Is Social Media Still “Social?”

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When college students began talking about a new way of keeping in touch more than 10 years ago, there was a lot of “buzz” about this Facebook idea. These discussions focused on basic usage, such as letting a friend know when you’re out of class and at the student center, or to inform your riders about departure time for a weekend at home.

Oh, how this has changed! Not only has Facebook been joined by several other “social media” platforms, the big one itself has gone through massive growth and changes. View Facebook today and you are more likely to see political commentary and video of politicians than to see information you can use to get you home so mom can do your laundry.

A Booming Industry

At about the same time as social networks were breaking through the soil and becoming viable plants, so to speak, it was also common for industry observers to recommend you pay close attention to this sector called “apps.” That prediction has proven to be extremely accurate. You can now handle almost any activity on your smartphone or tablet simply by downloading an app from the “store.” One of the key elements in this growth has been the establishment of a “big 5.”

Of course, it’s no big news to state that Facebook is the big dog among this group of five. With almost 2 billion users, it commands a massive share of the social media market (more than double of any competitor). In fact, it’s nearest competitors are not in competition, in the truest sense of the word, because the next two in numbers are WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Three other platforms/networks with names recognizable to almost every device user – Twitter, Instagram, and Skype, are actually far down the list, when measured by active user. Pinterest and LinkedIn are in the same general territory. 

How is it Used?

This question could be rephrased to ask if social media use has brought people closer together. Do people use this method to bond with friends and sincerely engage in the life of a friend or family member? According to LinkHumans.com, benefits are viewed differently in countries considered “developing” compared to how benefits are viewed in Europe, the U.S., and Canada, for example.

The majority of users in developing countries believed social media improves bonding. In the “developed” countries mentioned, only one-third of users feel the same way. This is a significant difference, not only in numbers, but in the way people view social bonding as an activity. One individual who would now be considered an “average” user of social media tells the story of an aunt in her 80s who asked if the younger generation still sat on the front porch and visited, “like we used to do.”

The answer, naturally, was “No.”

It could be said that social media has simultaneously brought people closer together and kept them apart. We probably know as much about friends and family members now as we did in years past. The true difference is in the type of knowledge we have of them.

 

Comments 2

Jacinta Pivot Cloud Solutions on Tuesday, 19 December 2017 16:38

Thought provoking article!

Thought provoking article!
Wakas Javed on Thursday, 21 December 2017 09:48

Thank you

Thank you
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