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HOW HAS SOCIAL MEDIA CHANGED THE WORLD?

Friday 19th May 2017
Whether you’re an avid user, you’re for it or against it, there is no denying the many ways that social media and networking have impacted our lives over the last 10 years.

In this blog we will explore just some of countless ways in which social media and networking has changed the world.

AWARENESS
The rise of social media and networking has made it faster and easier to access information around the world, and by having smaller, bite-sized chunks of information makes it easier for people to digest and communicate to one another. Whether through a simple tweet, post on Instagram or a status update on Facebook, we can instantly be made aware of aware of different issues around the world than we ever were before.

An example of when social media has been a great tool in raising awareness was in the summer of 2014. Unless you we’re living under a rock at that time, you will be familiar with the #ALSicebucketchallenge that took social media by storm. This involved  social media users making videos of themselves throwing buckets of ice cold water over each other or themselves and nominating their friends to do the same whilst also donating money to the ALS Charity (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).



The campaign played a huge role in helping the association raise $115 million. As of August 2014, it had resulted in 1.2 million related Facebook videos and 2.2 million Twitter mentions.

The Ice Bucket Challenge "was possibly the most successful social media fundraising and awareness effort I've ever seen," says Mike Koehler, president, “Smirk New Media”. Thanks in no small part to a lot of celebrity involvement, the campaign achieved pure viral "magic," according to Koehler.

COMMUNICATION
Social media and networking have broken the barriers when it comes to communicating and we are spoilt for choice when it comes to ways of getting in contact with someone.

Today, if you can’t reach someone on the phone, you can leave a voice mail or send a text. Or even better, tweet, Facebook message, or touch base in other ways. We have the ability to see what others are doing, often within seconds of them doing it.

Social media search functions also make it easier if we want to track someone down who we are looking for or may have lost touch with. There are seemingly endless sources we can search to access the information we need. 

TELL YOUR STORY
Social media has given everybody who chooses to sign up to a platform, the opportunitiy to tell 'their story' online. Whether that is through Facebook, Instagram pictures, Tumblr blogs. Normal people now have the capacity to make their opinion known on a massive scale.

"It is far easier to do something remarkable, noticeable and have it reach people across the planet than it had at any other time in history."

In turn this has created a whole new category of 'fame' and 'celebrity' - Social media famous. Every day social media users have the capacity to gain worldwide fame and impressive fortune simply by logging and posting their content. Take beauty vlogger Zoe Sugg ( also known as 'Zoella') for example, Zoe has gained worldwide fame and popularity through uploading helpful beauty blogs on to social media site Youtube. Since opening her Youtube channel in 2009, Zoella has gained an impressive 6.5 million followers world wide (and growing) and has earnt an estimated £3.5 million fortune. Just proving the impact social media can have on everyday people.



Snapchat's 'Story' function allows users to share a series of 10 second videos that can be posted to the user's story for 24 hours. Giving snap chatters the opportunity to share a timeline of videos throughout their day, and film important events as and when they happen. Brands are using it as a way to connect with customers, and celebrities are using it as a way to connect with fans and to give their followers an insider's look at what goes on in their everyday life.

SHARE YOUR OPINION
Social media has given everyday people the ability to have a voice that can reach millions of people. Before social media was such a big element in our lives, you could have an opinion, or a view on something and only really your close knit group of friends or family would know about it. But given how easy social media makes it to reach other people, more people are using social media as an outlet to vent, and share their thoughts.

While this can be a great tool (as we've highlighted above) with raising awareness for worthy causes or sharing important news with your network. Many social media users have found themselves in extremely hot water when it comes to sharing an opinion online that may not be a welcome opinon, or a view that might have the capacity to offend people. For instance people have found themselves fired from positions, or on the face of news publications for over sharing, or making comments on issues that  has caused mass offense. Read more here.

IF YOUR NOT PAYING FOR IT, YOUR THE PRODUCT
Facebook for example embodies this philosophy and has created a whole empire from it. Astonishingly this is no secret, and we as users still willingly hand over our details and personal information.

