Social media’s role in our lives has become increasingly important in the recent past thanks to the fast paced developments observed in the hand held gadgets and information technologies in recent years. The social media industry, what used to be a purely entertainment and socialization based phenomenon, moved onto become a business, education and culture related field which has deemed it more important than what it used to be. As more individuals become technical and advanced with social media outlets and applications, the cyber world not only grows in size but also in effect which makes social media one of the most important fields of communication and learning in today’s world. People use Facebook to learn about their friend’s personal lives, Twitter to follow politics, Instagram to check out potential partners and Pinterest for a variety of subjects including which recipes to cook, where to go on vacation or the most reliable companies for novated leasing of vehicles. If one wishes to integrate into this modern world of ours, one needs to make full use of social media and its benefits to be ready for battles of information and capabilities.

Naturally, modern day media’s interest in social media is also quite noteworthy with all the major news networks reporting on the observed issues and emergences in numerous social media outlets on a daily basis. Amanda Hess for The New York Times reports on Poppy, MTV’s new pop icon of a fembot which works on the organization’s YouTube channel with several embedded features such as answering human questions, eating cotton candy and introducing material on air to the audience. Her school girl outfit and rather posh voice distinguish her as a unique breed and her witty comments about the material she presents are also quite fascinating to watch and listen to. Fembots have alwas existed in modern day pop culture with Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana providing technical services to their users to help them with their lives. However, in terms of celebrities, the fembot sector has unfortunately been silence and Poppy is unique in this way as well. Her videos on YouTube have surpassed 257 million hits and she entered the modern day popular culture in a very direct manner, appearing in “Today Show”, bilboards at Times Square and the Comedy Central’s Snapchat series. She is also readying her act for a nationwide tour which means that she will continue her celebrity life in the foreseeable future as well.   

Livestreaming is another feature of social media which has broken ground for millions of users so far, making it far more entertaining and enjoyable for them to use social media applications. Hayley Tsukayama for The Washington Post reports on numerous livestreaming social media applications and outlets such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram to make recommendations for their users to take notice and create high quality and feasible content. According to the report, it is important to keep the brightest source of light behind the camera when filming other objects or people than one’s self while the opposite is true for filming one’s self. It is equally important to not move the camera with shaky hands while minimizing the background noise is also crucial to create focus on the presented material. Tsukayama also warns such users to pay attention to what their phones are recording because nothing disturbs and irritates their followers more than accidental and pointless footage. And finally, it is always important for vloggers to keep their devices fully charged and have good internet connections because even worse than unintentional footage surfacing, blackouts completely disappoint followers and lead to a significant loss of interest for the vlogger’s work. In the golden age of social media, live broadcasting is a great tool for communicating with the masses but it is equally important to pay attention to these mentioned details to keep a steady work ethic and please the crowds.

The commercial value of social media is also on the rise with several companies making total use of such applications to market their products and services to construct respectable online presences. Chad Recchia reports for Forbes Magazine on how Augmented Reality in social media has enabled Snapchat, IKEA and L’Oreal to bring in record-breaking numbers of new customers to their businesses while further appeasing their loyal ones. Snapchat, the first company ever to bring AR applications into its system is currently reaping the profits of Snapchat Lenses, a plugin that enables Snapchat users to add creative design elements into their broadcasts which has attracted a significant amount of corporate interest so far. Such corporate entities sponsor specific lenses to be used by Snapchat users while paying Snapchat significant sums of capital to continue their marketing campaigns. Recently, Taco Bell teamed up with the company to promote its Cinco de Mayo organization, receiving 224 million hits in a single day with the company’s special lens. IKEA’s application “IKEA Place” provides an opportunity for its customers to visit IKEA showrooms in the comfort of their home, producing real-world reality at 98% accuracy while allowing the users to take photos of their visit. Currently, the application provides views for more than 2000 items with more items to be added in the future. L’Oreal’s utilization of Augmented Reality in this regard has also made it quite easy for the company to reach out to its audience, with AR branded apps such as Makeup Genius and Style My Hair which make it possible for users to apply makeup on their selfies. The company also launched its YouCam Makeup app in conjunction with PerfectCorp to create beauty collections out of the given photos which surpassed 100 million downloads in 2016. All these numbers and details reveal that all the three companies have benefitted from their interactions with social media but more importantly developed strategies to enhance their business models to strengthen their position in the eyes of their customers and rivals alike.   

However, social media has not been as kind to certain other companies in the business and actually has  caused trouble for their operations and images. Microsoft endured a problem of this sort with its artificial intelligence chat bot, Tay, which was designed to interact with 18-24 year olds on the company’s social media accounts and utilize inputs to answer questions in an automated fashion. According to Day Lee who reports for BBC News, when the users figured out this type of an algorithmic function, they began to feed the bot with racist and offensive information, which the bot utilized to answer questions and interact with users. The company soon took notice of the situation and tuned off the bot to take him offline and re-program its algorithms to filter and ignore certain comments and types of input. Although the company suffered a minor damage to its reputation online, its wise decision to pull off the bot from operation turned out to produce a positive effect on its followers on social media who were quickly informed about the issue and its true reasons. Microsoft’s future plans for social media involvement will be better planned and strategized as a result of this incident which has made it possible for Microsoft social media marketers and coders to observe and experience the shortcomings of too much reliance on the public for input. The experience also educated them about the possibilities that surround interactions with the public without assistance or guidance to lead the company to spare more time and resource for such operations in the future.

As social media continues to dominate our lives, it is becoming clearer by the day that in the future we will not only enjoy using social media but also depend on it in several ways. As Ryan Holmes for Time Magazine reports, several online services have already begun to utilize their information database and system to allow users to transfer money and funds among themselves to help them with their finances. Facebook’s recent addition of a hidden payment feature within its Messenger app will make it possible for the company to serve the financial needs of more than 200,000 users online without charging any fees whatsoever. In addition, Facebook also designed and implemented a new Autofill option that connects users’ credit cards with the system’s information database to help them use such information with more than 450,000 e-commerce hubs and companies on the internet. Obviously, the market and its competition are both quite vivid with Apple launching its new Apple Pay application and PayPal still fighting for its leadership position in the game and therefore Facebook’s insistence on integrating financial tools in its framework is quite understandable. In the future, when its services become more popular, Facebook intends on charging fees while also utilizing the data it collects to rival giants like Visa and Mastercard. As Facebook continues to dominate the lives of its users, it will also integrate their wallets into its system to provide a full-scale service involving virtually every aspect of like in it, as a reflection of actual reality that we live in everyday.