Did you know that June 30, 2017 is observed as Social Media Day across the globe (and the web)? It’s no doubt that social media has completely changed our lives over the years and has defined how we interact with our friends, family, colleagues and the rest of the world.
The launch of MySpace in 2003 allowed teenagers and college students to connect with each other, post bulletins (think Facebook Statuses, but much, much longer), share their top 8 friends (that changed weekly and was the source of a lot of drama in friend circles), and try their hand at HTML coding to spruce up their profile. Although it is no longer being used for its original purpose, many consider MySpace the beginning of the social media era.
Next came Facebook—the social network founded in a college dorm back in 2004 for the purpose of communicating with other college students and was referred to as http://www.thefacebook.com at the time. Early adopters surely remember the days where virtually “poking” others was all the craze and how the permanent “is” at the beginning of status updates resulted in poor grammar for many. The demographics on this platform shifted and Facebook recently surpassed 2 BILLION USERS! Yes, you read that right—2 BILLION! Gone are the days where individuals used this social network solely for the purpose of creating weekend plans with friends. Businesses and advertisers have recognized the significance of using Facebook as a tool to market their products and services directly to those in their target market—at a cost that typically beats that of traditional marketing. Live videos, news updates, instant messaging, trending topics, pages and groups round out the many reasons why people LOVE Facebook.
Shortly after the launch of Facebook came Twitter, a “microblog”, where users are forced to confine their thoughts to 140 characters or less. Its growing popularity has allowed users to quickly find trending news topics, Tweet along to live television shows, find others at events with a simple hashtag search, show your support for causes, host question & answer periods, conduct polls, and connect with brands. Have a question regarding your new present on Christmas Day at 10 AM? Simply Tweet to the company and you just might receive a response. Breaking news story? Search a relevant hashtag on Twitter and receive the latest updates from various news sources, bystanders/attendees, and opinions from others reflecting on the story. Stuck at work for the Olympic championship hockey game? Luckily for you, other Twitter users can provide us all with play-by-play Tweets so we won’t miss a minute of the action.
The rise of Instagram followed soon after. The popular photo-sharing platform (acquired by Facebook in 2012) boasts approximately 700 million users! The allure of creating and sharing a professional looking photo feed with friends and the rest of the world is what allowed its popularity to soar. Now, users can interact via direct message, live feeds and stories to share glimpses of their lives. Brands can advertise, create communities through hashtags, and even provide customer service to their followers in seconds in a more personalized way.
One of the newer platforms taking the world by storm is Snapchat, an image messaging application that launched 5 short years ago and is already exceeding 165 million active daily users. Something about sending self-destructing images and videos with animal filters on them to friends and family or broadcasting moments in your day just feels right to many. Users can spend a large chunk of time discovering and reading news stories and articles from popular outlets (such as DailyMail, Buzzfeed and Cosmo) and watching video stories from their favourite celebrities, influencers, brands, and events. Perhaps the reason for Snapchat’s growth is the fact that it consistently provides updates to keep things fresh and exciting for its users, while many other networks have yet to embrace this strategy.
Whether you use social platforms because 1- you’re generally curious (or nosey) about the lives of others, 2- you want to learn more about what’s happening in the world, 3 – for entertainment purposes, or 4- because it’s simply your job, we can all agree that social media has shaped the way we communicate, and that’s something that should be celebrated! So on June 30th, 2017, I encourage you all to share what Social Media Day means to you using the hashtag #SocialMediaDay on your favourite platform.