In a culture widely centered on the immediate access of information, social media is just another part of our daily routines. Originally, social media was a way for people to stay in touch and to nurture relationships with people near and far from the comfort of their own home. Now it has evolved beyond that. It can still be used as a way to keep in touch with friends and family, but it is also a means by which artists, musicians, businesses and companies can grow ideas that reach millions at no cost.
Social media apps can be downloaded for free, and there is something offered for every type of person. If you are a music junkie, there are various streaming sites such as LastFM, Spotify and 8 tracks, where you can create playlists of your favorite music and add your friends or strangers that share your taste. If you like to blog, you can sign up for sites like Tumblr, Blogger or WordPress. These social platforms offer some sort of incentives whether you avidly post or not. For example, you may not feel the need to tweet what you had for breakfast or what you are doing in five minutes from now, but you can follow various fast food or retail companies on Twitter and Facebook and be the first to know about promotional deals and even win free stuff.
For those who could care less about free things, let’s backtrack and touch on social networking as a means to grow an idea. Hitting it big on social media is not limited to multi-million dollar corporations or celebrities; there are “normal” people with ideas that have acquired millions of followers by posting their ideas paired with a few descriptive hash tags. Millions of followers equal exposure and potential buyers for a product you are trying to market.
While social networking can be a great tool for growing an idea, participating also has its downsides. Just like anything, too much of something can be bad. Relying on social networking as your only means of communicating with others can create isolation. If you are frequently posting every single detail of your life, including that embarrassing snap shot from last year’s Christmas party, this could potentially ruin your job and internship opportunities. Moderation is key in terms of social media.
Although social media is a good way to keep in touch with others, it is not a necessity. Shying away from it will not cause you to miss out on life, as you will probably be keeping yourself busy in other ways. It can be avoided, but if you want to follow a business on Twitter, message your grandmother in Kansas on Facebook, or create a White Stripes playlist on Spotify, logging into one or two social networks will not cause your life to spiral out of control.