How is the use of social media contributing to digital transformations in the fabric of everyday life?
In this essay, the discussion of the ways that social media is contributing to digital transformations in the fabric of everyday will be discussed in ways that have affected lives and have not affected lives. At the end of the essay a conclusion will be formed and an opinion on whether social media has impacted the fabric of everyday life.
One way the use of social media is contributing to digital transformations in the fabric of everyday life is that YouTube is becoming more popular than television. YouTube averages one billion views a day with more than half of YouTube’s views coming from a mobile device and the average viewing time for mobile is around 40 minutes. This statistic portrays how popular YouTube is and by 2025, half of the viewers under 32 will not subscribe to a television service. Looking at that statistic it is proving that social media is constantly growing and therefore impacting the everyday life. Also, YouTube is enabling their audience to engage in the content creator’s life. For example, vloggers on YouTube would put out content for the people that watch their videos, the viewers who would watch their videos would become fully emerged in their life and would feel like they are a part of that person’s life. On the other hand, television is seeing a decrease in viewers, according to an article in the guardian written by Ofcom, the ages 4-15 and 16-24 are watching one-third less broadcast TV as they are switching to online services such as YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, BBC iPlayer and ITV player which are becoming increasing popular. This further illustrates the point of how social media is contributing to digital transformations in the everyday life as individuals are turning to watch things online rather than watch it on television.
Another way the use of social media is contributing to digital transformations in the fabric of everyday life is through memes. Memes are becoming a huge part of the everyday life for people with a social media account. The memes are hugely popular on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Memes provide a lot humour for the people of today’s society and in comparison, in the past this would not have been possible as the ‘technology’ and the editing of these pictures with text was not really possible. Memes are ‘images and text, so there is nothing new there. But the entire social practice around them – the handy image editing, the ‘internet’- humour, and their sometimes-viral spread – could not have happened in, say, 1989’ (Lindgren, 2017, p.295). The spreading of memes across different platforms of social media is truly remarkable compared to the past, which shows just how social media is impacting everyday life. This is evident with the likes of Facebook and Twitter as memes can get 100,000+ retweets and shares on Facebook. One example of a meme that had gone viral on Facebook and Twitter was the ‘Salt Bae’. People would use the picture of the ‘salt bae’ along with a caption. A few examples can be seen below.
Social media is contributing to digital transformations in the fabric of everyday life through selfies. Selfie is defined as ‘a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.’ Since the introduction of smart phones selfies have become more popular than ever, especially with the introduction of Instagram and Snapchat. The popular social media apps that enable selfie posts such as Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat has enabled people to make a living and earn money with a simple post. Who would have thought that posting a selfie and simply tagging someone could make the account holder money. This is because of how people are tagged and how the posts are shared in digital networks. Also in comparison to the past, this would not have been possible due to the lack of digital networks and the lack of technology that had existed. However, the past’s version of selfies would have been self- portraits which could not be shared worldwide. This just shows how social media has changed and how it is contributing to the fabric of everyday life.
Another way social media is contributing to digital transformations in the fabric of everyday life is through trolling and pranks. Trolling and pranks have become a huge sensation that has taken over internet. However, this is not necessarily a good thing because the relative anonymity allows ‘trolls’ to hide behind the internet and send negativity across social media platforms, which then effects people and these people are called cyber bullies. Trolling takes up a huge percentage of the videos on YouTube and the internet and some videos of trolling can get 10+ million views, which would not have been possible in the past due to the lack of technology. In the current society trolling is what people want to see. In contrast to ‘life before internet’ trolling was not a popular as it is now, this is because there was not really any social media platform to share the videos on. The closest thing to going viral with funny clips was ‘You’ve Been Framed’ but that was majority of funny fails and that was also similar to ‘Harry Hills TV Burp’. There is a major contrast between the spread of videos now compared to previous years as social media is becoming more and more accessible to individuals and content is becoming easier to share.
Another way social media is transforming the fabric of everyday life is that dating has changed. Dating 20-30 years ago relied on meeting a person in public and asking them to go on a date with you. Don’t get me wrong this still happens, however, with social media becoming more powerful than ever, you can meet people through dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble. These social media apps let you narrow down your perfect companion. You can save the awkwardness of meeting in person and having nothing in common. Being attracted to someone has never been easier, as you swipe left and right on the phone and you can match with another person if they swipe the same way. The dating apps have helped people who are nervous or don’t have the courage to approach someone in person, which seems to be a major reason why some people prefer finding someone on a social media app rather than in person as it helps them to get to know the person before meeting them face to face, However, a negative side to dating via a social media app is that people could catfish and pretend to be someone else as they could use other people’s pictures and names and this could make people more venerable. In contrast, this would not have happened 20-30 years ago as people were unable to create fake profiles due to dating apps and online dating being non-existent, but they could lie about their age and name rather than appearance. As of February 2015, it is estimated that Tinder has 50 million users and as of March 2018 it has made 20 billion matches between people.
Another way social media is contributing to digital transformations in the fabric of everyday life is the ability to sell and buy objects via apps and online. One example of this is Facebook’s market place. Facebook market place allows the individual who wants to sell something to list it via Facebook and reach millions of users. In previous years people may have turned to selling their items via car boot sales or auctions but with the advanced growth of technology and social media people are able to sell things within a few clicks of a button and without leaving the comfort of their own home.
Another way social media is transforming the fabric of everyday life is that communication has significantly changed and improved. 50- 100 years ago sending letters across the country or abroad was the best way to communicate with another person that was not with you. However, with the advancement of technology you can sit in your home and video call another person in another country. One online service and app that enables this to happen is Skype. Skype allows you to see another person via a video call within a different country. The change in technology has definitely helped people who have family in other countries that they are unable to see due to the lack of finance to travel. As a result of this, it would allow people to have communication with others that they would never see. Also, the introduction to online services and apps like Skype have also helped businesses. Businesses who have not got time and money to fly around the world to conduct meetings can arrange a meeting via Skype and talk business over a video call. As of November 2017, Skype has 300 million monthly users, 1 billion downloads and the total number of minutes users spend on Skype is 3 billion minutes per day. These statistics prove that Skype is a great form of communication.
On the other social media may not be transforming the fabric of everyday life as the older generation tend to stay away from social media. For the majority of older generation that do not use social media and technology their life has not been impacted the way that the younger generation’s lives would be. The older generation tend to stay away from the gadgets and the internet as the vast majority do not know to use the online platforms, so they would still operate the way they would have back in the 1940’s- 1960’s.
In conclusion, social media is changing the fabric of everyday life as technology is becoming more advanced year after year. Social media is providing a platform for creators to express themselves and it allows them to create a following which allows them to earn money to make a living. The fact that some people are earning money by posting pictures on social media platforms like Instagram and snapchat also makes it seem like a job which therefore is transforming the fabric of everyday life. Also, in my opinion social media is contributing to digital transformations in the fabric of everyday life as it is changing lives and changing the way that media is presented which is a lot better than just seeing things on mainstream media. The majority of the younger generation when they first wake up check their mobile phones or laptop and look at what is happening on their social media. This just proves that social media is taking over the lives of people and is having a positive impact on lives as it is spreading laughter and joy.
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