Celebrating Social Media Day 2019

by Ayeshni Wickramasinghe30th June 2019

Illustration

As a company focused on providing marketing solutions for those using Social Media, the 30th of June is pretty important to us.

That's right, it's the ninth annual Social Media Day!

It is no longer a question whether you use social media, but rather, why and how you use it. Are you someone who browses the internet for your daily dose of dank memes? Do you like to keep up with the lives of your favourite celebrities? Or do you browse through virtual shops looking for your next purchase?

Whatever it is that you do, you have to admit, the way you consume content has definitely changed over time. You probably made your Facebook account to stay in touch with your friends, but I'm sure you've fallen through the rabbit-hole of watching funny video after funny video at some point.

The way that the world reacts to social media has also been a rollercoaster. I remember the time when only 'unproductive' people browsed social media. Sure, there's an addictive quality to some of these apps, but there are people now whose livelihood depends on social media. Ourselves included.

We've been through a lot this past year. With different governments voicing their opinions and some political figures openly abusing the platforms, we've seen some things.

Regardless, we've decided to reminisce, and take a trip down memory lane.

A little bit of History

Illustration

Started by Mashable in 2010, Social Media Day was started as a way to recognize and celebrate social media’s impact on global communication.

Overtime, the number of people using social media have skyrocketed. Especially during the last few years, we've seen more businesses and brands embrace the idea of social media.

To get this in numbers' perspective, below is a graph from Statista showing how many active users there are on each social media platform.

Illustration


The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


To be super duper frank with you, I'm going to break this blog post into 03 sections and talk about the reality behind the platforms we have come to love.

It's not always sprinkles and rainbows here on the internet. Everything's usually a bitter pill heavily sugarcoated. I want to dive deep into the different aspects of social media so at the end of the day, we're looking at the big picture with X Ray glasses, seeing it for what it is.


The Good


Illustration


Keeping in touch
The original reason why social media was built. It's great for keeping in touch with that friend who moved abroad and is doing great things with their life. 
If you're someone with a friend group, you know the bittersweet feeling of trying to get everyone to agree on time to meet. Or if you have colleagues you like, you know how fun it is to be part of the 'cool' group chat. 
I hope you have a supportive friend circle that's just on the other side when you need them, and let's be real, we all need a little bit of validation in life. 
Building businesses
With the rise of Social Media, we've seen more entrepreneurs share their struggles and the endurance it took to build an empire. With inspiring stories being so easily accessible, its all you need to take that leap of faith and start that business.
There are so many entrepreneurs who have build successful brands while completely reliant on social media, which used to be a terribly difficult thing to do. The mindset of making a website, setting up e-commerce stores and getting started is no longer such a big deal when you can simply set up an Instagram account. 
At the time Daniel Wellington was founded, there was a void in the marketing strategies of their established competitors: social media. Their campaign was built around actively getting influencers with lots of followers to showcase their watches. While this is a widely used strategy now, it was cutting-edge at the time.
MVMT for example, was founded with the idea of selling stylish, inexpensive watches to millennials. In five years, they built a business with $80 million in sales, creating a playbook for a successful digital-only brand.
From communicating with consumer to sharing your journey to the top, Instagram and Facebook Live have been game changers. 
Sellers in Thailand have been capitalizing on Facebook Live, auctioning products, showcasing the products they're selling and answering questions in real-time. Read this interesting article on ECommerce IQ to learn more.
Story Telling
Creativity is very in demand at the moment, and social media has given rise to breathtaking photography and storytelling from all over the world.
Whether you are an Instagram model, a YouTuber or a Tik Toker (yes, that's a thing now) anyone with a small camera and good eye can become a creator. With Social Media we get to see the different perspectives of people, stories that we can relate to and people with shared interests, that we normally wouldn't see.
In the wise words of Casey Neistat, "The dichotomy of YouTube from a creative perspective is that it incubates creativity in a way that no platform has ever incubated creativity before, because it enables anyone to build an audience. Now anyone doing anything can build an audience."
Freedom of Speech
In a time where everyone has an opinion, social media gives you the perfect outlet to make a stance and find people who believe in the same things you do. It has helped ordinary people find the voice of reason where traditional media is completely biased towards one side of the story.
Movements such as #metoo and Time's Up are examples of where social media was used to hold abusers accountable for their actions.


