Social media has become a main way consumers communicate with each other and their own stories. favorite brands. From a consumer standpoint, social media is a way to tell their own personal story and create connections with people like them. It’s a way to find humor in postings and discover localized and globalized humanity. Now more than ever before, consumers are able to hear and tell stories on global platforms. This also helps with grassroots organizations and campaigns. Social media is a way for long distance families to still see posts, videos, and pictures of their loved ones. Of the many purposes of social media, one of the most important ones is the creation and maintaining relationships. One of the first purposes of social media was for professionals to network and build large digital networks of teams and people to learn and grow from. Now, as social media has a new purpose each day, it has become a place for people and brands to find their digital voice and try to become notice, liked, but most importantly, shared. The only way to become noticed is for other social media users to share content for others to see.
Daily documentation of life is the digital way of consumers today. From waking up hashtagging that they woke up to putting a geofilter in every new location, it’s as if consumers can follow the lives of the average people they follow just as easily as following the lives of social media celebrities. In the early days of MySpace, social media was engulfed in daily posts about what happened that day such as a digital diary. Then users started posting content on the ‘bulletin board’ which were some of the first ever social media surveys so their MySpace friends could learn more about them. Now as we continue to learn more about the digital lives of our followers, users only see what others choose to post. Social media allows users to show what they want about their digital lives. This can provide some false thoughts about what users may think about the way others live their lives and create comparisons that maybe weren’t necessarily there before everyone’s lives were digitally microscoped behind a webcam and keyboard.
Aside from text posts on Facebook and Twitter, two other large platforms that heavily rely on visual communication and captions are Instagram and Snapchat. Snapchat allows users to share their daily lives through pictures, gifs, and text on their stories or with other users. The main reason Snapchat became such a sensation in its early days was due to the fact that users could send messages to each other and they would instantly disappear. Stories also disappear within 24 hours. It became necessary to log on each day to view others content or users would miss out in seeing others stories.
Instagram allows users to see images and videos posted on profiles with clever captions and hashtags. Hashtags on social media allows users to track content and follow the content that is associated with users that utilized that hashtag. Instagram is owned by Facebook and is in a continual competition with Snapchat. One of the most recent competitions came from Instagram stories. Just like Snapchats 24 hour story, Instagram now has a 24 hour story that users can post visual content on with attached gifs, hashtags, questions, etc. A main difference between Snapchat filters and Instagram filters are that Snapchat’s filters generally contort the face or add some visual graphics whereas Instagram filters are just the contrast/brightness/color filters that they would use to change differing areas of the lighting, shadows, and highlights of a photo.
One of the newer trends in social media is geofilters and tags when consumers travel. Traveling and seeing new places digitally happens every second on social media. As users scroll through stories they may tap and see their friend in a different country, a night time plane ride, an amusement, and a beach all in the same day. Many restaurants now provide social media geofilters associated with their brand as a means of creating organic advertisement through their customers. Some restaurants even have their own hashtags so when customers post about the food they can see it and share the customer experience. The entire way consumers now interact with brands and companies is changed all due to social and digital media sharing.
From seeing new places to taking pictures of beautifully laid-out food in Sydney’s most raved about fine dining restaurant, new generations are altering the human experience and bring digital stories alive. As social media has live video streaming options, now each user becomes their own journalist sharing stories with the world. News and media outlets can break stories like never before. Social media is no longer just talking to other users via digital platforms, it’s become fully integrated into the lives of consumers and businesses. People can actually get jobs in a company specialising in managing social media and business accounts, doing marketing consulting work, and even being the person behind a vital social media post. As the human experience becomes more digital, it’s important to step back and enjoy the world away from a screen. Eat at the best new restaurant, enjoy the mountain top view, and take time to remember what life was like before we were behind a screen.