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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.