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How easy is it for us to state our opinions by the click of a button, and in that gentle way sway the masses? Let me begin by saying there are many people out there who are anti-social media. Let me continue by saying, I know this because they post about it on social media consistently. Many people are accustomed to the world of endless texting, photographing, and tweeting right at their fingertips (the joys of a smart phone). Our society has transformed to rely on these phones so much that games like “phone stack” were forced to come into existence. I’m all for putting your phone down to have a real conversation. I understand that maybe you don’t agree with certain technological platforms to enable users to create their identity, but it’s time someone says it. I love social media. Social media has a myriad of benefits for our generation, and I think so many people fail to recognize that. The other day I was watching a “Ted Talk,” and it was about how people protest through Twitter today instead of in physical sense. That’s an incredible thing! How easy is it for us to state our opinions at the click of a button, and in that gentle way sway the masses? Social media has transformed our whole environment in regards to
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inspiring creativity within an individual, providing a pathway for social contact by offering them various locations to connect with friends and coworkers, and empowering business and economics by enabling them with the opportunities to network utilizing platforms like LinkedIn to develop and expand business contacts.
One of the most controversial topics in society today regards how social media affects us as individuals. Many are quick to judge social media networking sites harshly because of all the bad press that is widely posted about crimes and negative effects that arises from a person’s overuse of the internet; especially individuals under the age of twenty-five. Opponents of social networking often say that the sites prevent face-to-face communication; waste time on frivolous activity; alter children’s brains and behavior making them more prone to ADHD; expose users to predators like pedophiles and burglars; and spread false and potentially dangerous information. “Our generation is constantly tugged back and forth between the conflicting ideas regarding it, with one side suggesting that it’s a toxic concept solely formed to brainwash and manipulate, and the other suggesting that it’s an innovative, necessary platform to be taken advantage of” (Tazi 2015 1). It is evident that Facebook and Twitter have had an immense effect on how a person perceives society as a whole. This is because of how much they are utilized and how popular these sites are worldwide. “76% of American adults online use social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, as of July 2015, up from 26% in 2008” (“Are Social Networking Sites Good for Our Society” 2017 1). It is on social media sites like these, that users may develop biographical profiles, communicate with friends and strangers, do research, and share thoughts, photos, music, links, and more.
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Social media inspires creativity on an entirely different level. Not only that, social media inspires a type of creativity that personifies you, because after all, you’re the creator. With sites like Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Tumbler, and Prezi as well the wide spectrum of apps you can now download for free on your smartphone or PC, you can do quick things like send a friend a quick Facebook post or tweet to creating intricate multimedia presentations within the span of fifteen minutes. Prezi, for example has become a great tool for both educators and students. It has created a new pathway which has taken “the public from monologues to conversations” which is something that has been lacking in the classroom for decades (Prezi 2016 1). Plus, as time goes on, sites are offering more and more added extras that are free to the public. For example, on Facebook you can now post in different fonts with various background colors to make your writing appeal to the eye of others. Utilizing a platform like Blogger, Wix, or YouTube, you can create your own website within an hour and display all your favorite artwork or videos for the world to see.
For example, with the new and innovative platforms like Wix, you can explore thousands of websites at the touch of a button to get ideas on how to create your own as their motto states, “the possibilities are endless, with 1,000’s of stunning options, no two websites are the same” (Wix 2017 1). Here, you can create sites ranging from personal blogs, creating and designing desserts, displaying your own writing to promoting a club or charity you would like to raise funds for. The platform offers all the items you will need to do these things from a myriad of backgrounds, messageboards, chat areas, emailing capabilities, and areas to display videos.
Social media has not only inspired creativity at home, but in the workplace and at school as well. The more diverse a person’s social network, the more likely that person is to be
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innovative. “One study has even found that having a greater diversity of virtual Twitter connections means that good ideas are more likely to surface in the workplace” (Taylor 2016 3). In school, kids are now utilizing tablets to complete their homework, email it, and even post to class messageboards. Through these messageboards they can keep consistent contact with both friends and their teacher, and are more likely to feel comfortable asking a question about an assignment. In class, students are consistently anxiety ridden from worrying over whether or not they understand a concept or task and now they have an outlet to do that with.
Social networking sites help to enable and empower people who are socially isolated or shy connect with other people. “More than 25% of teens report that social networking makes them feel less shy, 28% report feeling more outgoing, and 20% report feeling more confident (53% of teens identified as somewhat shy or "a lot" shy in general)” (“Are Social Networking Sites Good for Our Society” 2017 1). Youth who are "less socially adept" have reported that social networks give them a place to make friends and typically quiet students can feel more comfortable being vocal through a social media platform used in class. Shy adults also say that social media is a more comfortable environment to interact with other individuals.
