Did you receive Ryan’s snapchat? Did you see the photo of Joe’s new car on Instagram? I’m planning a birthday party, I’ll invite you on Facebook. Did everyone read the tweet Jimmy Fallon tweeted last night?
Okay, so our everyday language has become jampacked with social media terms, even if we are unaware of it. Words that were once deemed as nouns describing a platform have since become verbs: tweeted, snapchatted, instagrammed, Facebooked. When I wrote my first blog , I illustrated the business side of social media by focusing on maintaining good customer relations through examples such as SouthWest’s presence on Twitter. To me, that was the business side of social media. Yet over the past few months, I have come to realize that social media has both its ups and its downs. Social media is developing and we are witnessing its growth. Just like a teenager has to learn as he/she grows up, so does social media. Just within the past few months, I have seen social media at what I perceived as its best and also social media at its worst. I cannot simply state that the best outweighs the worst or vice versa. These are just stages, life cycles, in the evergrowing development of social media.
There were some social media moments over the past few months that stood out to me. One of which was Super Bowl Sunday. The biggest night for football fans and the biggest night for advertisers. Companies pay large sums of money all in hopes of securing new customers through witty commercials. The Super Bowl was progressing like any other night when <BAM!!> Power Outage! The Super Bowl went dark. Unscripted. And a nightmare for advertisers who thought that viewers may switch the channel. One company emerged from the darkness. OREO. One of the greatest uses of social media to market a product: OREO posted the infamous tweet. It was quick, simple, and emerged at such an important time. Social media proved to me that it can support instantaneous marketing.
In conclusion, I do not think any event this semester has illustrated the growth of social media, including its best and worst moments, quite like the tragic events of the Boston Marathon. This is when social media began to “test the waters” strongly. In its best moments, we witnessed crowdsourcing to identify the suspects’ clothing items, we watched tributes to the victims, and we stayed informed with constant updates during a chaotic and frightening situation. Then we saw the horrific side to social media: the rumors, the false identifications, the graphic images, and the feeling of uneasiness not knowing if what you were reading was true or false. Personally, however, I feel like social media turned a page during that week. Social media brought everyone together. We always discuss the use of social media to build community and I cannot comprehend the feeling of community within Boston during the past month. Through the use of hashtags such as #BostonStrong, the Twitter-world helped many seek possible answers and comfort in knowing that everyone stood united.
So while social media may include checking to see the latest pictures on Facebook, social media expands well past that. Just within one semester, I have witnessed countless businesses test the waters and expand the uses of social media in more clever ways in order to further their business. When I wrote my blog in January, I would have never thought about the use of instantaneous advertising and the use of social media to help solve criminal investigations to the extent that I have already seen. Social media will continuously grow with time and the possibilities are endless, especially for businesses.
Thank you for a wonderful semester!