Why is it that so many people are drawn to social networking?
Media has always drawn in people, and social networking is also considered ‘social media’. Unlike other forms of media though, social media does not perform for the user. Rather, the user creates and maintains the media. So again I inquire, why is it that people are drawn to social media as if it were an addiction?
Compared to other forms of media, such as film or music, the user acts more as the director, screenwriter and musician. Rather than enjoying the leisure of watching a movie or listening to a favorite artist, social media actually forces the user to continuously work. Compared to other forms of social communication, such as speaking face-to-face or on the phone, social media is very hands on and exhausting.
Instead of being able to quickly discuss content with someone in person or on the phone, users must create sites with their information and maintain and update them as changes occur in their lives. Not to mention how many social media platforms exist and one can have an account for; users must recreate themselves with each new network they join.
So one last time I ask. Why so social?
In fact, if social networking were to be compared to anything it should be marketing!
As defined by Merriam-Webster, Marketing is:
1) The act or process of selling or purchasing in a market
2) The process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service
3) An aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer.
Comparing social media to marketing is a much simpler process. To mirror networks with the above definition you must envision everyone’s social lives on one field or in one ‘market’. The social network is much like a social market because it is a way of displaying oneself to others, or ‘marketing’ oneself. There is a certain process and an acquired technique to social media marketing and instead of being for leisure it is actually becoming a necessity today. So now this brings us to the question…
Why has everyone become marketers?
Marketing establishes goods and services as unique and needed, so it is no wonder why people have become so obsessed with marketing themselves. In such a fast paced real world, the cyber world allows users to keep up with their personal lives and update themselves to friends, family and other assorted online acquaintances.
Compared to technology use, social media use is much like the digital divide. Since it has become such a necessity, to fall behind divides those that are still maintaining their social lives and those that are not. Instead of being divided by those that have the ability to use it and not, networking is divided between those that are willing to update and those that are not willing (or those that do not matter in this culture shift).
For example, think about whenever the phone was first commercialized and every household had one. Being the one household without a house phone is like not having a social network. More specifically, think about how important cell phones are to the society today. Not updating or having a social media or social marketing device is like not having a personal phone.
Though it makes sense, it is still very interesting that marketing has gone from a professional career to a daily necessity in everyone’s lives. The era of considering any social encounter or action as anything other than a form of marketing yourself is over. Social media is the pinnacle of this marketing era.