All You Need To Know About Social Media
It's about time you learn the story of the parallel online world - and we are here to give you a Social Media walk-through; keep reading.
Consider a morning from around two decades ago. You'd get up, wash up and start reading the newspaper while sipping your morning coffee. Cut to today - young or old, man or woman, student or professional; everyone wipes sleep from their eyes while holding their phones in the other hand! Yes, one must first check the news on Twitter, remember about friends' birthdays, anniversaries and weddings on Facebook, upload a morning selfie on Instagram and of course, listen to music on Spotify. Everyone has effectively constructed their virtual identities, all thanks to their profiles on numerous Social Media platforms, smartphones and high-speed Internet.
Yes, it’s obvious that Social Media has successfully infiltrated every corner of our life but have we ever stopped to ask what exactly is Social Media? How does it work? Where has it come from? In this article, we will answer all that and more. Let’s start with what it is.
What Is Social Media?
Social Media is an internet-based website or application meant to streamline online communication. Moreover, platforms which enable users to quickly create and share content publicly are essentially termed as Social Media platforms. Social Media encompasses a wide range of websites and apps. Some, like Twitter, specialize in sharing links and short written messages. Others, such as Instagram and TikTok, are built to optimize the sharing of photos and videos.
It is not rocket science to use a Social Media platform; anyone with internet access can create a Social Media account and publish any content they like. Oh, my goodness! The strength of freedom of expression! However, it didn’t start off this way, let’s talk about the evolution of Social Media over the years.
The Rise Of Social Media Platforms
After watching The Social Network, it’s easy to assume that Mark Zuckerberg invented Social Media. He revolutionized it but he was not the only one doing it. Social Media has transformed in less than a generation from direct electronic information exchange to a virtual meeting place, shopping platform and critical 21st-century marketing tool. How did it begin, though?
On May 24, 1844, a stream of electrical dots and dashes punched out by hand on a telegraph machine marked the start of Social Media. "What hath God wrought?" Samuel Morse wrote in the first electronic transmission from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., demonstrating that he realized the historical implications of his scientific feat.
While digital communication has long roots, the most recent explanations of the modern beginnings of the internet and Social Media trace to the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network — the ARPANET — that debuted in 1969.
The rise of the internet in the 1980s and 1990s paved the way for online communication services like CompuServe, America Online and Prodigy. Email, bulletin board messages and real-time online chatting exposed individuals to digital communication. Like a domino effect, this gave birth to the first Social Media networks, starting with the not so viral Six Degrees profile uploading service in 1997. In 2001, Friendster was launched as a competitor for this site. With the advent of the LiveJournal publishing site in 1999, another early form of digital social communication, weblogs or blogs, gained prominence.
Social Media saw a rage when Orkut was launched by Google in 2004 (after much deliberate failed effort to buy Friendster). With the introduction of LinkedIn in 2003, Social Media also paved its way and became part of the race as a networking service for career-minded professionals. Myspace joined the party in 2003 and by 2008, Facebook had already surpassed Myspace.
Today's Social Media environment is occupied by a slew of sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, TikTok and Snapchat, all vying for the attention of the world's more than 5 billion Social Media users.
How Do Social Media Platforms Work?
To be fair, there are various types of Social Media platforms and each function in a different manner. On the other hand, most social networking platforms begin with a user creating a profile, which generally consists of a name and an email address. Users may produce and share content after creating a profile. An Instagram user with a new account, for example, can take a photo of his meal and post it to their profile with a caption and begin his #GramLife. Most Social Media platforms also offer a feature called 'feeds' which allows users to skim through content on that Social Media platform. The information that appears and the order in which it appears is determined by Social Media companies using algorithms based on a user's data like their interest, behavior, demographics or search information.
Wait, did you say there are different types of Social Media? Yes, there are and we are going to tell you all about them.
Types Of Social Media Platforms
Social Networking Sites
We will be shocked if we need to introduce you to social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These types of Social Media Platforms are reserved for connecting with friends, family, acquaintances and of course, your favorite brands and influencers. Say hi to us as well on our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram profiles. Social networking sites value intimate, human-to-human engagement and encourage knowledge sharing.
A Social Media platform is a Jack of all crafts; users may share their opinions, curate content, post pictures and videos (who can forget vlogs), create interest-based groups and engage in vibrant debates. They're designed around the user and everything they care about, including their social connections.
Social Review Sites
Suppose you are planning your next vacay or finally buying the latest iPhone; what's the first thing you do? Of course, what you'll do is look at the reviews. Review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor are types of Social Media platforms that present evaluations from community members for various destinations and activities.
It is no longer a secret; visual content like images, infographics and pictures catch our attention more than any other content. Picture-friendly Social Media platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat are all Social Media sites that increase the love for picture sharing.
Video Hosting Sites
The reach of video content has skyrocketed over the past few years and so has the reputation of video hosting Social Media platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo. As a result, creators may use video hosting sites to publish video content on a platform suited for streaming.
Shared blogging services such as Medium and Tumblr allow users to express themselves and interact with readers. These community blog platforms have a large audience while also allowing users lots of personalization and self-expression.
Yes, there are different types of Social Media and it’s all great for now but where are they all headed in the future?
What’s Next For Social Media?
When it comes to the future of Social Media, the sky is the limit, which is a symbolic way of saying there is no limit. The industry has adapted quickly to the present Social Media ecosystem, permanently altering cultural dynamics. According to experts, Social Media users will gravitate towards a platform that:
Offers personalization at the most granular level
Avoids or resolves public and social conflict
Pays attention to their user's privacy
Enhances the mobile experience
Concentrates on developing a community
- Explore more forms of communication (did you forget Clubhouse?)
There is a possibility that all this might lead to a drive towards paid Social Media subscription services. This might make things difficult for marketers as they will have to match the evolving needs of Social Media users while retaining their unique voice, which is a worry for another day.
To Sum Up
Social Media has taken the globe by storm, with more than 3.8 billion active users globally. Whether or not each platform appeals to you personally, your business can definitely use them to promote, brand your goods and services using Social Media Marketing.
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