The social media BOOM

13 May

Updating your status on Facebook every hour or so?

How connected are you to social media?

The current era is all abuzz with communicating through social media sites.

Here is roughly how the social sites have evolved through the years:

Granted that the information listed in this chart was published in 2009, more social mediums could have been created. One thing is certain though, that Facebook’s population has definitely expanded.

I believe that Facebook is the epic example of how social media has boomed.

From a remarkable population of 300,000,000 members recorded in 2009 to it grew to an astonishing 500,000,000 members in 2011. A difference of 200,000,000 members in just 2 years!!

In 2012, a recent article indicated that the Facebook population has hit 800,000,000 members. A growth of 300,000,000 members from the last record in 2011. The growth of the Facebook population has been rapid and is phenomenal.

These days, most people that you meet on the streets would have a Facebook account. It has become an ideal method to communicate with friends and to keep up with latest happenings in their lives, even when they are living on the other side of the world.

It is said that social media as a whole as been increasingly influential and that ‘the dominance of online social media is such that company’s can no longer afford to ignore them.’ (Murphy 2011). The article also summarized the benefits of social media as:

Social media has led to a democratization of media. It has paved the way for a new generation of online relationships and conversation. It breeds and encourages creativity and mixes of culture. It fosters an ethos of community, sharing and connecting whilst making all sorts of relationships, particularly business relationship more transparent.

However, as social media is becoming increasingly accessible these days, the negative impact is that we have become rather addicted to the need to stay connected through social media.

I for one, do admit that I’m addicted to social media.

Waiting in line for a taxi, queuing up for food, in the toilet, waiting for friends, or any spare time that I have, I’m either posting updates on Facebook or reading the updates of others and commenting on those that piqued my interest.

In an article written about the signs indicating a social media addict, Brain Blogger has been quoted for the following statement:

“…it has been noted that there may be a correlation between low self-esteem and a sense of social inadequacy and social network addiction. It seems that many types of social interaction which would present great challenges in the real world for certain types of individuals have been rendered much easier for them in the virtual world, thus putting them at a higher risk of becoming addicted to Facebook and the like.”

From my own observation too, I’ve seen an increasing amount of people, whether they’re out as a couple or in a group, they constantly have their phones glued to them, which I feel that is an obstacle to having a face-to-face communication.

Just the other day, I was having dinner at a restaurant. I noticed that sitting at the table next to me was a couple. They looked like working executives. After they’ve placed their orders, they each whipped out their own iPads and were in a world of their own with their iPad, not speaking to each other at all. Even when their food was served, they were still glued to their iPads. I was thinking, ” Why come out and have dinner together when you are going to be spending your individual times with your iPad while your partner is just sitting right in front of you?”

This has proven one point which I’ve came across more than once – Social media can be as addicting as drugs, and once you get hooked, its hard to quit.

The social media addiction has also been listed as caused for lack of focus during face-to-face encounters, an obstacle for building meaningful relationships and in some cases, it has been cited as the cause for divorces.

Apart from the danger of being addicted, being constantly connected via social media poses one more danger —> The ability for a stranger to stalk you or even identity theft. This can be understood more when we touch on the topic of the “technological thumbprint” that some of us would know about and yet most have no idea how to guard against leaving the prints.

Till the next time… Tata…

Reference link(s):

Focus Editors (2009), ‘The Boom of Social Sites’, http://www.focus.com/fyi/boom-social-sites/, viewed 13 May 2012

The Economist (2010), ‘Facebook population – Status update – Facebook has become the third-largest nation’, http://www.economist.com/node/16660401/, viewed 13 May 2012

Techzella (2012), ‘Facebook is bigger than all of Europe including Russia’, http://techzella.com/facebook-is-bigger-than-all-of-europe-including-russia/, viewed 13 May 2012

Murphy, Patrick, Silicon Cloud (2011), ‘What are the advantages of Social Media’, http://www.siliconcloud.com/blog/bid/58731/What-are-the-Advantages-of-Social-Media/, viewed 13 May 2o12

Small Biz Trends (2011), ‘Are you a social media addict’, http://smallbiztrends.com/2011/11/social-media-addict.html/, viewed 13 May 2012

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