What is the Impact of Social Media?


Social media is becoming an infinite list of websites, apps and icons that are quickly becoming harder and harder to define. Ordinary people and academics alike are trying to determine ways in which the convergence of social media and the platforms on which they reside are developing and affecting the world around us.

Social media has quite clearly had a huge effect on the way advertising works. With such a fast and accessible way to reach the masses, marketing teams are working around the clock to find out where their public is clicking their cursors. Twitter and Facebook have provided marketing teams with a very personal approach to selling a product. By using hashtags on the many forms of social networking, businesses can see exactly what customers are saying and what seems to be the popular opinion on a product or advertising campaign.  Facebook pages not only inform a company of how many people ‘like’ them, but it also tracks how many people are talking about that particular page, which is market research ‘gold’.

Not only has social media had a positive impact of business marketing but it has also helped celebrities find a way to directly connect and engage with their fans.  Social networks such as Twitter are allowing celebrities to communicate with their fans; making the fans feel closer to the celebrities they admire. Replying to tweets, re-tweeting and even following fans makes them feel appreciated and, in turn, is more likely to help sales of a new album or film.


Social media is even helping to develop the way we watch TV. Just as businesses are using social networks to track just who is discussing their product or brand, TV channels and programmes are doing just the same. By monitoring what programmes are being talked about, marketing teams can figure out which shows need to pick up on ratings and which are already successful. According to Sky’s own research on how social media is changing the way we watch, 24% of people use social media for TV recommendations and it doesn’t stop there. Around 75% of people watching TV are simultaneously using their smartphone or tablet device, which most likely means they are also social networking, which in turn could influence what they watch.

However, social media has done much more which goes beyond advertising and television; social media has changed the way we connect and has become a part of our personal history. Every Facebook account provides a collection of photos, conversations and much more that can tell you a lot about a single person’s life from the point they started that profile. We no longer physically collect memories in old shoeboxes, but simply wait for the next album upload from last night’s giddy antics. A programme aired on MTV called ‘Catfish showed how people are borrowing someone else’s identity for whatever purpose and exposing another person’s most personal feelings.

As each social network adds itself to the long list, we are losing that essence of intimacy within friendships. A younger generation is growing up only knowing how to text, Tweet, whatsapp and so on; gone are the days when you had your best friend’s home phone number memorised off by heart.

Social media has misguided a generation and will continue to do so. If Facebook were to suddenly crash, would you lose every photographic memory?  The answer is most likely yes, so maybe just take an afternoon to print or even order a collection of your favourite pictures. Take some time to ring that friend you only ever catch up with by text or e-mail. On average we are spending 13 hours a week on the Internet in its many forms, so maybe take some of that time to go outside and enjoy the real world that’s out there; maybe take a picture that you could later Instagram. Ironic isn’t it? At the end of the day, social media will continue to grow and our lives will adapt around its growth. ‘Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them’; it just so happens that that kind of greatness exists in the power we have gained as social media consumers.


By Content Manager - Astrid Hall - @AstridGiraffeSM

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