Since its establishment, social media has evolved and adapted to the way we interact and engage with our Instagram followers daily. Social media has allowed connectivity to expand on both personal and professional levels. It has played a significant part in converging different media outlets and has provided wide accessibility for users. Social media has also become a tool widely used across all spheres of modern society. However, for the purposes of this essay, I will highlight the impact of social media on the educational and workplace environment. Finally, social media has inspired a new dimension of opportunity, as it has allowed users and consumers to become producers and multitaskers of media, creating new pathways for people to construct their own ideas and develop their creativity in a new media age.
Social media has enabled opportunities for people to connect them with others on a local, national and global scale, for both personal and professional purposes. Prior to the days of instant messaging and online networking, people relied heavily on one-to-one communication via phone call, letter and email. However, the introduction of social media has enhanced the system of communication and allowed people to connect efficiently and effectively on a range of platforms. What used to take days to deliver a message, can now be done in a matter of minutes, or even seconds.
Today the speed in which people can connect is incredibly useful as it limits the risk of interference to our daily schedules. Furthermore, social media becomes the conduit for communities of people to find commonality with others; to share goals, aspirations and experiences with other like-minded people. Social media has now become a tool that mitigates an individual’s sense of solitude by providing a space of belonging.
Social media has allowed not only for people to connect with other people, but with businesses, organizations and other groups as well. A simple search can deliver extensive results for social media users to select from and filter what is relevant to them. Facebook groups and pages are an example of this as they enable users to access and control who they choose to connect with and to what extent. Social media in this regard can be seen as an integral aspect to our lives as it broadens the scope of opportunity for connections.
Social media is a part of the new media revolution that has seen mass media evolve and move beyond traditional means of communication. Traditional mass media, such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television, have been ‘converged’ in this ‘new media’ age to reach audiences at any time and place. Convergence allows the audience easy access to an array of communication. Mass media has developed in such a way as to provide its audience with more options. Social media fits under this umbrella as it has brought together different media outlets and made them easily accessible for users from just one application.
Pages and links owned and operated by major mass media corporations and organizations utilize social media as a way of delivering important information to people. For example, news media platforms are now accessible on social media platforms and have thus been able to generate a wider following because of this media convergence. Furthermore, social media platforms identify what information is relevant to each individual user and filter messages and posts accordingly. This shows that social media has become an integral part of our lives as we, as users, rely heavily on these updates and this information from a single application every day.
Social media is also used in both educational and workplace settings. Students and staff utilize forums of social media to interact with each other, facilitate discussions and share content outside of the typical classroom. This helps with maintaining contact and delivering regular updates so to ensure mutual understanding of the work being done. Students today are being brought up in a new technological era that requires them to use devices as learning resource and media as a tool. Social media allows for students to engage in peer discussions and become innovative in their thought processes and actions. It also encourages them to discover new perspectives on topical issues and use these to form their own opinions. This is important as it allows students of all ages to move with the evolution of technology and media and become more aware of the ever-changing world around us.
Social media is also used in the workplace as a way of promotion and advertisement. Social media platforms are a useful marketing channel for all types of small to medium businesses, multinationals, community groups, not-for-profit organizations and even Churches. Social media is now a part of every company’s communications strategy. This can be seen in the recent success of the 2016 republican presidential campaign, which credits the reach of Donald Trump’s messages via Twitter that propelled his popularity.
In contrast, no matter how small a business is, it extends its global reach because of the immediacy and efficiency social media provides. Businesses and organizations are able to disseminate information on a wide range of platforms at the same time and are able to enhance the business promotion and drive marketing and advertising campaigns. Hashtags have become a common lexicon in society and is used by groups as a strong marketing tool as people tend to follow popular hashtags to filter and identify relevant content. Maintaining awareness of these aspects of social media is vital for any workplace environment.
Users and Consumers Becoming Producers and Multitaskers
Finally, social media has given people the opportunity to be not only users and consumers of content but also producers and multitaskers of it too. Technological advancements have enabled users to be more actively involved in the media environment. For example, one can start up their own page or group, create their own blog/ vlog, start an online campaign, scout for customers, and in doing so, use social media as a way of sharing their ideas. Given this expansion of social media, the sector of employment opportunities within the media realm has also been amplified.
Individuals are now able to make a living through the analysis, production, and maintenance of social media. Additionally, users are provided with an online voice to discuss their opinions, advocate for issues and produce their own content. It offers a unique freedom of expression that was not possible with traditional media and has created new possibilities for users. Consequently, new perspectives are expressed, and in turn, shape the way others interpret information, form opinions and draw conclusions about what is happening.
In conclusion, social media is an integral part of our lives; as it is enmeshed in all forms of how we engage and communicate as a society. In an era where we rely on instantaneous connectivity, we see the value in the varied forms of social media. Its ability to converge mass media into a single platform that is easily accessible, allows users to filter and understand information with simplicity. Within an educational context, social media has become a staple in the way classroom learning is facilitated. Within the workplace, a company’s use of social media is critical in maintaining its competitive advantage.
Lastly, social media has expressed its importance by inspiring a new age of production as users are able to pursue the pathway of becoming producers and multitaskers within the different forms of social media. For these reasons and more, social media has become more than just important. It is now an embedded part of the world we live, see and interact with.