Social media refers to a group of computer-mediated systems that allow for exchange of information, ideas, personal interest and other forms of expression via networks. Social media encompasses various forms of interactive interfaces that make it easy to communicate, share information both print and visual. Social media systems use the internet as a provider service to allow for interconnection between various individuals within a wide area. Most applications of social media are web-based and users are able to create personal accounts, groups and business platforms. Individuals are able to generate comments and make posts through these accounts and in the process communication is enhanced (Partridge, 2011). The question that arises is on the change that social media has brought.
Social media has brought a paradigm shift in the communication sector not only by establishing efficient communication platforms but also by ensuring convenience in communication. Today, people are able to communicate efficiently at a cheaper price regardless of distance as opposed to the year before social media came to light. Whereas interpersonal communication has been enhanced, businesses have also resorted to the use of social media not only to market their products but also to sell their products.
It is important to note that social media differs from traditional media in several ways. Paper–based media and televisions are indifferent top social media in terms of quality, speed and permanence of information transmitted. Social media eases the communication processes between individuals and also the speed at which communication can be made. Today it is very easy to inform a big population of people an issue of concern within seconds due to social media as opposed to traditional media that work based on timelines.
Social media operates using a wide range of websites. Some of the most common websites are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+ etc. These websites have millions of subscribers and at any one point in time, millions of users use this sites. Observations have been made on the danger and benefits of social media. Governments, corporations, non-governmental organizations learning institutions have embraced the use of social media for communication purposes and its benefits cannot be underestimated. However, issues have arisen of depression, cyberbullying, cyber trolling and social media harassment and these are some of the dangers of social media. Today the obsession to social media in the United States has rose from 66% to 102%. This means that the use of social media is becoming inevitability in the current world.
Business organization and corporations, however, have used social media to expand horizons through improved reputation and efficient communication to customers who find it easy to deal with business organization via online platforms. They not only reduce the costs of operation but also increase their popularity base through adverts and this is a good thing for any business. In this regard, it is important to understand that social media as a communication platform has not only improved personal communication processes but also businesses across the globe because it is easier today to carry out international business via online platforms than before. Social media plays a critical role in the management and running of international businesses. Marketing is one aspect that has embraced social media in its entirety. Most business use social media platforms for marketing and even sales. Some of the social media sites also have rewarding systems for subscribers which makes it a hub for earning for some individuals. An example is YouTube.
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