Social Media Day 2015: How social media has changed our lives, for better and worse

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Remember when Facebook was only for college students? When the only sound most Twitter users heard was a cricket chirp?

You may have tried to explain to friends and family why you were suddenly addicted to posting photos with a sepia or black and white filter on something called Instagram. You may have first decried the selfie; now you own a selfie stick.

In 2010, Mashable.com launched Social Media Day (#SMDay). Here is why:

"While every day could essentially be considered Social Media Day, use this holiday to reflect on the opportunities and experiences social media and the digital revolution have given us." - Ryan Lytle, Mashable.com MORE

While it's not exactly a national holiday, there are celebrations--both online and in real life (IRL). The Social Media Club of Kansas City is hosting a Happy Hour, for example. By using the #SMDay hashtag, you'll find social conversations on pretty much every leading platform.

For better and worse

Today there is no doubt about it: social media is part of daily life for most of us. Here's a look at the numbers from the site wearesocial.net.

For better and worse

"How Social Media Has Changed Us: The Good and the Bad," provides a fairly balanced summing up of how we are impacted by social media. Included in the positive column are connectivity to others and access to information. On the negative side of the balance sheet are anonymity, the amplification of ignorance and selfies (which some might disagree with).

Money & marketing

Businesses love social media. Those that "get it," are finding ways to connect with consumers in unprecedented ways. Businesses that see social media a simply a free marketing tool are finding (or soon will) their efforts fall flat. Hootsuite's "10 benefits of social media for business" is a great overview.

Insecurity 

Sharing information about your life or your business can make you vulnerable. Adults (most of us) understand there are benefits and consequences. We have become fairly savvy about protecting ourselves and loved ones, and are increasingly demanding the companies we do business with do the same. 

Still, social media can be a scary world--especially for children. For example, In 82 percent of online sex crimes against minors, the offender used the victim's social media activity to gain information about the victim's likes and dislikes. (Journal of Adolescent Heatlh).

MORE: 7 statistics about online threats to child safety that every parent should know

On the other hand...

Can social media make us better people? That's certainly debatable! Still, there are a number of examples of ways in which the galvanizing function of social media can be a catalyst for good. 

3 examples 

  1. fundraising for disaster victims
  2. getting leaders and officials to listen to us
  3. gaining attention for social causes

POLL You tell us! 

 

 

 

Holly Edgell is Director of Digital Media for 41 Action News. You can connect with her on Twitter: @hollyedgell or email her: holly.edgell@kshb.com.

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