Real impact | Social Media |

Real impact of social media

With the creation of top-titled social media networks, like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, a new wave of social media advocate demonstation strategies have arrive. With over one million links on Facebook being  common every 20 minutes, and 190 million Tweets put  each day, it is easy to see why activists have turned to social media to spread their message. While on the front these social media advocate drive seem to be cause a lot of attention, but is this a sign of success and is it making an impact today.

Information and communication technology has seen a lot of changes and advance since the year 2000, key among them being the development of social media as a social influenced. The fast development of mobile automation has played a key role in shaping the impact of social media, notably the speed and scale with which it’s used for collaborate and sharing information. This is demonstrate by the 2015 KPCB Internet trends report, which shows that the use of mobile phones for accessing digital media is higher than the use of computers and laptops.


Why people share information

A look at why people share information is perhaps the best place to begin when trying to understand the effects of social networking on people and societies. The New York Times user insight group conducted a survey among 2500 online sharers and among the motivations that participants cited for sharing included: participation, for interaction, passing information, making an impact and professed individual values.

These very reasons have drive social networks from being used hardly as tools for keeping in touch with friends and family to being used to shape campaigning, business, world ability, education, careers, modernization and much more.Below is a look at how and to what extent the impact of social media can be sence by individuals and social groups:

Social media effect on politics and governance

Research shows that the attention social media in political campaigns has increased exceedingly over the years in comparison to other methods.

The impact of social media on politics was most felt in 2008 Obama campaign, where sharing brought in the views and opinions of different people to one place and thus served to either strengthen or weaken voter opinion.This trend is also evident in the 2016 USA presidential campaigns where candidates have been promoting their agenda and battling each other through tweets, Facebook shares,cascade on gunsight, instagramming, among others. Political blooper have become something for everyone to feast on, thanks to presidential applicant sharing and resharing everything their opponents say on or off the campaign trail. Not only has this been entertaining, but candidates who’ve mastered the ability of sharing issues while they are still hot have done better in the polls than their counterparts.This new trend means that politicians without an active social media presence will find it increasingly difficult to wow the electorate now and in future campaigns.

Impact of social media on drive social change globally

The viral nature of social media has encouraged more responsibility and accountability amongst world leaders and has even made it possible to expose brutal political administration with one click of the share button. The Arab Spring of 2010/2011 is a perfect example of an detail when the world felt and appreciated the full effects of social networking, as was evidenced by the tumble of several authoritarian  governments.

Without social media, social, ethical, environmental and political ills would have minimal visibility. Increased visibility of issues has shifted the balance of power from the hands of a few to the masses.


The flipside: Social media is slowly killing real activism and replacing it with ‘slacktivism’

While social media activism brings better awareness about societal issues, questions abound as to whether this awareness is translating into real change on the ground.

Antagonists of social media activism argue that social sharing has encouraged people to use computers and mobile phones to express their concerns on societal issues without actually having to engage actively with campaigns in real life. Their support is limited to pressing the ‘Like’ button or sharing content but that’s pretty much all they do.

The researchers explained this tendency by saying that giving in public is mostly an action meant to satisfy public opinion whereas people who give discreetly do so because the cause is aligned to their desires and values.

Social media impact on Commerce

The impact of social media has been so much that today, it’s unusual to find a company that does not reach its audience through one social media platform or another. Companies have come full circle in their perception of social media as a tool for interaction between friends, to seeing it as important for shaping businesses and building revenue.

Businesses that have leveraged on the need for people to constantly seek and share information have a lot of knowledge which they can use to generate insights and create product offerings that are more targeted. Not only is this important in traditional brick-and-motor businesses, but also in the e-commerce world where success is defined by a company’ability to constantly anticipate what its customers want.

A 2012 report by McKinsey Global Institute shows that sharing information improves productivity in business settings. The study suggests that enterprises that fully implement social technologies can raise interaction and create highly skilled and knowledgeable workers, hence raise productivity by up to 25%. The report also points out that greater potential, and indeed maximum impact of social media, can be felt by using social platforms for knowledge sharing, enhanced communications and building greater collaborations within companies and across enterprises.

The flip side: Low number of social ‘shares’ can lead to negative social proof and destroy business credibility

Interestingly, though use of social sharing has become the norm rather than the exception in business, some companies, after experiencing firsthand some negative effects of social media, have decided to go against the grain and remove the social sharing buttons from their websites.

A case study performed by visual website optimizer to gauge the efficiency of share buttons on conversions found that, an ecommerce retailer from Finland noticed increased conversions by up to 11.9% when they removed sharing buttons from their product pages.

These numbers point at the double-edged nature of the impact of social media, as when products attract a lot of shares, this could reinforce sales but when the reverse is true, customers begin to distrust the product and the company selling it.

Social media effects on professional development and climbing the corporate ladder

19% of hiring managers make their hiring decisions based on something they found on social media. This is according to a 2013 report by staffing

Professional social networks such as LinkedIn are important platforms for anyone looking for to stand out and get noticed in any profession. They allow one to create and market their personal brand.

By engaging in dialogs and sharing content on such platforms, you can demonstrate the level of your knowledge and even engage directly with potential employers.

Increased efficiency in Learning

A survey conducted by Pearson learning solutions found that compared to 2013, there was a 21.3% increase in use of social media in learning than in 2012. 59% of educators who were interviewed in the study agreed that social sharing encourages interaction, providing an environment that fosters learning.

Blogs, wikis, LinkedIn, twitter, Facebook and podcasts are now common tools for learning in most educational institutions. When talking about the impact of social media on education, we cannot fail to appreciate that it has contributed to the increase in long-distance online learning as the afore-mentioned tools have served to increase teacher-student communication.

Though there have been issues of lack of privacy and increased in instances of cheating among long distance learners, this has not deterred social platforms from being used on education.

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