The Growth Of Social Media

Social media over the last few years, has proven to be a permanent routine for most. We are checking over news feeds in a frenzy, of like’s and favourites, often taking up more of our time than we would like to admit. In place of the morning newspaper, is a vast array of information, which we as individuals soak up like sponges. It’s with this that companies choose to use platforms, such as Twitter, to build relations with future customers and undoubtedly influence where and what we purchase. Celebrity endorsing and the rise of bloggers, has led the original concept of social media, to developing into a very business and monetary driven tool. Of course in such financially unstable times, it can at times offer an escapism of brands to their followers, who will more often than not, want to keep up with the competition so to speak.

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Pitfalls of Social Media

Alongside the clear benefits of social media, such as networking and increasing business client base, it is also used for less desirable duties. Figures have shown that a growing number of users, are subjected daily to the darker side, with the well-publicised act of trolling. Not always reserved for celebrities, it is often a challenge that affects your everyday user. This is because the cruel subjectors don’t have a physical bond, with the person they are virtually attacking. In turn this means that it is very easy and devoid of conscience, to send hatred without having a full grasp on what the consequences will be.

As people, in our daily lives, we are very reliant on face to face to communication. Therefore if we were to insult a peer, the likelihood is they will take issue with it and work to get it resolved. With social media there isn’t such a relationship like this and it makes suitably named keyboard warriors, the opportunity to offend, to gain retweets and favourites. Granted as individuals we all have a right, to freedom of speech, but this shouldn’t be used as a catalyst and excuse, to spread vile tirades of abuse to unassuming users.

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Benefits That Can Be Attained

Now we have the negative aspect out of the way, lets begin to appreciate the incredible benefits, to having your own media account. I go back to Twitter once again, as it is the preferred choice of platform, for my venting and self-promotion. Here in lies the crucial benefit and that is: self-promotion. A small account is often heavily reliant on keeping its active members interested, as they come and go like the wind. My personal account has remained active, for a number of years and has amassed a very strong following, through sharing my work and the beauty of retweeting. This provides what I call, the tweet domino effect, which catapults a tweet into the stratosphere of the public.

Bloggers and writers can gain valuable exposure, by working with PR agencies and tweeting product reviews, which is often a lot more enticing to prospective clients, than a copied and pasted celebrity tweet. As a writer I rely heavily on my followers, to appreciate and share my work and being fortunate enough to write a piece for Cosmopolitan, had more of an effect, than I had initially anticipated. A very detailed and personal account, of a previous eating disorder became widespread and allowed fellow sufferers the courage, to come forward and seek help. In terms of benefits to social media, this is most definitely a big tick on the chart and I believe we often overlook this. Small businesses can gain a cult following, through creating their own ambassadors, who will spread positive tweets, thus making us as consumers very open to persuasion.

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Food For Thought

If we can learn anything from this, it is social media is a tool and should be strategically used, to not only gain exposure but also help others. I don’t expect us all to stand around dancing in a circle, singing hymns, but there have to be some boundaries, to the negativity we experience on such popular sites. Please also spare food for thought, for the increasing number of prospective employers, who will use alias accounts, to check on their applicants. Some may argue this is an invasion privacy and expression, we are entitled to have personal lives. Both are very valid points, but a drunken mess plastered all over your account, will very often say, that you may prove to be a loose cannon within a team structure.

Be extremely selective about how and where you air your views, as with most things, there can be consequences. Most importantly have fun and be yourself. If you are most unfortunate, to be a greatly pessimistic and negative individual, then the likelihood is you need therapy and not a Twitter account to express yourself.

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