I’ve heard countless stories of how social media can have a negative effect on people. Especially teenagers and children. And I agree with a lot of those stories.
Social media allows humans to do things that maybe humans were never supposed to do. You can open an app, create some content, and almost instantaneously interact with millions of people.
People you don’t know, and may never meet. People whom you’re giving information about your life that maybe they shouldn’t have.
Is this really an ability that humans are supposed to pursue?
I do think that social media can have an adverse effect on a lot of people. The fact that most people don’t want to discuss though, is that it all goes back to how social media was presented to you.
I don’t think a lot of young people where introduced to social media properly and I also don’t think a lot of young people understand what the internet really is.
I can’t count the number of times I heard of someone posting a photo on one app, and being surprised when they find it on another. Or being surprised when they find their photo on a foreign website. Too many people just don’t know what the internet really is.
What is the Internet?
The standard definition of the internet is: a vast global network that connects computers systems all over the world.
My favorite definition of the internet is: a service immune to distance.
The reason why I prefer my definition of the internet is because it puts me in a better mindset to remember how I’m supposed to be using it. It is a service I should use in order to get things done faster.
It is not the internets job to keep me safe. It’s not its job to make me happy, it’s not a game, it’s not here to make me smile, or make me money. It’s here to create a system of faster service.
What is Social Media?
The standard definition of social media is: websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.
My preferred definition of social media is: a marketing tool.
I believe that one of the main reasons social media has an adverse effect on people is because they forget or they don’t realize, that they’re currently using a marketing tool.
It’s hard to even blame a lot of people for not realizing because a lot of other forms of media make it more obvious that you’re being marketed to. When it’s time for a commercial you get a pause, a different sound, different lighting in the video, that classic commercial voice-over voice.
When you’re scrolling through the internet on social media you tend to not realize as quickly. Why? because you’re scrolling through a service designed to market to you as quickly as possible. An hour of 30 second to 1 minute videos could very possibly mean you just consumed over 60 advertisements.
But a lot of people don’t look at it this way. They only consider something an advertisement when they see “promoted” or “ad” or “featured” beside a piece of content.
I try to look at social media on the internet as a fast marketing tool designed to market to you faster.
As a person who also uses social media like the average person, this mindset helps to keep me sane whenever I see something can gives me anxiety or fills me with fear or even makes me smile.
I remind myself that if I take a message to heart, then the app’s marketing messaging has worked. Which can be a good or a bad thing, but internalizing that message should be up to me, not them.
How Should You Be Using Social media?
One of the biggest reasons a social media app is free is because that removes a barrier to entry. And if that social media app can get people onto their app as soon as possible, the quicker they can start their monetization process. The quicker they start monetizing, the quicker businesses can pay for ads. The quicker that happens, the quicker the app developers get rich.
The thing a lot of people don’t realize, is that they’re supposed to be using social media the same way that businesses do.
Don’t let the marketing tool use you. You use the marketing tool.
It’s supposed to cost you thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to speak to your audience. And a lot of people, especially young people, don’t realize that.
The ability to pick up a device that lives in your pocket, deliver a message, and gain followers who you can then sell products to, in order to make a living, all for free, is a capitalist dream.
If used properly, social media platforms can be amazing tools. Tools that help you reach out to your audience. Tools that help you sell products in ways you never believed. Tools that allow you to build connections and relationships with strangers.
We just have to keep reminding ourselves of how we’re supposed to be using social media, not how we’ve been taught to.
Here’s a list of free marketing tools to help you build an audience.