“Perception involves all the ways of becoming aware of things, people, happenings or ideas. Judgment involves all the ways of coming to conclusions about what has been perceived. If people differ systematically in what they perceive and in how they reach conclusions, then it is only reasonable for them to differ correspondingly in their interests, reactions, values, motivations, and skills” (Leader Editor 2015 1).
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Sad but true—how easy is it to keep in touch with your second cousins in the Midwest thanks to Facebook. Social media creates a place where you can contact people distant from your life in a non-threatening manner. In high school, I wanted a Facebook to essentially broadcast myself to others. Now, social media is so much more than that. The online environment of social media is a city that never sleeps and it is making it easier for introverts to communicate back and forth with extroverted friends.
Technology has transformed the way introverts interact with new and innovative communicable methods — first it began with the telephone, then on to the voicemail, then mobile phones and now consistently on social media. Who said you’ve got to leave the house to be social? Social media and social technology platforms have empowered the once hidden introvert to connect with others and allow themselves to communicate their thoughts without having to worry about face-to-face confrontation. It is currently the social norm to communicate with people on the internet because it’s an easier path to relay a message to a peer on Facebook than to become anxiety ridden over having to call them. Engaging online also enables an introvert to create a well-constructed response without the added pressure of having to think on the spot like they would if they were face-to-face with the person.
Empowerment of Businesses and the Economy
Social networking is beneficial for the economy. Social media sites have constructed a new idea of what industry is and given way to thousands of jobs in addition to providing new sources of income and sales. “A McKinsey Global Institute study projects that the communication and collaboration from social media could add $900 billion to $1.3 trillion to the
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economy through added productivity and improved customer service” (“Are Social Media Sites Good for Our Economy” 2017 2). Facebook stated making approximately $1.2 billion for third quarter 2012 revenue, up from $950 million for third quarter 2011 earnings. Twitter, which is a private company, earned an estimated $300 million in 2012 revenue. Being able to comprehend how consumers have been empowered provides great insight for new and upcoming enterprises looking to utilize social media marketing to construct and build durable relationships with their online pool of friends. Social media can tell us “what enterprises off the best prices, what products are the most environmental friendly, which offers the fastest shipping, and which offers the best customer service” (SMSS 2011 1). With social media consumers have the unique ability
to visit numerous platforms and listen to what the organization is saying, as well as what other consumers say about that organization.
The biggest demographic that social media helps businesses appeal to today is the “Millenials.” By 2030, the “Millenial” generation will have approximately 80 million people and appealing to them allows businesses to focus on a very potent consumer power. “When looking at recent statistics, we see that 90% of ‘Millenials’ are using smartphones, 93% are accessing the internet, and 53% own tablets” (Charrier 2016 1). “Millenials” are the representatives of the digital generation so they are pertinent to not only business but the economy as well. “Businesses have done a good job marketing to ‘Millenials,’ who are the most unique and discerning audiences on the internet” (Krasniak 2017 1).
With all this data and information, the average consumer is armed with a higher level of comprehension about your brand. With social review platforms such as Yelp, it has become
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easier to find the best places in town and read real reviews from real customers in real time. In addition, Facebook's Like button has been incorporated into Bing searches to help consumers find products and services their friends "Like". The ability to review products, services and organizations will undoubtedly grow. With these reviews popping up all daily organizations now have a strategy to view and support these reviews.
As previously stated, it is evident that social media has had an impact on all of society, especially our impressionable youth. While many will continue to see these popular networking sites as a means of negativity, there will be just as many individuals believing that they can be utilized to make positive changes that can benefit society. It has clearly helped many come from behind a veil that they literally would hide behind due to social anxiety and other related issues. By coming from behind the veil they are slowly entering the crowd at their own pace and soon find they are comfortable in a regular crowd. It has become the instrument for small businesses to make their way in the world and advertise on a global scale while also providing a plethora of information on corporations and companies that was never available before. It has even empowered women, who were once seen as minority business owners to come out into the world of corporate trade and make a name for themselves proving their worth to the community. Lastly, social media has become a pertinent agent for social change and awakenings for smaller causes that were once lost in the shuffle trying to raise money for a cause they believe in. When working with social media came up, they asked why I wanted to take part in something so surface-level. In today’s culture, social media is constantly hated on, but it’s changing the world around us for the better, opening up new avenues for people to explore and expand upon. It is
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one of the most authentic things when we use it correctly, and unquestionably the defining feature of our generation giving us new and innovative ways to present ourselves, educate ourselves, and converse with others on topics that are meaningful to the way we live.
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