Recent research reported by The Guardian states that most young people are more than willing to hand over information. 91% of users share publicly accessible photos of themselves, 71% post where they live and share their location when updating posts, 61 % of users give their email address away and over a fifth share their mobile number. 

We know more about strangers than ever before. Years ago personal moments in your life were only shared with your close family and friends, these days that is still true but is also shared with our 500+ network of followers and 'friends'.

BUSINESSES
Social media has given companies a chance to have a voice when it comes to their brand and a different way to connect and engage with their customers as well as their employees.

Social networks enable businesses across the world to amplify their message in a way never thought possible only a decade or two ago.

Businesses can now respond to customer queries and complaints in real time, with the ability to converse and engage with their customers on a different level which is continually improving as social media companies’ progress. This in turn is creating a better sense of customer service and brand loyalty among followers. 

Social media has proved to be an invaluable tool for businesses who want to grow and connect with their audience.

RESPONSE RATES
The speed of social media has changed the way we learn about and respond to natural disasters. After a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, non-profits used social media to mobilize rescue efforts and to support the community. This also saw the deployment of one of the most successful text-to-donate campaigns seen at the time. Similarly, when earthquake and tsunami rocked Japan in March 2011, millions of people around the globe used social media to search for family and friends, as well as get updates on a situation that was very frightening at the time.

More recently back in April 2015 after the disaster of the Nepal earthquake Facebook reacted quickly by activating a function that allowed those in the vicinity of the disaster to mark themselves as ‘safe’ on Facebook so that their friends and loved ones we’re able to see. Years ago, it was more difficult after a natural disaster such as an earthquake for families and friends to located potentially lost family members, social media has been able to bridge where there was a gap there.

POLITICS
"Never before has a "like," retweet or otherwise mindless online activity been so reflective of the state of American politics." (CIO.com)

In light of the recent US presidential election we saw how social media was used more than ever before by candidates. At the last election in 2012 there was still a presence especially with candidates using Twitter and Facebook and Youtube. But this year, it was clear to see that the presidential candidates were using social media and it's influence as a key driver in their campaigns. Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump used Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and pretty much any other social media outlet to influence voters.

New methods of prediction based on data from social media were also used to predict the final results. BrandsEye, a tool that looks at people's tweets, correctly predicted both the vote to leave the EU in June's referendum and a Trump victory in the US election, but how did it do this? The company took a sample of 200,000 tweets. These tweets were then checked by a crowd-sourced army logging in from their homes. Their task was simple; when presented with a tweet, decide if it was pro-Trump or pro-Clinton. As this method was proven successful, and accurate, it;s probable that social media will continue to be used to predict results like these in the future.



RECRUITMENT
Social media has also changed the way in which we as recruiters operate.

Looking back to 10 years ago, recruiters were limited in the ways they could reach out and engage with potential candidates and clients, but thanks to the rise of the internet and mobile devices paired with the growth of social media, it would seem modern day recruiters are now spoilt for choice in the ways they can make contact with potential candidates and clients.

Search: Social media outlets have search functionality that allows recruiters to search for people with a particular skills set, job title or people within a particular region. Opening rich talent pools filled with new candidates ready to move into a new role.

It also enables recruiters to search for their clients and stay on top of what they’re are up to and engage with the content they may be sharing.

Content: We've mentioned about staying up to date on content shared by clients. But social media also gives recruitment agencies the  opportunity to share their own thoughts, opinions and expertise to a wider audience through social media channels. Those recruiters that do this may be able to add credibility to their service and set themselves apart  from 'cowboy' recruiters who can give the industry a bad reputation. 

Candidate job searches: Content shared by recruiters are often job adverts. An increasing number of candidates are using social media as an outlet to search for jobs. Which makes it a great environment to advertise for roles.

HOW HAS SOCIAL MEDIA IMPACTED YOUR LIFE?
In this blog we have shared just some of the countless ways Social Media has impacted the world we live in. How has Social media changed your everyday life?


Leave us your comments below or feel free to leave us a tweet @AmsourceTech.

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