A picture of an Iphone, with a display of icons that symbolise various social media platforms.

Social Media and Their Influence on Culture in the United States

The onset of the digital age has forever changed the way in which we consume information. Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok have created new worlds for consumers to explore. A world where you can interact with friends and present a faultless and perfect version of yourself. The cultural impact of social media shouldn’t be understated, especially in the United States of America.

A digital collection of a group of icons that represent various social media platforms.
Credits: freepik

The Social Media Effect

In the United States, the impact of social media is undeniable. You can share content one day and within minutes your website is gaining traffic as a result. People consume videos on social media at a frightening pace. In a five-month period, advertisers on Instagram registered a 622% increase in impressions of videos.

Businesses in particular have come to understand the value of social media. Video marketing is heavily influenced by the opportunities that social media channels provide. Mainly to establish long-lasting connections with their audiences. Through social media marketing campaigns, businesses can achieve a great deal. Namely, greater visibility, enhanced brand recall and improved audience perceptions. Moreover, these marketing methods are also much less costly than traditional ones.

A picture of the icon of one of the most renowned social media brands in the world, Instagram.
Credits: Business Insider


Youtube as a digital platform has forever changed the consumers’ relationship with entertainment. Moreover, the pioneering video site is currently the second highest ranking search engine on the internet. It’s also one of the most popular social platforms, second only to Facebook with respect to active monthly users. Youtube currently has 1.9 billion users worldwide. The amount of views that it generates as a platform is astronomical.

The very nature of the platform enables brands and consumers to coexist in a setting where creators initially struggled to be recognized. This is especially true for US-based brands and their various marketing campaigns. Companies and creators alike can utilize the reach of the brand in order to grow symbiotically if you will.

A picture of the logo of the renowned video streaming and sharing platform Youtube.
Credits: Variety

Music on Youtube

Music is a staple of the platform as far as categories go. It provides established artists and undiscovered acts with an equitable platform to showcase their talents. Successful stories, like Justin Bieber in Canada and even Joji in the United States, highlight the power of the platform. Giving opportunities to those that may not already have a foot in the industry. Up and coming artists don’t need to spend countless hours trying to get in touch with major record labels. A viral video on Youtube is more than enough to turn a few heads. The right personality with the right song at the right time could make all the difference.

A picture of Youtuber turned musical artist Joji. An indivudal who owes his musical success to his online presence.
Credits: GamePow

 Impact of Social Media on Politics

Social media platforms also have a tremendous influence on the world of politics. A new study from Pew Research claims one in five US adults get their political news primarily from social media. It also finds that those who don’t get their information from social media are less informed. This demographic is often exposed to inaccurate news.

Moreover, social media platforms have influenced political campaigns increasingly in recent years. Social networks play a very important role in electoral politics. The election of Howard Dean in 2003, Barack Obama in 2008 and Trump in 2016 are all pertinent examples.

A picture of posters with the logos of the world's leading social media platforms.
Credits: The Constant Revolution

Impact of Social Media on Relationships

Currently, relationships are making a swift transition to digital platforms. Social media platforms are encouraging people to form friendships online. With people more invested in their digital friendships than the ones they have in real life. Furthermore, the advent of platforms like Tinder and Bumble has made it easier for individuals to form romantic connections online. Without the need to have to go on a date and engage in conversation.

A picture of icons that display potential matches for someone seeking to find a suitor on Tinder
Credits: Culture

Facebook and its Cultural Impact

Facebook is one of the most recognisable social media platforms on the planet. It’s the standard against which most modes of communication in the 21st Century have been measured. The value of Facebook as a marketing tool is very clear at this point. It has the ability to facilitate open communication between brands and consumers. This is the main reason why Facebook is such a successful marketing tool.

Furthermore, Facebook’s in-built messaging app is a vital marketing tool. A large number of consumers worldwide reach out to businesses and services through Facebook messenger. Similarly, the integration of Facebook messenger with platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram further increases connectivity. For marketing companies, this opens up new opportunities to connect with consumers on multiple platforms.

