Social Media: History, Significance and Impacts | How can we make the most out of Social Media?

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Out of all the things that have gained a huge momentum in the 21st Century, Social Media is the biggest hit. Most of us, especially young individuals are hooked with one or other forms of Social Media throughout the day. We don’t use them just to be updated with our friends and family anymore. They have become a source of information, entertainment and of course, communication. It is safer to say that most of our shopping inspiration is also drawn through Social Media. These days, we buy things because we have either seen advertisements pop on our profile or somebody else has unraveled their benefits. We can easily acknowledge the fact that Social Media has had great impacts upon our lives.

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History of Social Media

If we look back onto the late 1990’s, Social Media actually made its way since the blogging culture started. Social sites like Linkedin and MySpace and photo-sharing sites like Flickr and Photobucket were the early facilitators. However, the major Social Media Sites of today – Facebook and Twitter gained popularity after 2006. Other Social Media sites like Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest were founded after 2010. Likewise, the major Social Media of today, Tiktok made its way into the world after 2016. These sites are popular today because they fit the needs of today’s audience perfectly. But, evolution is a continuous process and there is no doubt that tomorrow’s Social Media Culture will be different than today’s. Nevertheless, we cannot help thanking the technological revolution for letting us make the most out of Social Media. 

When Facebook and Instagram spiked in their earlier days, they were intensively used as communication platforms. Twitter was used by slightly sophisticated personalities. However, Facebook was rather a means to get updates about relatives, close friends and family. It helped people connect with their long lost friends or classmates or colleagues which was the reason for its growing popularity then. But, the development of internet infrastructure as well as increased accessibility of smartphones revolutionized social media by miles.

The Significance of Social Media in Today’s World

Today, social media is not just about communicating but developing relationships with people. It is the source of learning and not to forget, earning too. Recently, I had an encounter with a fellow Digital Marketer who mentioned that 80% of his clients came through social platforms.

It is much easier to connect with customers and build meaningful relationships with them. Let’s not forget how Social Media has reformed the world of marketing. We can exploit these platforms to our advantage. Experimenting with marketing campaigns is also easier these days. Be it Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or Pinterest, we can target our actual customers. And on top of that, we can measure its ROI without a big fuss. A company who has a different set of audience can run ads targeting them on different platforms simultaneously.

Lastly, social media has also changed the spectrum of collaboration. Be it for work or for personal reasons, we can connect with people from other parts of the world. A person like me from South Asia can work for an Australian Digital Marketing company. Thanks to Linkedin, I must say. I am certainly sure that it is not just me, but the positive impacts of social media is felt by a lot of other individuals too.

Impacts of Social Media

Like everything else, Social Media also has its own pros and cons. Many people agree that things turn out to be the way we try to shape them. I believe, the case is quite similar for Social Media too. We may not be able to cut them off totally but we can realize their effects and try to use them in our advantage. Let’s learn some positive and negative impacts of Social Media in our daily lives:

Positive Impacts

– Helps connect and communicate with friends and family
– Allows users to explore and showcase their talent in different 
– Major source of information and entertainment
– Benefits businesses by easing marketing and advertising
– Keeps individuals busy and involved 

Negative Impacts

– Root cause of mental health issues
– Escalates Cyber-bullying and Cyber Crimes 
– Over-sharing of information might land individuals in serious trouble
– Increases the trend of social comparison among users
– Invokes social anxiety among individuals as they feel more comfortable interacting online 

If we look from a broader perspective, the positive impacts of Social Media always win over the negative ones. However, we should not undermine the adverse effects.

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How can we make the most out of Social Media?

There is one thing we must understand and that is, no matter how adverse social media is, we can still exploit it in our advantage. The ability to make the most out of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest etc. is in our hands. Many people, including me tend to quit Social Media temporarily and come back after a short span of time because they go through FOMO. Over the years, I myself have realized that I may not completely be able to quit it forever. That’s why, I have been trying to limit myself while interacting and communicating in these platforms. Likewise, I have also tried to reduce my usage time. Over the time, I have also realized that we can actually try to use social media to our advantage. Here, I am sharing few of my learnings:

1. Choose your connections carefully

You may say, “I do choose my connections carefully. I only connect with people I know in real life.” That is totally valid and understandable. But what I have realized in the past few years is that, we need to be as selective as we can when it comes to maintaining connections in Social Media. I would rather say, it is similar to choosing close friends in real life. I have started cutting people out of my accounts whenever I feel like they are giving away negative energy. If the content they share seems irrelevant and unsuitable to my taste, I either unfriend/unfollow them or keep their profile on mute. I go for the latter option when I have a strong commitment with that person in real life.

2. Interact with relevant content and creators

I would say, this is the biggest lesson I learnt through trial and error. When I was interested in learning some aspects of Digital Marketing, I followed hashtags related to it. Similarly, I followed relevant pages and creators too. Then, I started interacting with their content. I liked and shared a few of them. Whereas, I commented on the others that I liked. The algorithm did its magic and from the very next day I was mostly exposed to content related to marketing. As experts say, it might be difficult for us to actually choose the type of content we see on Social Media Platforms. It is mostly because, these platforms do all types of tricks to keep us hooked. However, we can always choose who we want to interact with. It is actually in our hands to retrieve as many informative values as we want.

3. Always follow the rule of give and take

This might not be applicable for all the platforms. However, I have seen a lot of people making the most out of Social Media channels by sharing their insights, knowledge and values on the topics they are comfortable with. Similarly, they also consume values on other topics from other creators in the same manner. After all, it is always about giving something and taking something. By doing this, I believe we can maintain a healthy circle and make the best out of these channels.

4. Maintain your presence wherever you feel the best

We generally choose to maintain a business’s presence in those platforms where its targeted audiences spend their time the most. In the same way, we can also choose to be on those Social Media platforms which we tend to enjoy the most. We actually, do not have to be present everywhere. For example, if I am interested in home decor and fashion related stuff, I would definitely be active on Pinterest. It is because, that’s where I can retrieve the most valuable information. Likewise, for someone else, the platform would be Instagram. Therefore, choose any two social media you enjoy the most and then be active on those platforms the most. If you feel like you need to be everywhere, manage your time accordingly. And, do not forget to stick to the tips above!

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About Author

Hey, I am Amrita. When I am not writing, you will find me sipping tea and binge watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Currently learning the art of stoicism!

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