Social Media in Society

Social media has turned into one of the largest technological advancements in recent history. But what exactly does this mean for all of us?

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Social media has turned into one of the largest technological advancements in recent history. From Facebook to Snapchat and everything in between, a number of social media apps have cemented themselves in society and they continue to change on a regular basis. But what exactly does this mean for all of us?

According to the Pew Research Center, in 2005 just 5% of all American adults used at least one social media platform; however, that number doubled in 2011 and is now up to 69% today.  A Forbes article about social media marketing also stated that there were over 40 million active small business pages on Facebook nearing the end of 2016. Social media is huge in the business world, as it is used largely to monitor consumers and create an online presence. When executed efficiently, there are a number of benefits that come from nearly all social media platforms for businesses in all fields.

On a more personal scale, social media is also a great way to connect with others. This may sound obvious, but I feel that this is often overlooked when talking about social media. Anybody with a smart phone, which is basically everybody, is capable of connecting with someone on the other side of the world with the click of a button. The world is more intertwined now than it’s ever been, and although it may still be a weird concept to think about, it really sheds a new light on technology and where we stand as a society.

However, while social media has it’s many upsides, it has many downsides as well. As mentioned previously, the world is more intertwined now than it’s ever been, but we are also more divided. As individuals, we have an innate desire to associate with people whose views and values align with our own. Especially on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, we share and retweet content that aligns with our opinions and vales and that’s the root of a lot of controversy online (politics, for one example). What we share on social media largely reflects who we are and what we stand for, which I think has resulted in a wedge being driven between members of society.

Another consequence of the emergence of social media is its potential psychological effects. With Instagram being one of the most popular social media platforms, it carries larger weight in relation to the mental health of its users. A number of celebrities and models utilize Instagram more than any other platform, and this is where the problem lies. When a celebrity posts pictures of themselves or their lifestyle, society often takes that as a standard that we must meet, although it is unrealistic for many people. On the other hand, cyberbullying has increased in recent years as social media has skyrocketed. According to Enough is Enough, a nonprofit geared towards cyberbullying, 71% of young adults are concerned about cyberbullying and 54% of teens in 2014 witnessed online bullying. Social media has no doubt played a role in the mental health of its users and should continue to do so as long as its popularity rise.

From a business standpoint, social media has numerous advantages and will be implemented more and more in the future by small businesses. Nonetheless, social media has also impacted the way we live our lives and not always for the better. Technology as a whole is an ever-changing phenomenon, and it’s important for us to keep up with it as it continues to evolve. However, we must be smart with how we use technology and social media to be sure to experience all of its benefits, professionally and personally.

Technology in Advertising and Public Relations

Society is extremely technology-driven and there are new technologies emerging on a daily basis – here’s a look at which technologies impact advertising and public relations.

As of recent years, our society is extremely technology-driven and there are new technologies emerging on a daily basis. Though scary to some, these innovations have played a significant role in the advertising and public relations sector and will continue to do so in the future. There are a number of ways that technology has impacted advertising and public relations, but the three most recent advances to look at are artificial intelligence (AI), social media and live video.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is arguably the most revolutionary development in the world today, many of whom call it a threat to human intelligence – but what does it mean for public relations? Yes, machines are already capable of performing both low-skilled, basic human tasks (shoutout Amazon Echo) as well as more complex tasks such as writing full news releases (shoutout Associated Press). AI can be used in the PR industry largely with media analytics to gather and review consumer data, form strategies and create digital content. Not only would it lessen the workload for professionals, but also allow business to perform at their maximum potential in the future.

Social media has come a long way in the last decade; such a long way , in fact, that it’s now used predominantly as a professional tool rather than for personal entertainment. In 2016, there were 2.34 billion social media users worldwide and 195 million in the U.S. alone (via Statista) and we can expect those numbers to continue to increase. If you ask me, establishing a digital presence is essential for PR professionals and programs to be successful and, as we cruise through the new year, social media platforms will dominate more than ever in the PR industry.

Last but certainly not least, live video and video streaming took the internet by storm in last year. According to a report from Cisco, mobile video traffic accounted for 60 percent of total mobile data traffic in 2016 and predicts that over 78 percent of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2021 (Cisco, 2017). There are a number of live video streaming apps (Periscope, Facebook Live, etc.) that are used by businesses and many of these have been incorporated into traditional social media platforms as well. In public relations, video streaming helps increase brand awareness and allows you to engage in real-time with your audience – two goals that every PR professional wants to achieve.

It seemed as though 2016 was a breakout year technologically and we can expect the same to come from 2017.The advertising and public relations fields are constantly adapting to these advances in modern technology and it is crucial for professionals to do the same.