The rise of social media has changed the way people communicate and has bridge the gap between different worlds. People are closer more than ever as information can be easily shared on these platforms. It remove the barriers of physical interaction, while enabling a barrier-free environment where users can interact with each other without limitations.
Moreover, it cost nothing to use popular social networking sites out there. All they required is an active data connection, which costs little to nothing in most countries. Apart from providing an environment for users to interact with each other, these social media platforms also offer other services that may be of benefit to their users. For instance, Facebook users can create “Pages” to showcase their works, talents, creativity, and businesses.
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For users that found Pages to be more cumbersome, they can create “Groups” and invite their friends and other Facebook users to join their conversation. This is not limited to Facebook as other online social platforms such as LinkedIn and Telegram offer the same service. While people are given the freedom to express themselves in whatsoever ways they can, it is becoming more apparent that this freedom is being abused.
There are options to post status updates and stories, to comment on posts, and to react to posts made by individuals and pages. The “Like” button provided at the bottom of each user’s post make it easier for users on these platforms to rate the posts and comments they like. But some social networks like Facebook provide additional buttons called “Reactions” that let users better express themselves without commenting on a post.
The Reactions is comprised of six different emoticons (emojis), namely Sad (?), Love (❤️), Wow (?), Haha (?), Care (?), and Angry (?). With these, users can share their thoughts on post or topic posted by other users. Interesting topics or posts tend to get more reactions from users on these platforms; while those that agree with the poster may use the “Like”, “Love”, and “Care” reactions to express themselves, critics can use the “Angry” button to show their negative thoughts without having to comment on the post.
On LinkedIn, users can also comment on each other posts, and there is also a “Like” button to rate the poster. In addition to “Like” button, there are also Celebrate (?), Love (❤️), Insightful (?), and Curious (?) buttons. LinkedIn called these “Reactions” and it worked pretty the same way it does on Facebook. I won’t fail to mention Twitter; while it is also a social networking site where people can share their thoughts and ideas, communicate with each other, and express their opinions, it work differently.
Twitter only provides a single button beneath each tweet, Love (❤️). There is no room for “quick hate” or a button that will make you vex your anger to the poster in one tap, unlike Facebook. Users can retweet a tweet that they found interesting, and can also comment on the tweet of the tweeter. Twitter is different in the sense that users are only allowed to write not more than 280 characters in each tweet, although they are allowed to write up to 10,000 characters in a direct message (DM).
There are plenty others like WhatsApp, Instagram, Telegram e.t.c with different rules, functionalities, and features. The world is now closer more than ever! The people in South Korea can communicate with people in Canada freely without lapses, hiccups or whatever. We have dedicated video conferencing apps like Skype, Twitch, and Zoom that make it easier for live group discussions for companies and businesses, while individuals can use WhatsApp for video chat.
Each company has its own terms, policy, and conditions to guide people on “what” and “what not” to do on its platform. Of course, these platforms were not built without a price. To build and maintain these platforms attract a lot of money. Even though we are not required to pay any fees to use most of these sites, they have their means of turning our devoted time on their platforms into profit. It’s a win-win.
The current pandemic does not break us all apart because these social media platforms are there to fill the gap – they act as webs that connect us to one another. It’s a good thing that we have them. They have their dark sides, I agree, but their benefits are also of importance and cannot be under-appreciated, especially at this time. Europeans know what is going on in Canada in real-time without having to turn on their TVs because they fill the gap.
The world has moved online – all media, businesses, corporations, companies, enterprises, and others (including SMEs and individuals) now actively use social media to promote their products and services online. The products are closer to the consumers more than ever, and not only to certain country or region, but to people all around the world. In conclusion, it benefits us. It benefits each individual and not just certain group of people or company. Social media is for all of us.