My first “social media” experience goes back to early 2000’s when I was in elementary school in SOUTH Korea. The platform was called “Say Club” where I could chat, send messages, and play online games with my friends and even strangers. It was interesting, though, when I figured out that teenagers in different city in Seoul per say, was using another social media platform. A sensational platform “CyWorld” came up, and it soon became a nation-wide social media. It gave users freedom to personalize their “minihompy” (shorten word for Mini Homepage) and interact with each other. It was really a big hit. The biggest advancement was that I could visit celebrities’ and favorite athletes’ page and say hello to them, which was fantastic for a teenage boy.
When I came abroad to the States in 2008, I realized the world is much bigger than I knew. In the beginning, I only interacted with people from my region. Then, thanks to “CyWorld” I was connected to people across the nation through the internet. After all, “Facebook” introduced me to the global social networking. I became friends with those from California, Japan, and even Ghana. Not to mention a short-term experience with MySpace, Facebook was an absolute stunner for me that I was connected to people around the world. It soon became a global trend and sadly long-lived CyWorld was also replaced by Facebook back in Korea. In few years, Instagram became the leading social media platform.
Thinking back what I have experienced with various social media platforms, there have been so many changes. Most of them were positive such as technological advancements and more convenient features with the increased mobile usages. At the same time, I am also very disappointed about how the nature of social media has changed over time. In early days of social media, I enjoyed having fun with friends, meeting new people, and actually feel like being connected to the bigger human network. However, what I see the most on Facebook feeds, per say, are entertaining videos or funny memes. I remember posting birthday wishes on their birthday or sharing funny photos directly on my friend’s wall (how timeline was used to call back then, if I am correct). However, now all I do on Facebook is just tagging my friend in comments to share some jokes. Even worse, sometimes I get caught up with endless advertisements while scrolling down through the news feed.
At least for me, Instagram is a bit more about seeing posts from my real friends’ about their livces. Still, #foodstagram have ruined my appetite several times in real life when my friends would not let me eat before they get a best shot of food. Furthermore, social media, including Instagram, has been a place where a few people easily become pretentious. In other words, they would like to “show off” what they eat, where they go, and even how they look, so they even manipulate actual images of their own in many occasions. Some people get satisfaction from showing only bright sides and thinking they are happy right now while others purposely attract numerous followers and do business with their names. I am not being an anti-social, or anti-social media here. There are a lot of positive sides of social media still these days. Even I myself loving spending hours looking at Instagram on my bed. My point is that social media, which used to be solely about connecting with other around the world, has been affected by too much exacerbations (not being truly one’s self) as well as commercialization.
Meanwhile, the issue of commercialization on social media is something that I cannot just blame for. It is in fact a blue ocean in the digital business world. With billions of users around the world on Facebook and Instagram, social media platforms are definitely effective place for marketing and advertisements for businesses. Since today’s trends in particular keep changing rapidly every day, businesses have to be aware of these sensitive changes, and social media users provide with massive data allowing them to have clear vision on trends. Many businesses have been trying to enhance the brand awareness through social media because things easily and quickly go viral on the internet, so competitions are increasingly becoming intense day after day. For instance, my close friend launched an eatery guide application and the very first thing he did was advertising on Instagram: It is influential and, more importantly for business, free. The problem was that he is not an active Instagram user, so he is not familiar with how to gather many followers effectively. Hopefully, I learn how to utilize social media for successful digital business from this class and help out my best friend for life in the near future.