Social media! A boon or bane has been a topic for discussion and debate in schools, universities, amoung friends and families and, through all transmission channels including, social media platforms. Most term it a “nuisance”, considering how much everyone including those who term it a problem as well are hooked to it these days. It’s quite humorous. Each generation has made it a part of their life. Youngsters and oldies alike. Yet, it has been the bone of contention ever since smartphones made their entry into the reel world.
However, have you ever thought of making friends with it? Ever thought of the advantages of social media? What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear about social media? Perhaps…making friends. Anything else that you associate with social media?
These days there are digital content creators. I am sure you will find this term familiar if you are an Instagram, Facebook, TikTok user. Ever since Instagram gave an option to start twin accounts (a professional account with a personal account), many are using the platform effectively to promote their business and holding workshops too for beginners. Entrepreneurs, and food bloggers are growing steadily now thanks to their popular reels that promote their business. Slowly a lot of work-from-home mothers are creating a business base through Facebook and Instagram. After Tiktok, Instagram is the next biggest phenomenon now – dancers, sportsmen, fitness enthusiasts, bakers, chefs, food and travel bloggers, photographers, and even academics all use these platforms too present their work.
Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Whatsapp, Bumble, and many social media platforms have become a means for people to express themselves, network, and get more followers as well. A lot of businesses are thriving on social media platforms. There are even workshops that I spotted on the world wide web which say they will help guide and train people to create perfect professional profiles on social media. Digital marketing courses are being offered to teach entrepreneurs and business heads how to promote themselves effectively on social media.
Content has become king all of a sudden. It has gained importance and social media has become a hub for content creators. So uniquely, there are people who do not have a communication background but show interest to learn how social media operates in enhancing business structures.
Let me just say this out loud. Those who are in a predicament about joining social media or are shying away from it guessing it will distract or preoccupy them from their work or important things, it’s time to change that assumption. It has been one of the myths perpetuated about social media. True, social media do get people disconnected from the physical world. The initial aim of social media like Orkut and other chat applications like Yahoo and MSN was to create room for connection, connect with fellow classmates, friend finding and to connect with long lost mates. Since then change was massive and the evolution of social media and the purpose of it has been astonishing, bitter sweet and it’s still evolving.
After Facebook’s official entry in 2005 on the world wide web (after he purchased domain rights), Mark Zuckerberg revolutionized and changed the definitions of socializing. To begin with, it was uniting school and college mates across the globe. Then he added more features to Facebook where people could connect professionally as well. Artists, celebrities and other industry people could access and give access to the the public easily since all profiles were public in the beginning. Eventually, privacy settings were enhanced to stop spammers and cyber criminals. All in all, it ended up benefiting a lot of businesses.
As much as people thought Facebook and other social media platforms were just keeping people hooked to the virtual world, it has been proven that people did step off their screens and meet people with whom they have been interacting virtually. A lot of offline webinars, conferences, summits, and meetings have united people across borders – those who wouldn’t have met if social media did not exist.
While the pre-social media era had people traveling across the country and globe as well to meet and network, social media platforms gave wider access to people seeking active networking.
As they say, “Great minds think alike”, there are many like minds who have founded virtual organizations with teams sitting across the globe. And mind you, it isn’t entirely virtual as you would imagine – multiple screens where people look at each other through them. These teams have regular quarterly to annual meets physically in commonly decided destinations.
SOME COMMON MYTHS ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA
1. Addictive. (All is good when used in moderation.) 2. Only for dating. (You can also sell and buy products, start business, promote business and more) 3. Increase in cyber crimes in the virtual world; privacy easily compromised on social media. (Be aware of your rights and learn about social media privacy settings in all platform you use.) 4. You have to create multiple posts a day to keep your profile active. (It all depends on your product or your need.) 5. “Followers” are often bought. (Fake accounts and bots are always found in the end and booted out of all platforms. If you know an account is fake or is a bot, you can always make a complaint.) 6. Data rigged on social media for campaigns. (Early on it was an issue and now all social media platforms are working hard to curb this issue.) 7. You need to click a “like” on every post on social media. (No, you can just scroll past any post without liking or sharing. It would be nice though if you do like, share and subscribe to pages and people you like. Only if you have real interest. Choice is yours.) 8. You have to accept friend requests from one and all. (It's a NO.)
HOW IS SOCIAL MEDIA YOUR #FRIENDSFOREVER
1. If used in moderation and timed, it is not addictive. 2. It can be used for things other than finding a friend; an effective communication tool. 3. An active cyber crime station in every city now has increased awareness about perpetrators and scammers in the virtual world. Besides, the privacy settings on all social media platforms have been enhanced now. One can even report anonymously. 4. For effective communication, posts can be minimized and timed well – there is a time when the virtual audience is most active in the day/night. So, you can choose that time to post content. You need not be online all day! 5. Followers cannot be “bought” like voters. If someone doesn’t like you, they have an option of “unfollowing” you as well. 6. Similarly, data and figures can be screened through special applications and computer programs. Hence, you cannot show false data for social media campaigns. 7. You have a choice to restrict your friend list. You need not add “friends of friends of friends of friends of friends” – whom you haven’t even seen or met! Regular detox will keep scammers at bay too! 8. Social media is one place where you will not be judged and you can vent as you, please (your profile, your space!). So, whenever you feel low, you can write/journal there for your friends to see. Many “suicides” have been prevented after a friend has spotted depressing notes or posts of their friend on social media profiles. Peers can instantly call and cheer them up! 9. Great campaigns have been born on social media. Many changes in governments and social fabric have been seen thanks to awareness spread through social media posts. 10. A banter in your chat room is enough to destress you at the end of the day. Of course, you can time your sessions on chat groups too.
So, social media isn’t as much of a villain as it has been portrayed to be. It is a haven for even non-social beings. It is not that you have to compulsorily socialize if you are on social media but you can use it as an effective tool to communicate and speak your mind out. Anything in excess as they say is bad but if used effectively, “it can indeed change your life” (referring to old ads that ran on television).
Signing off as usual with a quote by a famous social media marketing director Mike DiLorenzo: “Social media networks aren’t about websites. They’re about experiences”. #socialmedia #friendsforever #world
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