The Bad


Illustration

Cyber Bullying
Most of us have experienced cyber bullying to some degree. Whether it's an ex threatening to leak your photos or someone blackmailing you with screenshots of a conversation you regret, at some point you're bound to have been gripped with that fear of exposure and humiliation.
The problem with an outlet such as social media is that, sure it's great for keeping in touch with people you don't meet often, but anything controversial will also spread like wildfire. Besides, it's not just your friends and family who can see these posts. Complete strangers can also put in their two cents.
If you've watched the Black Mirror series on Netflix, you might have seen "Hated in the Nation", a gruesome episode that focuses on cyber bullying. **Spoilers ahead**
The story revolves around a number of grotesque deaths caused by tiny robot honeybees which were initially made to fill the ecological gap after the extinction of real honeybees. They have been hacked to cause specific deaths, triggered by the #DeathTo hashtag in a 'Game of Consequences'. The episode critiques our collective willingness to cyber bully without a second thought, among other things.
Spreading of Negative Messages
Ideals are everywhere on social media. We are supposed to look a certain way, live a certain lifestyle and behave a certain way, when in reality these ideals are far from practical.
Harassment online may take different forms. A very personal take on harassment is fat shaming or bias against sexual orientation. There can also be the spreading of fake news to undermine someone or harm their reputation. Physical threats and stalking are also very common.
For some reason, lies and negativity tend to get more of a spotlight online. We're more likely to believe something controversial and wrong as opposed to something good.
Social Pressure
When a friend or someone you regard a role model does something cool and reckless online, you're usually tempted to try it out for yourself. 
YouTube personalities who have based their brand on being as controversial as possible can inspire young users to experiment with these things. David Dobrik for example has a flamethrower that he likes to point and shoot at his friends, and experiments with dangerous stunts on the daily. 
Young viewers are easily enamoured with the idea of dropping out of school without a second thought. Becoming a YouTube personality or online influencer sounds exciting, but it needs more time and commitment that it looks. Done properly, it's very rewarding but it would be smarter to pursue a career online while also working on a backup plan.


The Ugly


Illustration

Terrorism
Using acts of violence to call attention to their grievances is how terrorists use social media to push their propaganda.
For example, the attack at Christchurch, New Zealand where 49 people lost their lives, was recorded on a GoPro, live-streamed on Facebook and reposted on Twitter and YouTube. Mass media can be used as a tool to broadcast very toxic content quickly and efficiently, since monitoring of everything shared online is a difficult task.
ISIS also relies heavily on videos distributed on social media to recruit supporters. Uploading videos of beheadings, they achieve their goal of scaring the general public in a cheap and efficient way - in real time.
Suicides on Facebook Live
Whether they are accidental, or people sitting down with the intention of having as big an audience as possible, the number of suicides that have been broadcasted live on Facebook have no end. 
While Mark Zuckerberg took to his facebook page to say that he will be employing 3000 individuals to police the content shared on the platform, it is clear that not every video will be prevented from being broadcast.
Invasion of Privacy
You've probably noticed how the ads targeted towards you tend to include items you recently searched for, or from websites you've visited. While it can seem harmless, the fact that your online behaviour is being watched is a little creepy.
Governments have been slyly using your data to push their political campaigns towards a win. A particular head of state who is obsessed with Twitter is said to have used data that was scraped from Facebook to win presidency.
I found this article on The Independent rather interesting.
Plus, it's way too easy for governments to access our data in the name of "security" and encryption is abysmal and we're too blissfully ignorant to understand the risk.


Illustration

In conclusion

There's always two sides to the coin. Nothing is purely good or purely evil.

Social Media has made some amazing things possible, but toxicity loves to creep in and find an outlet wherever it can. The lesson to take away from this blog is to always be smart. Be level-headed when you consume content and always take everything with a grain of salt. It's easy to fake things and sugarcoat lies online, but there's so much you can learn and make use of at the same time.

Giveaway Announcement!

Illustration

We thought about doing something special for Social Media day, so in celebration, we want to share a positive message.
We love businesses who have the best intentions of their consumers in mind. That is why we've collaborated with Hatch, one of the leading coworking spaces in Colombo; Pastamania, where you can enjoy authentic Italian cuisine; and Plushbox, a curated gift-giving service,to put together a gift you will love.
All you have to do is go our Instagram page and follow the rules on the giveaway post!
Good Luck!

Stay up-to-date!

If you want to come with us on our journey and follow our unicorn Alakazam on crazy adventures, sign up for the bi-weekly updates!