The Evolution of Social Media

28 Feb

Social media began as an online medium to connect with individuals.  Over time, companies discovered the potential marketing and communication benefits associated with various sites.  Major television networks are now using Twitter and Facebook to engage viewer audiences in a variety of ways.  The evolution of social media leads us to ask, “Where do we go from here?”

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal suggests that social media and television are becoming more intertwined than ever.  Whether the event is the Super Bowl or the Grammys, tweets and posts increase exponentially around the scheduling of major broadcasting events.  Corporations can capitalized on the increased media attention.

Although the hype surrounding the upcoming Oscar awards was at a low, ABC hoped to boost ratings and viewer numbers using new communication techniques.  A few of the strategies included:

  • Celebrity Tweets throughout the show
  • Back stage video footage to online viewers
  • Questions from viewers to celebrities via Tweets

By implementing new uses for social media, ABC hoped to create the biggest night in social media history.  The success of the new strategy will be measured by the increase in the amount of social media chatter generated about the award show.  Engaging viewers creates a different, non-traditional type of buzz that may prove rewarding for television networks and viewers.  The strategy seemed well planned out, but only time will tell if viewers responded as well as predicted.

The advancements in social media have barreled through old communication boundaries.  Just how far can the limits stretch?  Here are a few questions to consider regarding the future of social media websites.

Could social media be used as a voting medium in the future?

The demographics of our country are gradually shifting towards a technology-savvy society.  As more users join social media sites, using Twitter for voting may become more efficient and convenient.  A simple tweet could be used as a vote.  For example, “#Obama2014” could be a general “voting” Tweet.

Is email becoming an outdated mode of communication?

All Facebook users are familiar with sending private messages to individuals.  The messages are similar to email in every aspect.  Users can include a subject line, attach files, and even post links to photos and websites.  Some may even argue that Facebook messaging is easier to use than email, and you don’t have to go through the trouble of remembering email addresses.

Will social media accounts ever be mandated?

Most young adults have met someone and later looked up his or her Facebook profile.  We often tend to judge an individual by the information we discover on a person’s social media page.  However, if account registry were mandated and verified by the government, law enforcement agencies and the general public could easily access important (not personal) information of any citizen.  Such information could be useful in determining credibility in new contacts.

I admit, the questions about the future of social media are radical and may seem to some to be unlikely.  Then again, how many people thought we would be using the @ and # symbols to communicate with each other?  I believe that the short-term changes will involve the substitution of social media sites in place of email and an increase in companies using social media sites.  Social media is always changing and only time will tell what the future will bring.

by Kyle Billig

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