It’s undeniable that social networking has drastically changed the way we communicate and connect with one another. Twenty years ago, the only way you made friends and new connections was through neighbors, church, your work or school, or other social gatherings. Even ten years ago, social media was nothing but a budding trend. Although those are still ways that individuals can make new connections, it is no longer the main way. Today, social networking contributes dramatically to the way we communicate and meet others. Whether you are aware or not, it has forever changed our lives as we know it.
1. Almost everyone you know uses them.
You might be thinking to yourself “duh,” but this is a bigger deal than you might initially notice. Think about ten years ago, or even only five. Was nearly every single one of your friends signed up for multiple social sites? What about just one site? Your answer is probably drastically different than it would be today. Today, nearly every single person I know- senior citizens included- have at least one account. I would go as far as to say that everyone I know that’s my age has at least three. Nearly everyone and their mothers at least knows what Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are, if not uses them too. In fact, it’s practically taboo not to have a Facebook in 2015. A recent demographic study found that 62% of America’s adult population uses Facebook. And we’re not just talking young adults. You might be surprised to learn that 64% of adults aged 50 to 64 and 48% of those 65 and older use Facebook. This drives home my point that today, everyone uses social networking. It’s not just tech geeks, or young people, or super social people – it’s everyone.
2. You are constantly connected to your friends, family, acquaintances- heck the entire world.
As soon as you open your social media sites on your phone or computer, you are instantly connected to millions of users. You can see what someone is doing within seconds of doing it. You can interact with someone from across the globe within seconds. In an instant, you can share pictures, opinions, and messages with anyone you want. These are all things that were unheard of only a couple of decades ago. The realm of social networking is so unique when compared to our actual face-to-face interactions. Unfriending, hashtagging, friend requests, and following are the ways of life on social media sites. This leads to social media etiquette and norms that were nonexistent before social networking became a way of life. For example, if a guy you have a crush on friend requests you- that is a sign that they are totally interested. Or if your frenemy unfollows you on Instagram, that is a total diss. You “like” people’s pictures as a sign of friendliness, and you don’t “like” their pictures if you’re trying to prove a point. People go as far as to post quotes, memes, and statuses that are indirectly directed to individual people. All of these examples goes to show how the things that happen on the internet are directly tied into our actual lives off the internet.
3. People brand themselves, sell themselves and create an identity through social networking.
The first thing that might have popped into your head upon reading this is all those Instagram models. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, let me humor you. What is “trending” right now on Instagram is a huge population of girls who are technically not contracted models, but who post pictures from unprofessional photo shoots. These girls have thousands of followers and sometimes even get noticed by modeling agencies. Another huge social media trend right now is fitness accounts. Many people who are really into fitness will have their personal account, and then their fitness account that features recipes, workouts, and progress pictures. Anyways, the point here is people use social media networking to market themselves and create an internet identity. Today, nearly every celebrity has a presence on social media sites, and the messages they send through them is unique.
For example, if you go on Lauren Conrad’s Instagram, you will see she only posts pictures with pastel hues, and rarely posts pictures of herself. Her feed consists of fashion, food, nature, and her dogs. This indirectly might cause us to look at Lauren as a down-to-earth, interesting and simple person. In comparison, if you go to Kim Kardashian’s account, you will see a polar opposite feed. Kim constantly posts pictures of herself and uses her accounts to promote her businesses and other companies that pay her for the promotion. This indirectly might cause us to view Kim as narcissistic and opportunistic. Branding yourself on social media isn’t only for famous people, nearly everyone does it in some way or another. How do you choose what you post on your accounts versus what you don’t? Without even thinking about it, you probably choose the pictures and statuses you post because of they way that you hope it portrays you.
4. Social networking can land you jobs and relationships.
The days of mailing your resume to businesses is a thing of the very distant past. Nearly every professional in 2015 has a Linkedin account, and if you don’t, you should sign up right now. Linkedin is the most successful business-oriented social networking site to date. It serves as a networking tool to connect with fellow professionals in the hopes of getting a job, or finding someone to fill a job opening. Users create profiles that serve as a virtual resume and “connect” with others like how Facebook “friends” others. Company recruiters use Linkedin as a tool to reach out to potential job candidates and post job openings. Linkedin has a whopping amount of 380 million worldwide users, 107 million of those in the U.S.
Not only can social networking build one’s professional relationships, but it can also build your romantic ones. Dating sites are huge right now, and with the amount out there, there’s bound to be one that’s right for everyone. From FarmersOnly.com to WealthyMen.com to casual sex dating apps such as https://justbang.com, the amount of specific online dating sites is almost humourous. Laughing aside, meeting your significant other from networking online is something quite spectacular. If your love life is nonexistent because of lack of time, a shy personality, or simply the fact that you don’t know where to begin, dating sites would be perfect for you.
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