In early January 2016, Smart Insights released great digital statistics worldwide (Chaffey, 2016), which revealed that social media especially leaded by Facebook have become the symbol of our time. For example, the diagram in the report showed that worldwide active users of Facebook has reached 1,590 million till 2016. People prone to communicate through social media instead of following traditional ways of transmitting messages, such as letters and face-to-face talk, which were apparently time consuming. And messages delivered through this new type of medium has been largely different from those we received from previous eras.
Thanks to the advancement of technologies and the introduction of internet to our daily life, our life styles have been greatly altered from the way our old generation followed in previous eras. The most obvious changes can be identified in our transportation and communication. Apparently, the internet has saved great time for communicators while comparing with the traditional way of communication. For instance, sending an email through internet could save people from wasting up to one month to send a letter to a receiver living in another city. However email just changed people’s communication methods, which affects mostly on people’s communication frequency due to the slow transmission of messages. While the great changes can be seen from mass communication. With the use of internet and social media, the message receiving audience has been potentially expanded, and there are increased interaction between message communicators and audiences. It is totally different from our previous communication, where messages were transmitted in a unidirectional way with less or no interaction. Real example can be taken from Bob Cooney’s (Wynne, 2013) contributing work to art promotion, from which he experienced the benefits brought by technologies and social media. Due to technologies and social media, they saved great time and efforts to follow the very traditional way to hand make the posters for a wide variety of causes. Meanwhile, nowadays, social media has been vastly used in business, for example, most companies started to take advantage of blogs and posts to promote their new products and services. As suggested by Safko (2010), social media has become the bible for business strategies for success. It is believed social media is defining our time now.
In addition to its great impacts on business, social media has changed the way of our personal communication. Indicated by Hanna, Rohm and Crittenden (2011), people from every corner of the world can be connected, which reveals the power of social media ecosystem. Examples can be seen from the magic power created by Facebook, with the introduction of Facebook, people created their own virtual community, where people become friends without considering the background of communicators. Besides, other social media, such as Instagram, WeChat, and LinkedIn have enabled people to communicate in more diverse ways. Take communication in Instagram as a typical example, messages transmitted are not limited to words anymore, photos, pictures and videos could be shared among users. And with the integration of LinkedIn, job hunting has been greatly different from traditional ways. And job information were shared in a more effective way.
Basing on the above argument, it is believed that social medial, with its great impact to our current communication, has become a symbol defining our time. And with the use of social media, messages are transmitted in a brand new way which is greatly different from those we used in previous eras.
Chaffey, D 2016, Global social media research summary 2016, Smart Insights, viewed viewed 30 Aug. 2016, <http://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-strategy/new-global-social-media-research/>
Hanna, R., Rohm, A. and Crittenden, V.L., 2011. We’re all connected: The power of the social media ecosystem. Business horizons, 54(3), pp.265-273.
Safko, L., 2010. The social media bible: tactics, tools, and strategies for business success. John Wiley & Sons.
Wynne, E 2013, Mass communication before social media: celebrating the hand-made poster, ABC News, viewed 30 Aug. 2016, <http://www.abc.net.au/local/videos/2013/08/06/3819549.htm>