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How Has Social Media Impacted Society?

The average American adult spends more than 11 hours a day consuming social media according to market-research group , Nielsen (https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2018/time-flies-us-adults-now-spend-nearly-half-a-day-interacting-with-media/). Nielsen’s study has found that consumers spent 11 hours consuming social media, via apps and web browsers by tablet and smartphone, Internet via computer/pc, smart TVs, radio, and lastly, live TV. For one person, that’s a total of 4,015 hours a year! With an estimated world population of 7.5 billion, sociologists and market researchers alike, regularly study the effects social media has on our society. So, has the Internet and more specifically social media, impacted society? Well, before we get to the nitty-gritty of the effects social media has on our society let’s discuss the brief history of THE Internet! After all, we must know where we’ve been to see where we’re going.

Where It all Began

ARPAnet, the predecessor to the Worldwide Web -better known today, as the Internet- was essentially the foundational infrastructure, for the Internet. Worried because of technological advancements of the Soviet Union, and the looming possibility of a nuclear war -a by-product of the Cold war – the United States’ Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) funded the ARPAnet program. The goal of the initiative was to develop a communication network that could withstand a nuclear war. This was the Internet’s developmental stage. Shortly after expanding to colleges, came the commercial stage in the 1990s, with email and web browsing. In 1995, the Internet had about 10 million active users (This Is What the Internet looked like in 1996,backwhen it only had 10 million users ). In 2010, it was reported that 30% of the 6.9 billion world’s population were active users of the Internet. What was once just a military communication tool, the Internet, is now this vast gateway to digital media.

A society Dependent on Social Media

Finally! How has the Internet and more specifically social media impacted society? Over the years, social media has become has become an essential part of society. Social media has changed how people communicate, shop, consume media (read, listen and watch), and familiarize themselves with current events.

A Shift in How We Communicate

  1. It’s easier to stay connected to people

Your blast from the past… yes, it’s easy to connect with them through the plethora of social networking platforms that allows user messaging. (Instant messaging, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp etc.)

  1. Stay in contact with those you don’t want to stay in contact with

Additionally, you came stay connected to acquittances you don’t truly want to stay in close contact with (Score!)

  1. Elimination of communication distance barriers

Distance barriers? Yep! Distance barriers are a thing of the past. Well relatively a thing of the past. However, social media has enabled global communication. Therefore you, (yes you) can communicate with someone in a different continent, without pesky international fees.

  1. Direct line of contact to your favorite celebrity/politician

For celebs and politicians with their profiles on numerous platforms, you may express your adoration or dislike for them. All you have do is hit send.

A Shift in the way We Shop

  1. Ecommerce

Businesses can reach their targeted audiences at any time via social networking sites, ads on websites, and email.

  1. Targeted advertising

Businesses can collect data from their audiences to interpret their buying habits of their audience.

  1. Faster purchases

With targeted advertising the Internet often tells consumers what they want to buy.

A Shift in the Way We Consume Media

  1. Streaming

Consumers are now able to stream music, their favorite radio/podcast show, and binge watch TV.

  1. Read online

E-books, online newspapers and articles, and blogs.

  1. You can become the producer

Consumers can now produce, publish, control their own content. You can brand yourself.

How Has Social Media Impacted Society?

Social media has made us a society of instant gratification. With Instant Messenger, we no longer have to wait for communication to reach us. We can access our favorite show, movie, podcast or radio show anywhere we are. Lastly, (as an Introverted extrovert, my favorite by-product of social media) social media has ironically made us less likely to be interactive in person. It’s funny that something that was created to connect people easily has made us less socially active in person. Think about it, online dating is huge, online gaming is even bigger, and honestly, I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather stay in and watch my favorite show than must get glam up for a day exploring the great outdoors.

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