2010-2019 – When Social Media Redefined Networking
At the turn of this decade, Facebook and Twitter were in play. The former was used largely to reconnect with old friends and playing Farmville while the latter was a mystery as nobody quite knew how to have a conversation in 140 characters. Users signed up on recommendations from friends and brands were just waking up to the power of social promotion.
A decade later, the social space is choc-a-bloc with players, ranging from Instagram to Snapchat and WhatsApp with a few others such as Pinterest struggling to find a foothold. However, there is no mistaking that social platforms have converted our lives into open books whose pages are available for brands to directly reach out with their products and services.
With 1.65 billion active monthly users, Facebook is an entire nation in itself and affects both businesses and consumers alike. Such was the power that Facebook had over brands that it acquired Instagram and WhatsApp thus creating a staggering user-base that proves irresistible to businesses across the world.
While individuals are busy sharing thoughts, pictures, memes, shopping information, travel guides and plain vanilla news on the platform, the brains behind them are scraping data, analyzing them and serving up ads that are as minutely targeted as they can get, resulting in robust revenues and an authority that could be misused and has been so.
Neuroscientists suggest that the human desire to share thoughts affects the same nodes in the brain that is affected by food and wealth. They proved through research that more than 80% of social media posts are announcements of personal experiences, which is what marketers have targeted and connected to brands seeking to get leads.
In recent times, both businesses and politicians have used this effectively to communicate and listen to their respective audiences though it also brought about questions of ethics as none of these platforms verify the veracity of content that gets posted. Which brought to fore Deep Fakes, Fake News and other such challenges that the companies are now fighting, mostly unsuccessfully.
Experts believe, 2020 will be the year when more brands would work on improving their tone of voice and the authentic presence that sets them apart from their competitors. For the enterprise, the earlier you jump on a popular social channel, the higher the chances for your brand to be among the early case studies.
However, to be on a social platform, one would continue to be ready for surveillance, either by those whose platform that one is on or by governments seeking to listen surreptitiously to conversations that could bring about some security issues.