Nearly a quarter of total time spent on the internet is spent on social networks. This telling statistic reflects the current state of our society, where social media has essentially taken over most of our lives. We use it to catch up on the latest fads, gossip and news (and for most Candy Crush addicts, games). But, just what is the importance of social media to the wider society?
- It is important for Businesses – small, medium and large
Social media is becoming a huge asset to businesses, as it is one of the leading marketing tools. Whether you are a small business or a large conglomerate, you have a brand and cannot ignore social media if you want to further your brand. A social media consumer is the best type of consumer. Why? Because they spend the most and are more influential on their friends than the average internet user. Attracting these types of users to your brand will benefit your business as it is likely that if you attract them, they will attract others as well. Social media is also perfect for business advertising and promotions.
- Perfect Communication Tool
When watching television, viewers receive many different types of information, but they are unable to give feedback. Social media is a two way communication mechanism that allows the receiver of the message to give feedback to the sender. The sender can then know if the message was delivered appropriately and interpreted correctly. Additionally, in times of disaster, social media has proven to be an excellent information dissemination arena, where persons can keep up to date on the latest crisis.
- It is the best way to connect over long distances
Due to the plethora of social media sites, we can now connect and reconnect with friends, relatives and even business associates from wherever we are in the world. Remember when everyone used to be rushing to buy a magic jack? Or worrying about the impact of international calls on their phone bills? Those days are no-existent, as features such as Facebook calling enable you to chat with your loved ones for free. Also, their status updates, tweets and instagram posts give you the opportunity to catch glimpse into their lives even though you cannot physically be there.
- It has become a valuable aid for crime solving
Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on the perspective) some criminals decide to post information about their misdeeds on social media, making it easier for the police to track them down. Also, posting images of missing persons on social media ensures a further reach than a television ad, as when persons share these images on their pages, their friends can also see and share as well, thus increasing the amount of persons that see the information, possibly increasing the chances of locating the missing person.
- It can be a form of political influence
Social media has truly given persons a voice, and this can be a powerful source for change. It has the potential to influence the outcomes of political decisions and it also plays an important role in many elections across the world. Social media has also been found useful in rallying people around a cause through the use of hashtags and can also inspire mass movements.
- It is great for job seekers
With social media sites, for example LinkedIn (the largest professional network in the world), you can create a profile that can basically be used as an online CV. Persons can look at your best qualifications, other members can endorse you for skills, and you become more marketable as a job seeker. LinkedIn also offers you the opportunity to network and connect with persons in your field or related fields.
- It creates endless opportunities
Essentially, social media can open individuals to a myriad of possibilities. These include social (meeting new people and maybe finding “the one”), professional (kick-starting that career, or business, landing a job), and even personal (many inspirational stories and quotes can aid in personal development). Thus, there is no limit as to what asocial media can or contribute to a person’s life.
Much is written about the negative impact of social media. However, while the negative effects should not be ignored this should not take away from the fact that social media has become an important resource in society.
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