How social networking has become such a big tool in modern society
The different ways social media is used
Over the past few years, since sites like Facebook and Twitter have become more and more popular and have attracted a lot of criticism as well as praise, social media sites have attracted a lot of attention from multinational businesses such as Mcdonalds, Coke and Pepsi as a cheap marketing tool, which is able to reach mass markets with the push of a button. This has been the source of some controversy because of social media sites giving businesses people's personal data for their own personal gain.
It has also helped people get in contact with friends who they previously may not have been able to contact. They are able to post pictures, videos and post status' about what they have done as well as play on games.
Over the past couple of years, Twitter has become one of the most popular social networking sites in the world, especially amongst celebrities. This has also become a way for ordinary people to find out what their favourite celebs are up to, as well as any products they may be releasing (i.e. DVDs or books).
Twitter has also been the centre of some controversies, for example Rio Ferdinand and Katie Price (aka Jordan) have recently been in trouble with the advertising watchdog about promoting products. There have also been some examples of celebrities being killed by Twitter, with some of the most recent ones being Adele and Demi Moore.
All in all, social media can be helpful for both businesses and consumers, but just be careful with what you do choose to put out there for other people to see.
Benefits of social media
This section is basically a follow-on of the first section, just in slightly more detail.
There is obviously a variety of different reasons as to why social media is popular, several of which are listed above.
In terms of their primary function, social media sites are a great way for people to contact people who they may never have been able to talk to each other otherwise. It is also a great way for families who live a great distance apart to communicate with each other easily and effectively.
Also if you have an event organised, whether it's for work or a social event, you can let your friends know that it's happening via Facebook by setting up an event page and be able to see how many people will be attending your event.
In terms of marketing, social media is easily one of the best ways of marketing your product because businesses have access to such a wide variety of customers, both current and potential, to show off their new products to.
They can also help typically small businesses gain extra customers that they wouldn't be able to gain otherwise. This can be beneficial for both the business and the customers, because the business could offer special deals to new customers and use it to grow their customer base.
Cons to social media sites
One major con that a lot of people have had complaints about social media sites, especially Facebook, is them having our personal information and possibly using it for other purposes. A lot of people feel that if a social media company's servers etc. get hacked, then they could lose some of their important personal information and worry about cyber criminals possibly using their information to perform criminal acts, such as identity theft or fraud.
Another con is that people may not be who they say they are on social networking sites and could pretend to be anyone they want, even though people have tried to set up accounts pretending to be fake celebrities in the past, they have been caught out.
One major story about people using social media sites for the wrong purposes is Spokane case, where a 30 year old man was seducing a 15 year old girl, until the girl's parents became suspicious and the guy finally got arrested.
There have also been cases where people have set up events on Facebook about one of their friends having a party and tens of thousands of people have turned up and the person's home has been wrecked and several expensive items were stolen, like laptops and an Xbox.
These sorts of activities can really put people off using social media but they are against the norm and don't happen very often.
Social media in the news
Over the past few years social media has been a part of prominent stories in the news, from the riots in England two years ago, to it costing US employers $28,000,000,000 in productivity-loss per year.
Over the past few weeks, Twitter has been in the news because of people trolling celebrities sending hurtful and hateful messages. Politicians have also been targeted recently and this has caused some upset.
Social Media as a Marketing Tool
As social media grows, businesses start to use it more to reach more customers than ever before, especially with Facebook and Twitter having over 1 billion active users a month.
Conclusion as to why social media is popular
As I have conducted my research I have found the main reasons that social media is so popular are:
1) It helps people connect with friends they may not necessarily be able to contact otherwise
2) It helps companies find out information about their current customer base and how they can improve their products to increase their customer base.
3) It helps people organise events and be able to invite a wider variety of people.
On the other hand, it can have negative consequences like possible paedophile behavior and other negative acts, even though these are the exceptions rather than the rule.
Overall, I think social media is a good thing to have for every day purposes.