Posted on February 9, 2011
The top 7 ways social media is used for more than just status updates.
Undoubtedly there is at least one person throughout the day I see scouring their social media profile who then chirps up with "Have you seen this bulletin..." or "What's this bra status thing about..."
Now to be fair, the majority are just tutting at someone's soppy status about a loved one or laughing at pictures put up from the weekend before, so it's easy to forget the amount of people on social media sites that use it for more than just socialising.
With the gap between towns, cities and countries now closer than ever, there is no easier way to connect with others anywhere in the world; but the initial idea and what social media was intended for has somewhat changed slightly...Seven: Friends
Whether you have 20 or 500, the number of contacts matters to a lot of people. There are those that endlessly try for more friends or followers (celebrities mainly) but really how many do we actually speak to?
Now I'm sure there are those of you that only have people you actually like and speak to, but one thing is certain, making friends has never been simpler. With many different ways for people to express their opinions it means they have an outlet which makes this easier to do. Of course this can be great for generating a growing community, however on the other side it can also mean many friends, often good ones, are lost.Six: Love
Finding love online is not a new concept but with social media there are far more ways to become more confident in yourself and approach people you never thought you would. With this in mind, it makes it easier for people to be how they wish they could away from the computer and with sites such as Friends Reunited, it means even those people that were once known, can become a big part of a person's life again.
Finding love via social networking seems to be more acceptable than going on a traditional 'dating site', therefore many feel far more confident with openly admitting they met via social networking than they perhaps would a general dating website.
Social media has applications as well as features on profiles that allow others to see whether or not you are attached. Of course, as with anything online you need to stay safe, and most do understand the dangers associated with meeting with someone they've met online.Five: Work/Business
Businesses are jumping on board the bandwagon when it comes to social media and there are a vast amount of pages and profiles created by businesses small and large. But obviously they aren't looking for friends, so what's the purpose?
Social media can have a huge benefit on brand building and gaining exposure for a company. With news feeds being able to be aggregated to a page or profile, it means their friends and followers get instant updates, making it one of the most useful tools online.
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*this is what the bra status thing refers to. People were updating their status with the colour of their bra to raise awareness of breast cancer. Charities often use social media to raise awareness and bring attention to causes that others may not know about. The good thing about this is that people do get on board and are happy to help spread the word for a worthy reason.
A lot of charities are now on some form of social network and it's proving a great way to make people notice what is actually important. Many ignore their friends status' but with something so global that everyone is involved in, it's hard to not get swept up and discover what it's about; a very clever marketing technique.Three: News Reporting
Again, similar to charity, all it takes is for one or two people to update their status or post a link to a news event for the craze to catch on.
Recent incidents in the UK news have been widely exposed on social networks and have gained support and exposure for the issue in question. Social networking allows people who may not be up to date on their current affairs to get involved and become aware of what's going on around them.
Also, social networking has caused various protests and acts as a place people can really share their feelings. With many people willing to participate, it can allow the small person's voice to be heard, and although you wouldn't expect such events to have an effect on 'real' life, this has been proven wrong many times.Two: Gaming
Again, social media wasn't made for the intention of people to log on purely to have a fix of an infectious game. Much like the iPhone, there are many classic games that are now associated to certain social networks.
It has in fact allowed itself to become open to everyone, including those that may not have a particular interest in updating their profile or arranging a night out online. The fact is however, that many people do log on purely for the reason of gaming allowing it to also be of interest to the younger generations.
Gaming is a huge industry and with clever moves made by social networking sites, it's now even harder to get away from. Fortunately, it isn't something compulsory but by having a social network account, you just endure update after update of highest scores.One: Tributes
This ties in nicely as the final point and is also similar to point four and three. Putting something on the internet is like writing in ink; it never goes away. So creating a tribute via social networking site is one way to ensure a loved one is never forgotten.
Again, for those people that you may not speak to on a regular basis, it can bring you together and also allows them to show the appreciation for a loved one. Tributes shouldn't have to cost anything and this can be the ideal way for some to show their feelings and allow those around them to do the same.
So, next time you log online and go to your favourite social networking site, take a look at the power it holds and get involved. It really is a wonder.
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