Taking Over the World… Wide Web
“Social media” — two words that we Generation Y’s have been constantly bombarded with these past few years.
It is very interesting to look back at the progression of social media and migrating trends on the interwebs (as I affectionately call it) thus far, from MySpace to Facebook to Twitter and Youtube, as well as the evolution in the definition of the word itself. An interesting blog post describes a wide variety of definitions for social media, leading to a hefty discussion about what social media really is. What amazes me is the deviance between definitions given by people of different statuses, roles, or industries.
For example, Wikipedia defines social media as “web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue.” A response to the blogpost suggested that “social marketing is the art of encouraging consumers to shift between audience, author and influencer.” European marketing professors, Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein, emphasize the technical aspects of social media as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.”
Personally, acknowledging that there is no set definition, I believe the blog definition comes extremely close to grasping the essence of social media in its current state. A pessimist would say that social media has deviated from pure social interaction to strategic engagement, usually with monetary benefits. However, the way I see it, social media is just a simple method organizations or companies are using to interact with individuals through a more personable approach, and in this case, individuals would be the audience. Consumers can also play the role of “author” by creating online materials to respond back (for instance through blogging), and then “influencing” peers by sharing pages or tweeting news about organizations. This “online presence” that acts as a link between consumers and the online community has become increasingly important.
Out of personal experience, in an application for an innovative technology solutions company, I was asked to my amusement the amount of Facebook friends and Twitter followers I had. Has online presence has somehow become correlated to influential power, social skills and credibility? After immediate research, I noticed that it wasn’t just the technology industries. Even the hotel industry is looking to increase revenue and booking volume by investing in more social media which, according to the article, has become as popular as pay-per-click or more.
All of this just leaves me to wonder, has social media become integral to all aspects (of life, of business, of jobs, and even of education) in our generation, and can it keep being revamped and innovated, or is it just another trend that is about to reach its plateau?