Social media, in the relatively short time that it has been a part of our society, has had a number of incredible impacts on our world. It has transformed the way people shop; how businesses advertise their products, services and brands; it has facilitated massive social transformations; it has given protestors a voice; created celebrities and has been able to connect people in as many unforeseen ways as the imagination can dream up. And as it has done so, it has grown alongside our societies and cultures into an even more functional and dynamic element of our lives. With this in mind, if ever there was a time to consider building a career off of the back of a professional diploma in social media marketing; it is now! But don’t take my word for it. Here are some of the biggest ways in which social media has changed our world.
Publicising Voter Opinions
Since the dawn of democracy, voting has been considered a fairly private activity. People kept their opinions and preferences to themselves. Here in South Africa, we are used to the right to keep one’s political allegiances a secret, as are many other parts of the Western world. Social media, however, with its power to amplify the voice of its users, brought about a change in the democratic mind-set, whereby our private thoughts and opinions have become a social-badge of honour. For a large portion of voters, the need to keep one’s allegiances private has given way to a need to show support for their chosen party by posting their opinions all over the web. This has also enabled massive interest communities to get into contact with each other to share their ideas and to feel a part of a greater whole; and in cases (such as the inception of the Pirate party in Sweden) has even given rise to new political entities.
The Arab Spring
The recent spate of revolts throughout the middle east that started in Egypt had a very simple catalyst; social media. In fact, social media was so deeply at the heart of the movement that newsworthy sources often got their information from platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The revolution started when footage of a fruit-vender being abused was released and shared on social media. Then, these same platforms were used to organise many of the protests staged during the Arab spring which saw many despots removed from seats of power in a short and violent time.
Fake News, Gatekeeping and Reliable Information
Fake news has been cropping up more frequently in our society, and this can almost squarely be blamed on social media. That is not to say that social media intentionally tries to undermine journalistic integrity, but a watering-down of it is a result of its bid to give the average user a voice. Social media has become somewhat of a hive-mind that allows everyone to share their opinions, regardless of the reliability of what is being expressed. Before social media, these information control privileges rested in the hands of a few media giants; and so it could be taken for granted that we received news from credible sources. However, now that all of us are, in some way, information gatekeepers, there are more cracks for misinformation to filter through.
Buying, Selling and Advertising
Commerce has been transformed magnificently thanks to social media, and it has done so in a way that empowers businesses to get their products and services in front of those who are actively looking for them; and in the same token, has provided a value-added purchasing service for consumers to shop with convenience. Digital marketers, too, have found an excellent companion in a variety of social media platforms, since they are dynamic, optimisable, cost effective and bring great results.
Contact the RCM School of Excellence for Details
To find out more about how you can leverage social media as part of your digital marketing career, contact a representative from the RCM School of Excellence Digital College today, or visit our website for more details.