We live in an age of communication where news, opinions and gossip can be shared with people around the world at the tap of a keyboard. One of the most popular tools for this is, of course, social media and it’s becoming more difficult to picture our lives without these handy little apps and websites.
It’s estimated by the beginning of 2018, 2.62 billion people will be a social media user – almost treble the 970,000 in 2010. Social analysts Brandwatch estimate that there are a million people setting up an active account per day – 12 per second.
Like all global trends, it’s easy to see that social media has irrevocably changed how we interact with each other. But what are the impacts of this culturally, and how can we analyse our current internet usage to predict future trends in the sharing of information?
One of the reasons that social media has become so popular over the past few years is the ease of accessibility. Mobile phone developers have poured endless research into apps and ensuring that phones are so much more than a call-and-text device. Nowadays, one can read the news, watch live gaming videos and chat with friends all via their favorite forum, without the need to boot up a computer or invest in expensive hardware. The ease with which users can access this technology is undoubtedly a huge part of its success.
Learning/ Current Affairs
With the availability of information that social media and forums provide there’s a myriad of learning opportunities for the average user. It’s estimated that two-thirds of adults get their news from social media and the ease of sharing bulletins and reports allows breaking news to travel fast. After all, for a quick update it’s easier to get out your phone/laptop than it is to purchase a newspaper.
But it’s not just news reports that can be shared. Many people benefit from the simplicity of sharing information in bite-size chunks and from the ability to communicate with people across the globe. Forums and comment pages allow someone to ask an expert to discuss a subject they’re particularly interested in and to ask questions – it’s an interactive experience, which improves the learning process.
It’s not all about studying, however. One of the most popular uses for social media forums is for entertainment, such as socialising, speaking to others and learning new skills and rules to online games, or finding new hobbies. Where once, having fun involved friends in your immediate area – perhaps in the pub or at the park – now, the internet is an important part of one’s social life and allows one to chat with people they would never previously have come across.
A positive in this – for the user at least – is that people can easily share information about their hobbies and topics of interest. This allows users to explore their passions further, perhaps by discovering music or movies that they might not previously have been aware of. Once you have an interest, you will need to learn the strategies for these new hobbies. For example, to participate in betting on roulette you will need to have a good understanding of the strategies to be able to be successful and to not lose a significant amount of money.
Personal brand networking
Once upon a time, it would be unheard of to find a job via someone you met over the internet. Nowadays, however, anyone with a social media profile is contactable and the idea of “person as brand” is a strong one.
Social media allows users to market themselves as a product – an expert in a field, perhaps, or as possessing a unique talent like singing. This leads to a greater audience and an increased number of career opportunities to exploit. While we think of sharing information as sharing interesting articles and topics, some savvy users are sharing information on themselves – and finding important networking opportunities while they’re about it.
As technology improves, how this will be reflected on social media is an interesting topic. The most obvious point is that it will enhance the software already on offer, allowing the user a faster and more interactive experience.
Many platforms offer video messaging services. The advances being made in virtual reality means that one day in the near future we will be able to participate in our hobbies from the comfort of our own homes. VR, for example, has been used with casino games, developing a more immersive and interactive environment. This allows you to feel like you’re in a high class establishment all whilst you’re sitting at home either betting yourself or watching a tournament.
It’s also interesting to note that social media businesses are quickly becoming more attuned to who can access their services and are working with new technology that increases audience share. BMI – Brain Machine Interface – is a new and exciting area of research that seeks to allow users to control an app using brainwaves. If this area takes off, consumers that previously found it difficult to interact with social media, such as the sick or elderly, may suddenly have a much more open window to the world.
While social media usage has increased to vast proportions over the past decade, the real interest lies in how it has changed our ability to communicate and how we share information amongst ourselves. As the future looms large and software developers continue to come up with new and innovative products, the changes in how we use social media will be an interesting movement to watch.
Sources & References:
- statista.com: Number of Social Media Users Worldwide from 2010 to 2021
- socialmediatoday.com: Growth Stats for Social Media
- betway.com: Various Roulette Games Available
- sciencedaily.com: Use of Brain-Computer Interface
Article by: Harry G.