The Social Media Revolution
We all know that computers are involved in virtually every aspect of our daily lives, but what exactly is “social media”? To get a vague idea, Wikipedia defines social media as “an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos, and audio” . This form of computer usage is taking the world by storm, and it’s here to stay.
Many people continue to deny it – I had a customer come in my workplace and tell me, “Everything in this store runs on computers and the internet. I have a computer but I'll never use Facebook.” I wanted to tell him that he could continue to live in his tiny little bubble, but one day it would burst, and he’d have to face the reality: computers and the internet are just one aspect – social media is what’s changing the world. It is being described as “the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution”.
We can look at our economy for a clear example. I came across an ad on Facebook that said, “MasterCard Canada Interns Wanted”; if you clicked the ad, it sent you to MasterCard's Facebook fan page, and informed you to “like” the page in order to see the job posting. This form of connection between employers and employees is very common –according to JobVite Social Recruitment Survey, 80% of companies use social networks in their assessment of potential employees. I researched MasterCard's intern position further, and found that it required a “creative” aspect expressing yourself, and explaining why you would make a great intern. Examples of creative submissions include blog posts, a Facebook page, video, photo, or a Tweet. It’s hard to believe that one Tweet is all it takes to show your creativity! All of these are forms of social media, and clearly, being familiar with them is an essential requirement in order to acquire a job with a large firm.
The job market is just one example of how social media is integrated in our society. Social media’s reach is global; with a few clicks, you can reach the entire world. Large companies spend more time and money on social media than you would think. According to the Social Media Marketing Industry Report by the Social Media Examiner, “The majority of marketers (58%) are using social media for 6 hours or more each week, and more than a third (34%) invest 11 or more hours weekly.” The more time that is spent, the more money it costs them. The major advantages to social media marketing by companies are that social media generates more business exposure, increases traffic, and improves search rankings. Advertising on Facebook alone can allow you to reach your exact target audience – Facebook gives you the option to choose your audience by location, age and interests; all of which are posted on people’s Facebook pages. Companies who use a wide variety of social media have the advantage of being able to understand their market better by communicating with consumers directly through tweets and comments. Using this kind of feedback is what improves a business, allowing them to integrate consumer suggestions and essentially, generate more revenue.
These are just a few examples of social media’s integration in today’s society; social media is taking over the world, and it will continue to dominate and benefit consumers and businesses alike. Someone should let that customer know he’s in for a big surprise!