In recent years social media has become the first sight for many of us in the morning. We wake up; check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms, unconsciously consuming social news and world headlines. As a part of one of the last generations that recall the dial up internet, there are a few major headlines that stick out to me which reinforce how social media and technology has skyrocketed in recent years. I discovered the deaths of Michael Jackson, the Pope and most recently Robin Williams on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 10 years ago, these social stories would not have been publicized at such depth with the world’s opinions in view. Anyone can see anything and a spark for a debate, discussion, controversy or buzz is a tweet away. However this begs the question; is this ruining us, or just preparing us for what’s to come?
Now ask yourself, when did you last pick up your phone? Are you consuming my words through your phone, or am I prompting you to look at your device after reading this? The next question I have is what do you do when you pick up your phone? With many it’s a social media app or a way in communicating with others and gaining insight into ‘what’s happening’. Looking around in my current view, I see other tapping away at their phones and no doubt they are in communication via a social app.
When looked at in this sense it seems that social media is the preeminent form of communication in our time. It’s also regarded as a positive force for the world of businesses, branding, marketing and (most relevant to this discussion), news.
Platforms such as Twitter have in the past been the first call for breaking news. Twitter mentions, replies and retweets make news travel faster than the news team at CNN when rushing to a location. More significantly, those involved in these breaking stories have been seen to turn to the social platforms for help and rescue. One incident in particular which took place in Japan saw Twitter being used as a tool to help rescue people. Doctors Yuichi Tamura and Keiichi Fukuda used Twitter to send tweets to 60 patients. These tweets explained where the victims could obtain refills of medicine. Recently social media is being taken on by healthcare services to contact patients. It can therefore be argued that social media platforms are being used to save lives amongst many other uses. The world of social media through numerous devices is increasing and every company/service is looking at ways that they can create their online presence. Considering how many of us look at our phone on a daily basis, this market is ripe for the picking.