Since the past two decades, social media has become an integral part of our daily lives. Billions of people use social media for communication and entertainment. From about 970,000 users in 2010, nearly 2.44 billion people have been using social media in 2018*. Here’s a fact: Every minute, people send out 30 million messages on Facebook and nearly 350,000 tweets**. Clearly, social media has immense reach and influence on people of all walks of life.
Our love for social media has not just changed the way we communicate, but also the way we do business. The use of social media for promoting business is a relatively new but rapidly productive way to get in touch with customers across the globe.
Let us look at some of the ways in which social media is slowly but surely changing the way the world functions:
1. A Vital Component of Businesses
Irrespective of industry or sector, social media is now an important component of any business – to share updates, to get feedback, to learn opinions and to make important announcements.
As a result, social media skills are not considered niche anymore. In fact, many organizations have a dedicated team to handle digital marketing and media- based customer service.
2. High Future Potential for Banking
Today, we use social media for casual interaction and knowledge. Imagine a time when you can pay your bills or transfer money through your favourite social media site. Experts predict that it might not be too long before that is made possible. Since social media already has a positive impact on banking relationships and improved customer service.
New financial technology organizations are already enabling customers to easily and quickly open bank accounts through social media. In the future, it will be possible to instantly transfer money or get a loan in a matter of minutes through the same channels. The major challenge of allowing banking services through social media would, of course, be it privacy and security.
For this, banks and financial companies should implement the most stringent and sophisticated social media policies.
3. Remote Medical Assistance
Like many other sectors, the healthcare industry has also experienced the benefits of using social media. Public health campaigns receive better response through social media than through any other means at a fraction of the cost or time. Virtual doctor visits through Skype have benefited patients while also saving doctors time. Health officers can also quickly convey information about epidemics in regions and offer details about symptoms, precautions and treatment methods. It must be noted that for the health industry, social media industry can be a two-way street.People who are not experts in the field sometimes circulate incorrect and potentially dangerous information to the public and create panic.
If the health industry has plans to develop social media as an important tool, it is important to counter and respond immediately to misinformation and direct people only to trustworthy places for getting the correct details.
4. Social Media for Effective Governance
One of the biggest benefits of social media is the increase in civic participation and engagement of youth and the older population in matters regarding governance. It allows citizens of each country to not only interact with like-minded people but also to hear the opinions of the opposite side. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have grown to be places where ideas, plans, and initiatives take root.
Already many political leaders are actively engaged in Twitter and Facebook and interact with people. It is no longer necessary to travel across the country to meet people and learn about their grievances, satisfaction, and criticism.
As with the problems with every other sector, there are problems with social media in terms of governance too. WikiLeaks and other social media are easy platforms for terrorist organizations like ISIS to campaign and recruit candidates mostly through lies and deceit.
5. Better Disaster Response
CrisisMappers Network and Facebook’s Safety Check are two examples of social media sites that provide users in disaster zones important information and alerts.
In fact, it is possible for common people to also post pictures of problems in their locality due to any disaster and warn others. Volunteers with technical knowledge can identify crisis across localities and alert the authorities.
6. Tackle Common World Problems
Today, we’re plagued by many climate-related and social problems like human-trafficking that affects people from all countries. By sharing information and alerts regarding climate change and human rights violation, there is awareness that is created. More importantly, the criminals and wrongdoers are held accountable and their atrocities severely condemned.
It is this capacity of the social media to bring together a large pool of social-minded people that is its strength. It provides way for people to discuss and come up with solutions to address challenges or at least invoke government to take action where needed.