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Why Does Social Media Work?

Social media preying on humanity's flaws

We are all so obsessed with social media today, and different networking sites offer a host of different services dependant on what you use them for. This is all great, and it has helped businesses propel to the top on a limited budget, but whilst all this is going on, no one really stops to ask why. Why does social media work, and how has it had such an immense impact on our society?

social media in society
Source: castleinthepie.com

Many thought it would be just a passing fad, and I for one took this stance in the early days MySpace came and went, as did Bebo, and although these sites were adopting many fans, the honeymoon period soon faded. Today though things have changed dramatically, with more than 500 million people still flocking to sites such as Facebook. Businesses have taken note of this, and they have created online profiles through these sites in order to gain more “Likes” and “followers.”

Again this is a by-product of the success of social media, and these companies need to learn the fundamental reasons behind the roaring success of social media in order to devise a good online strategy. Social media is based on a seemingly unattainable idea of complete connectivity, and this arises from the realisation that real-life social networks are not as efficient in practice as in theory. They are likely to capitulate, as a lot of the time potentially beneficial social interaction does not go the way you would like it to.

There are no signposts on a person in real-life. The woman of your dreams may live on the other side of the world, but then again she may be in the same building as you, but amongst the chaos that is our perceived reality, there is no quick way of telling who is single and who is not. These problems often lead to social failures, because of lack of social norms that don’t allow you to ask the questions you would online. In a way it is quite sad that humanity feels more comfortable then asking the more difficult questions whilst being hidden behind a computer screen.

social media in society
Source: myidealsolutions.com

There is an argument then that social media is a success off the back of humanity’s flaws, and this can be backed up purely by pointing to the ever-growing need for social media. Need, is a carefully picked word in this instance as the desire for social media was once entertainment based. It was seen as a release from reality itself. A place where you and your friends could liaise in the unsociable hours of the day. It was great because it felt new and different to anything else that had preceded it.

In the year 2014, people literally do not know what to do without it. Facebook briefly went down for 30 minutes the day before, and it was reported in the national news. That is quite frankly ridiculous, but it is the world we now live in. People live their lives online now, and the lines between a physical reality and the alternate reality we live online are now so blurred, some people have no idea what is going on. Unfortunately, this is why social media is so successful, because human beings feel like it is a necessity to live. This comes about because social media provides all the answers about all of its users. Where they live, where they went to school, and whether they are in a relationship. This is great for a race of whom a high percentage like to feel safe knowing that they have all the answers, whilst avoiding the larger questions in the world.

Now that it is here, social media is helping no end, especially for businesses, and particularly smaller firms who would not be able to finance traditional marketing schemes. It also helps in criminal investigations, and has aided in many charitable causes.

Overall, the benefits of social media can not be ignored, but there was always a question about why the success came about like it did. The answers seem to create more questions about humanity itself, but for now, whilst it’s here, embrace the positives that social media can provide.


Alex is an English Literature and Sociology undergraduate whose love for written word has led him to write about some obscure topics in his time. Currently a content writer at Social Media Frontiers, be sure to follow him @AlexSatSMF.

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Why Does Social Media Work? Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, June 23, 2014 Rating: 5
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