entered the fray, it revolutionized the way the world wide web worked. Web 2.0 let users create and publish their own content on the internet. This gave way to websites like Orkut or personal online blogs which ultimately laid the foundation of Social Media.
Social Media, true to the name, is multimedia content that presents a deeper degree of communication, interaction and immersion. It was considered a real marvel of technology when you could IM each other on message-boards, but after social media things took a turn for presentation and communication. You could now set up your own page and seek out other internet users on a social media platform and interact with them with absolute disregard of any geographic boundaries and too almost instantly. There is a recorded number of 2.46 billion social media users present in 2017 and it is estimated to rise up to 2.77 in 2019. Social media, in by-the-book terms, has truly connected people and made the world a smaller place. It has brought with itself a plethora of perks but also a significant amount of cons.
The Pros of Social Media
Again, as we’ve already established, giving people a platform to voice their opinions or to just set up a social profile that can be used to reach out to them and vice versa has empowered people greatly. Their online interactions now seem to have become much more human compared to what it was in the time of Yahoo! Or AOL chatrooms where everyone talked in acronyms and net-speak. However, if we move away from the prime function of social media, we can observe how great of a tool it has been for the modern age.
It has also served a great political asset as well. Social Media platforms like Twitter and Facebook has practically sparked and fanned entire revolutions. People and celebrities expressing their political stance on social media websites are utilizing their freedom of expression to the fullest and raising a great amount of awareness on issues that rarely ever make the headlines. The refugee crisis was a modern one and as such social media was a great aid to them with people keeping each other updated on safe routes or shelters. An overwhelming amount of people donated to the cause and helped out. Individuals feel safer voicing their views on social media now as their peers either nod in agreement or shake their heads which results in a civil discourse most of the times.
There is also a perspective with business in mind. Social Media platforms have empowered individuals, yes, but they have also contributed heavily in getting startups on their feet. Kickstarter and GoFundMe are essentially social media platforms as well and they have financed so many projects; a great deal of which have contributed to making the world a better place. With e-commerce being integrated into social media, small businesses have set up shop online and using clever branding and interactive advertising they have targeted their audience online reducing so much of the cost. Apart from that, social media also plays a vital role in the credibility of these businesses as reviews are made by users of a service and they can expose a lousy service for what it is and warn other potential customers. SEO experts have seen a spike in careers because of social media. With more users surfacing on social media, we can see an influx in the consumption of content like blogs and articles. This gave a compelling argument that there needs to be an online marketing group specifically to manage all this content and market it in a much better, packaged way. This also gave rise to concepts like Marketing Automation which led to better management and publishing of said content. In a nutshell, social media has evolved exponentially with its influence reaching far beyond the domain of what it was original designed to do.