A picture of the Facebook logo placed on a keyboard.
Credits: REUTERS

Instagram and the Usage of Images

As many as one billion people all over the world use Instagram monthly. With around 500 million accessing Instagram stories daily. Moreover, around 89 % of the site’s users are not from the United States. Only 110 million out of 1 billion users are US-based.

In addition, Instagram played a huge role in the spread of the “selfie” phenomenon. Moreover, people are obsessed with taking selfies and posting them on Instagram. Even mainstream celebrities, and even political leaders in special cases, are getting in on the act.

The increased popularity is a vital marketing tool for countless companies. The right selfie can help create more positive feelings towards brands. Traditional stock images tend to bore users and alienate them from the brand. However, selfies add more authenticity to the brand, boosting consumer confidence.

A picture of an excited young woman taking a selfie on her smartphone by the beach.
Credits: Shotkit


Cyberbullying is an issue that has persisted in the digital world even before the advent of social media. Teenagers want to fit in and try to outdo their peers. This creates a certain pressure for teenagers because of the public nature of the platforms. In most cases, people from anywhere around the world can comment on one’s social media post with either slander or even compliments.

Both comments create pressure, as slander always hurts one’s feelings and compliments create an incessant need to fish for more compliments in the future. Which is an unrealistic expectation, as not everyone is a nice person on social media.

The Cyberbullying Institute’s 2019 survey of middle school and high school students in the U.S. found that 36 % of students have experienced cyberbullying. With 30 % being victimized twice or more. Moreover, almost 15 % admitted to having cyberbullied someone at least once. With 11 % of people admitting to doing it two or more times.

An animated image of an online user suffering from incidents related to cyberbullying. A reflection on the adverse effects of social media
Credits: Imedial

Lack of Privacy

Social media users sacrifice their privacy after creating their account on social media platforms. Stalking and identity theft are some of the threats faced by users. Sometimes, users post content that shouldn’t be in the public eye. But by the time they realize, it’s already too late. Screenshots will circulate across the platform, and the content will continue to spread and circulate. Causing irreparable damage to the user’s personal and professional life.

A picture of a large man spying on a user on the internet. Meant to symbolise lack of privacy on social media.
Credits: MediaPost

Replacing “Activism” with “Slacktivism”

Social media platforms bring awareness to social issues. But this doesn’t often translate to real change. Social sharing encourages people to use their devices to voice their opinion. However, they do so without actively engaging with campaigns in real life.

A 2013 study by the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business confirmed this. When people are presented with the option of ‘liking’, they opt out of real life campaigns. However, people prefer making significant contributions privately.

A picture of a collection of tiles that spell like. To symbolise the like button on social media
Credits: Thrive

Impact of Social Media on Job Placements

Job candidates with skills in social media techniques are more employable. A 2020 survey by OnePoll asked 2000 U.S. parents and high school kids about the ‘new normal’ in high school. Sixty-eight per cent of students and 65% of parents believe social media is useful in this regard.

Moreover, blogs, wikis and LinkedIn are now common tools for learning in numerous institutions. Social media has contributed to this. Despite lack of privacy issues and cheating from long distances, social media continue to be used in educational institutions.

A picture of the statistics of how candidates with social media skills are more employable.
Credits: SproutSocial

Technology and Culture

Towards the end of the 19th Century, artists captured their subjects through portraits of individuals reading books. Today, it’s pictures of people standing in the middle of a crowd on their smartphones. The Arab Spring and mobilization of resistance against the Ukranian government were all dependent on social media sources.

The networked world of social media provides a platform to encourage public participation and the process of democratizing public life. Moreover, the use of social media is a response to aspirations that already existed prior to the advent of social media. Technology is mainly a resource that helps these aspirations come to fruition.

