Social Media Day — A day in the life of a social media addict
By Elie Georges
Last summer was one for the books. It was my first time traveling alone with nothing but my backpack, smartphone and an LA attitude. It was one of the most liberating experiences as I got to tour three European cities by foot, not in a car on the 405 and I was amused with #NextGenMobility in Belgium and The Netherlands.
Traveling alone was something I would have never considered a few years ago, and to be honest, I was a little reluctant to the idea of roaming the streets of cities that I had never been to like Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Brussels and Antwerp. I don’t speak German and Dutch but I can get by in French. In my head, I formulated every possible scenario of what could happen to me. Will I be lost? Kidnapped? Or will it be a great journey? I asked myself these questions a million times. But little did I know it turned out to be the best experience ever.
Thanks to social media.
Because of social media I could use my phone to find friends to spend time with, ask for suggestions about places to visit and even get unbeatable discounts on museums.
As the world is celebrating social media today (#SocialMediaDay), I thought I would talk about the positive impact it has created in my life. I know many people criticize this new age of communication because they claim it distorts real social interactions. But I tend to take a different position. I believe that communication via social media complements our interpersonal interactions. From the moment I open my eyes until I go to bed, everything happens on social media.
I like to start my day knowing what those 6 or 7 hours of sleep deprived me of experiencing and to stay en courant. Then I keep checking my social media throughout the day until I go to bed. My day consists of snaps, likes, tweets, retweets, replies, stories, moments, DMs, messages,…etc. Then the cycle repeats when I wake up. Sounds like an addiction? Maybe but I look at it as part of my lifestyle. I truly cannot imagine my life without social media.
According to the Cisco Connected World Report, “90 percent of young people wake up to their smartphones.” For me, it’s checking Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and then Instagram in this order. Ideally, I would scan the news if I have time, but social media is a priority. After all, I can get my morning dose of news through my Twitter feed.
Not a day passes by without social media breaking news, charting policies, and influencing opinions. Social media is growing day by day and evolving as it is growing. To some, we’re in the golden age of social media, but to me, social media has become an integral part of my life that I view as a necessity. It is constantly growing and changing, and I love it.
Social media makes life easier in so many ways that we’ve never imagined. Take a nice date spot, for example. You can go on Yelp and look up restaurants then see if any of your friends have been to that restaurant and see what they said about it in the reviews. You can then message them to ask about again.
In a world influenced by the advancements of technology, communication is no longer limited to its traditional channels. As people start to communicate via digital channels, social media serves as the connector; it builds a community.
“Social media helps me in community outreach by connecting with people on a more personal level.”
The ubiquity of social media makes it impossible not to participate in it as it is a really popular discussion topic among people. The conversations range from athletes’ political views and celebrities’ latest trends to the President setting out policy and activists crowdsourcing campaigns. Not to forget the beloved memes and the essential gossip… and the list goes on and on. These small conversations spark big change which causes communities to be built around ideas, brands, and people.
Moreover, every day we are bombarded by ads that prompt us to use a certain hashtag when we post on social media. We might think about as just another expressive tweet or Instagram post, but in fact, it is much more than that. Take the Coca-Cola company for example. Their hashtag #ShareaCoke is not only an initiative to tell someone to share a soft drink with others. It is part of Coca Cola’s branding and an invaluable asset at finding the loyalists to the brand–this hashtag can be used to target them with new messaging and keep them updated on the company’s products. Similarly, social media hashtags can also be used for social causes. A very powerful hashtag is #BlackLivesMatter. This hashtag started a unique social movement born social media platforms. #TacoTuesday became so popular that restaurant adapted to celebrating every Tuesday with unbeatable deals on tacos. Consequently, it is essential for any establishment– whether a business, a non-profit organization or even a food truck– to have a presence on social media.
In this DNAge, a single tweet can travel the globe in a few seconds, a live broadcast video can give a paralleled experience to the real one, and one day we might all attend a concert in Mars at the comfort of our homes through our social media platforms.
To understand its intense influence on our society, let’s do a deep dive in the history of social media:
In 1991, the World Wide Web was established as an information space. This caused companies to grow, such as AOL, to provide services beyond email like instant messaging. SixDegrees.com was launched in 1997 as the first form of a social networking website, then Friendster.com became the social gaming pioneer of 2002 and LinkedIn started. After that came MySpace in 2003 followed by today’s big daddy, Facebook in 2004. Flickr, Twitter, Tumblr, Grindr, Pinterest, Snapchat and Tinder all followed after as illustrated in this timeline.
Social media is the engine of globalization. Since its inception with the help of the internet in the mid-1990s, social media has become the platform of communication locally, regionally, and globally. It has given voices to the silent, spread awareness to the uninformed, initiated peace in the impossible, ignited revolutions for the oppressed, entertained the public, established lifestyles, created personalities, divided people into teams, then brought people together and most importantly built a global community that united all humans.
Elie Georges is a Los Angeles-based Public Relations Consultant. His mission is to explore the fields of public relations in nontraditional ways to make a positive impact in society, which makes Consensus a perfect fit for him. More about the Consensus team: