What is the essence of social media anyway?
The rant of being bothered with this question
That’s the very first question that must be answered before engaging into a research about distribution through social media. What is the main purpose? Why is it popular today? Now this is purely my own perspective on the subject. I might come back on things after having done more research on the subject. Or if you, the reader, have a different point of view.
Well, before looking at the medium of social media. Let’s first look at the source and user, that’s us. Humans. People. We need connections. Not in a professional aspect, but on the emotional aspect. It is said that when we have positive social interactions, we are happier in life. We are then more content, positive and sometimes even healthier. And many of us have that feeling and need to become happy. The happier you are, the more people want to know you.
But then we have to look back in history where we already had ‘social groups’. Higher and lower classes defined by money, status and types of interactions. The upper classes and lower classes were then the considered term ‘social groups’. The social ‘society’ you walked among was very important and uselessly permanent. The higher your status, let’s say King, the more people would follow you into battle! But Kings, Queens, Barons and Dukes were born in those societies and it was much harder to climb the ‘social ladder’. It’s still among our current lifestyle today, the difference between the rich and the poor. However, the coming of industry has led to a major swift in social ladders and brought prosperity. The rich can become easily poor and the poor can become easily rich. But on the interaction level, subjects have come together. When you could be rich and stupid in the past. It is was later less accepted in the day.
It all had become more focused around intellect. Status alone wasn’t enough anymore. Not even money. You need to have something to say. And the knowledge that has been shared openly throwout our century, (libraries, internet, cough* wikipedia) has enriched many peoples lives. Rich or poor. King or Pauper. The smarter you are, the more you have to say that makes sense, the more change you bring, the more people would like to follow you. At least, that’s what history showed us.
And then we have the urge to communicate and share our thoughts. We have always sought for connections by reaching out to other people. And when it took in 1714 almost at least 3 days or even weeks to send and receive a love letter from a long distance. Now in 2014, a love text is send within seconds! A 10 pages long email within seconds. Or just a phone call away when the reception is good. But the essentials are the same. Whether it be 1714 or 2014. The desire to connect and the urge to share. Where Ink, paper and the pen were tools of the past. The smart-phone, laptop and social media has become the tools of the present. Where we first put posters an a brick wall, we now post pictures on a digital wall.
And that is the essence of social media. It is a platform, a tool, an empty piece of paper, that we can fill with our personal thoughts, share our experiences and our likes and dislikes. It was based on our urge and desire to communicate and interact with other people, and that’s why it has become such a success. Not only an success, cause it has become integrated with our everyday life-style. Cause ask yourself this, can you go without social media for a day? A week? Even a year?
But has the essence stayed the same I wonder? With all the small businesses, big businesses, sponsors and commercial companies making use of it these days as well. Is it still just about interaction between people? Or has it become these days more a platform to try and become famous? Another climb up the social ladder? And as an animator, do I want to be part of it? Or won’t I have a choice?
Hi, My name is Suze Gil and I write to help women in the creative industry through reading, share my love for art and tell stories.