A picture of the wide variety of technological devices through which individuals access social media.
Credits: The Association Magazine

The Bedroom Culture

Furthermore, bedroom culture stems from children’s desire to gain independence from parental control. Digital technology and social media platforms provide the means to achieve this. Moreover, children’s bedrooms are a hub for various media outlets. For example, their smartphone, television and PC are mediums for them to access digital media. As such, this results in an increased desire amongst young people to stay put in their bedroom for extended periods.

A picture used to symbolise how children use various devices to access different forms of digital media.
Credits: Entrepreneur

Distribution of Information

Furthermore, the distribution of information is another positive impact of social media. Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook have made it easier for individuals to access information. A research study conducted by parse.ly shows this. It stated that the life expectancy of a story is 2.6 days compared to 3.2 when a story is shared on social media.

Moreover, the lifespan of an article is different from that of a social media post. Green Umbrella estimated the lifespans of posts on various platforms. It found that a Facebook post has a lifespan of six hours, an Instagram or LinkedIn post has one of 48 hours. The longer users access information, the more discussion it generates and the greater the social media impact is.


A picture of various social media platforms and the ease with which information is distributed.

Video Games

Social Media has had a profound impact on the world of gaming. Youtube provides the platform for this, with reviews, unboxings and playthrough videos. The presence of a wide array of gaming content on Youtube has made traditional game review sites obsolete.

For gamers, watching a Youtube video is more appealing than reading pages of text. Moreover, with the amount of YouTube gaming personalities that cultivate a massive following, it makes little to no sense logging onto a website. It’s just much more convenient.

A picture of two individuals holding their controllers and playing a video game on their console.
Credits: The New York Times

Impact of Social Media on Commerce

Most businesses today reach out to their customers through one social media platform or another. Companies now realize the value of social media. Furthermore, they can use it to generate insights, stimulate demand and create targeted product offerings. These functions are important for both traditional and e-commerce-oriented businesses.

Furthermore, studies suggest implementing social networks in the workplace increases knowledge sharing. As such, this improves project management activities, enabling the spread of knowledge. Eliminating boundaries or social barriers in the workplace, increasing interactions between workers.

A picture of the different modes of e-commerce activity experienced by companies that actively use social media platforms in their businesses.
Credits: Hootsuite

Flipside of Social Media & E-Commerce

Funnily enough, even though social media has become common amongst businesses, some companies still experience adverse effects. A case study by Taloon.com, an e-commerce trader, found that conversions rose by 11.9 % when they removed share buttons from their product pages.

The results are mixed. When a product attracts a lot of shares it reinforces sales. However, when the opposite happens, customers begin to distrust the company. Dr. Paul Marsden, psychologist and author of ‘The Social Commerce Handbook’ , defined this as ‘social proof’.

A picture of all the major social media companies that use e-commerce as a primary business function.
Credits: moengage

Social Media and it’s Anthropological Influence

It’s fair to say that today’s information is power, but without the means to access it, one can’t harness its power. Social media platforms solve this problem and enable the widespread distribution of information. This in turn facilitates the spread of vital information that helps shape modern day culture as we know it. Platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have made it possible to access information at the click of a button.

The world would operate at a much slower pace without social media. It’s yielded both positive and negative effects. However, the overwhelming benefits heavily outweigh the negative impacts. The future is bright for social media, with countless digital platforms providing a multitude of services across various industries. However, it’s important to note that your personal data may not be your own anymore.

Social media platforms amass large amounts of personal information. They use this information to tailor their platforms to the customer’s liking. In terms of one’s recommended feed and or cookies or preferences on websites. As such, even though there are numerous benefits to social media platforms, you must be aware of what you sacrifice while agreeing to their terms of use while signing up.

Nonetheless, from a cultural perspective, these platforms have done wonders. You can now communicate and exchange ideas instantaneously. Facilitating an era of openness and transparency. Allowing like-minded individuals to exchange cultural notions and ideas effortlessly.

A picture used to symbolize all of the various digtal services available on websites and or social media platforms.
Credits: Small Business Trends

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