Social media technologies are computer-assisted technologies that facilitate the creation and exchange of information, ideas, career interests, and other forms of expression through virtual communities and networks. They ease the development of social networks on the internet by linking the profile of the user with other profiles of individuals or groups.
Social media technologies have a history dating back to 1970. The variety of emerging social media services poses a challenge to the definition of social media. The idea that social media is determined by its ability to unite people is seen as a very broad definition because the terminology is unclear with some referring to social media as social networks. Social media technologies take different forms, including blogs, business networks, enterprise social networks, forums, microblogs, photo sharing, product/service reviews, social games, and so on.
Social media is created to be used by people to socialize with others. Later on, businesses have also used social media as a new method of communication to reach consumers in a faster and easier way. The power of social media is the ability to connect and exchange information with everyone in the world as long as they use the same forms of communication.
Apart from the use as a communication tool and socialization among people, social media plays a very important role when talking about business support. Social media facilitates business communication with clients by enabling the union of social interactions in e-commerce sites. Also, the ability of social media to gather information helps market research and business marketing. Social media help in the promotion of business products and services.
Over one-fifth of the time, online of an individual is spent on social media. In 2005, the percentage of adults using social media was about 5%. Globally, there are about 1.96 billion social media users. This number is expected to grow to 2.5 billion by the end of 2018. According to the Pew Research Center, social media users tend to be younger (around 90% of people aged 18-29 use at least a form of social media), more educated and relatively wealthier (gaining over $ 75,000 a year).
Even though social media plays a very positive role overall, excessive use is compared to addiction and contributes to increased stress and distraction. Also, this overuse is often associated with depression. Social media can also be used as a channel to distribute fake news as documented in the 2016 US presidential election.