Initial Thoughts on Social Media

My views on Social Media vary drastically, depending on which lens I am looking through. Two of these lenses that immediately come to mind are that of myself, and a business.

My View

As an individual, I do not like what social media does to people. We’ve all seen the pictures:

at sporting events…

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Oklahoma v Alabama

(Photo by Jackson Laizure/Getty Images)

at concerts…

o-concert-phones-facebook

at dinner…

1373825588-smartphoneaddiction

and the list goes on and on.

I certainly have fallen victim to this phenomenon myself. I’ve bumped into people on a crowded street because I was watching someones Snapchat story. I’ve been in a room with three of my best friends, and there’d be dead silence for about 10 minutes because we’d all be on our phones.  I frequently find myself absent in conversations, nodding my head, saying “uh-huh” or “yeah exactly” pretending to know the topic of conversation when in reality, I don’t have a clue.

It is also sad to think that once upon a time, I wasn’t like this. I once was a voracious reader in elementary and middle school. I used to wake up at 6am to read a whole book before I went to school at 9am. Then in middle school, 8th grade to be exact, I got a cell phone…and I think we all know what comes next. Fast forward to present day, and now I can barely get through an article without checking my phone, scrolling through Facebook, or Snapping my friends. In fact, sometimes I can’t even pick something on Netflix to watch!! A typical conversation in my head goes as followed:

‘Ooh this looks interesting…wait but my friend told me this is really good…oh but this one won an Oscar…but do I want to watch a whole movie right now? I should save this for a better day. But now I really want to watch it!’ 

To top things off, I usually end up going to sleep before I even watch anything.

No, Netflix is not a social media platform (for now…), but the point of this example is to show what smartphones and social media have done to us, even when we aren’t actually using them. Our attention spans have reduced, meaningful conversation is definitely rarer than ever before, and being present and mindful has become one of the biggest challenges of our generation.

While my personal take on this topic has been a tad morbid and cynical, I do recognize the significant positive impact that social media has had on our society.

A Businesses View

If I am a business owner, social media is the best thing that’s happened to me. Because individuals are so enveloped in their smartphones and other devices, social media platforms have become the ultimate marketplace to attract new customers. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and Vine have completely changed how companies market their products, and have opened the doors for organic growth and grassroots marketing. Companies that offer a likable product or service get to appreciate natural chatter online, and as more and more people talk about them, they get trending, create a reputation, and solidify their brand.

When Angela from 1950 Collective came and presented for us during our second class, she showed us how the company did not need to do much marketing because everything was done for them. They offered cool products that targeted niche audiences, and those customers would post on Instagram and Vine, tagging their friends in pictures and posting videos of their latest purchase. 1950 Collective then took to Twitter, which mainly serves as a way to answer customer questions and resolve any issues. 1950 Collective’s use of social media has taken them from just a clothing company, to a brand with a heart, soul, and life of its own. And how much did all of this cost? Nothing!

Another huge advantage of Social Media platforms is that they’ve evolved to the point where they now offer their own marketing techniques. Websites like Facebook and Twitter have collected so much data on their users, that they can point companies in the right direction in terms of who to market to.

An example of this is the initiative that 1950 Collective is launching, which is selling apparel to Drake fans in a specific city where he’s performing. To achieve this, they would use Facebook marketing to advertise their apparel to that specific geographic area. What’s great about this is that this service probably isn’t too expensive, and it will definitely reach their target market. Geographic marketing on social media is also extremely helpful for local businesses looking to optimize their marketing expenses and only reach the people they need to reach.

As personalized marketing continues to grow, I see unlimited potential for social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to offer better and better marketing services to companies looking to fully optimize their spending on advertising and marketing. For this reason, I truly believe social media is one of the best things that has ever happened to businesses and business owners.

Takeaways

Social media has revolutionized the way we connect and interact with each other. These platforms have broken down so many barriers, and has given everyone an equal opportunity to have a digital presence. Most importantly, it has made it easier than ever to start a conversation. Social media has helped us discuss controversial issues, and has certainly fostered tolerance, understanding, and empathy in its users. From a businesses standpoint, it has certainly been a godsend. Companies can efficiently market their products and can brand themselves with ease. However, while social media has propelled us into the future and opened up a world of possibilities, it certainly has come at a cost. People are constantly connected to the online world, but often disconnected from the physical world. As a result, being mindful and present has become so hard for so many people, including me.

I may have sounded a bit pessimistic before but I truly believe that we can find a happy medium between utilizing one of the greatest creations of our generation, and living in the present.  So yes, lets catch up with old friends on Facebook. Yes, lets watch that video of a cat playing the piano on Twitter. Yes, lets post a photo of ourselves on Instagram. But lets not do it at the dinner table. How about that?

Sources:

http://www.thepostgame.com/blog/daily-take/201505/sports-fan-how-keep-next-generation-coming-games-tech

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/10/smartphones-at-concerts_n_6123606.html

 

5 comments

  1. rohansuwarna · ·

    Aditya this a great piece and I really enjoyed reading through both the views you presented here. I agree with your argument regarding people in public events such as concerts and sporting events. I love attending Red Sox games at Fenway Park, and I have noticed a really sad trend. Fans are more concerned about getting the proper “Fenway Park” filter than actually enjoying the game. Likewise, at concerts, all I see are people holding up their phones either taking videos or pictures for Snapchat or Instagram. It is a shame what social media has done to these events. In my opinion people should try to relinquish as much as they can their social media obligations when with friends, or out at these public events.

  2. Nice post. I agree that the balance is key (and it’s a big theme of this class). It’s hard to do when these sites are designed to suck you back in (which we will discuss next week).

  3. I like your approach to social media from a business/marketing stand point. I think social media (especially Instagram) has found a clever way to target niche markets. Tracking the people we are following and which account we view immediately changes the ads that appear on my Instagram and Facebook feed. I’m seeing more and more small businesses run an entire store off their Instagram page without a store front or an actual website. If you see a shirt you like, you just DM asking for the price, shipping, etc.

  4. Aditya, I enjoyed reading your first blog post. We all are victims of the effects of social media. It is embedded in our society and continues to dig deeper as technology increases. However, you have mentioned some key benefits of social media particular in the business sector. Having different apps also you to reach costumers in a new creative way. I think it is important that we find balance, as mentioned above, to really reap the full benefits from social media.

  5. I think this post was awesome. I found myself nodding my head in strong agreement the whole way through. In my own world, once I noticed what was going on with social media in our personal lives, I took a sever step back and out of it to avoid the negative effects, but this has resulted in situations such as me hanging with friends and being the only one not looking at their phone – it’s almost surreal. It’s interesting to watch people slip in and out of the virtual world so seamlessly and in such great tune with the majority of people around them. As soon as you delved into the business perspective, everything continued to click and make sense. I, like the above commenters, agree that we have to find the happy medium because having too much or too little interaction with social media have cons that severely outweigh the pros.

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