Social media has become a significant part of our society. As of January 2019, there are 2.7 billion global social media users — that’s 62% of the world’s population and an increase of 25% in just three years. Social media has completely changed how people communicate and share content. We no longer need to spend our time searching for relevant communities or waiting for friends to contact us; instead, we can find them instantly and get in touch with them whenever we want. In fact, some estimate that as many as 70% of adults now have active social media accounts — a number that continues to grow every day. This transformation has inspired some theorists to label this period “The Age of Social Media” and recognize its impact on human interaction, personal identity, and privacy norms. But how exactly is social media transforming the world?
Social Media Is Shifting The Way We Consume Content
Social media has completely changed the way we consume content. No longer do we have to read news on paper or wait for a TV show to come on — now, you can read the latest headlines on your phone or computer every time you want. You can even get breaking news alerts as they happen. And social media has also completely altered the way we share content. Not only can you post articles and blog posts to your friends, but you can also share images, memes, GIFs, and videos. You can even livestream your day, letting friends and followers see everything you do. Because of this, people now consume and exchange content at unprecedented levels. Social media is so integral to how we communicate that it has been called “the central nervous system of the digital era.”
Everyone Is Becoming A Content Creator
Thanks to the ease of use that platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube provide, social media is helping people become content creators. More than just posting pictures, people are creating videos, podcasts, and blogs to engage with their followers and build their personal brands. And this is helping people earn money, too. In fact, 74% of social media users who have created content report earning money from it. Thanks to new apps and websites like Flipboard, TikTok, and Gastropod, people can now turn their social media content into printed magazines. And social media is also encouraging people to participate in civic engagement. People are using platforms like Twitter to organize protests, call attention to issues, and push for change.
Social Media Is Changing Relationships
Social media has completely transformed the way we interact with friends, family, and partners. And it is not just significant in terms of how we communicate — it’s also affected how we date. Almost 50% of people now use online dating, and social media makes it easier than ever. You can browse and message potential partners on your phone or computer, whenever it’s convenient for you. Plus, social media dating lets you get to know your date before meeting them in person — a significant shift from earlier dating practices. In addition to dating, social media is also changing how we stay in touch with distant friends and family members. As such, people are now communicating and keeping up with their loved ones through Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms.
It’s Increasing Transparency Regarding Brands
Social media has led to a significant rise in transparency regarding brands. All sorts of companies now have their own social media accounts where customers can post complaints, comments, and reviews. Plus, customers can also easily find the contact details of brands and get in touch with them. This transparency can help customers solve problems quickly and easily. And it also encourages brands to act more ethically, since they are more accountable to their customers.
It’s Helping Small Businesses Grow
Social media has become an essential tool for small businesses. In fact, it is estimated that 69% of small businesses use social media to boost their sales and make more money. How exactly are businesses using social media for their benefit? They are publishing regular content to keep followers engaged, advertising their products and services, and interacting with customers to gather feedback. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest can help small businesses advertise their products to a wider audience. And they can also use platforms like TikTok to engage with potential customers.
Social media has completely transformed the world. It has altered the ways we consume and share content, transformed our relationships, and helped small businesses grow. It has also helped foster a new era of transparency that has encouraged brands to act ethically and be more accountable.