Undeniably, Social Media today is already an integral part of the lives of millions of people worldwide. In fact, it has become so popular that it is already integrated in many aspects of our lives, changing the way how we interact with people and how we communicate with one another. Likewise, Social Media made it possible for companies and brands to talk to their audience directly using several online tools and strategies. These tools make it possible for companies and brands to communicate with the right market easily with very minimal cost.
The appeal of Social Media is also clear; it is a venue for ideas, information, and values, formed by people who also want to share their knowledge through text, videos, and other related files and content. Social Media makes it easier for people to keep in touch with one another, or for people to make new friends. This is done in a venue where they can transmit and pass information to one another.
But why do people use Social Media? What motivates a person to sign up in websites such as Twitter or Facebook, to visit sites such as YouTube? Here a number of reasons why people use Social Media. It should be noted, however, that the reasons are not limited to these; after all, there are as many reasons as there are people.
1. Keep in touch with friends. Social Media websites such as Facebook and Twitter make it easier for you to keep in touch with a number of your friends who are also members of these websites. Not only do they have instant messaging functions which enables you to send messages instantly to your friends; these websites also have features such as Notes (where you can post content) and Journals (or blogs). These features let members write down and publish whatever is happening to them at the moment. If you want to let your friends know that you passed your examinations, you got your dream job, or you lost your mobile phone on your way to work, certain functions in Facebook or Twitter will enable you to inform your friends easily.
2. Make new friends. Of course, members of Social Media websites are not limited to your friends; these websites have millions of members around the world, and their features make it easy for you to communicate and, in a way, mingle with them through a number of programs within the website. There are also Social Media websites that function especially as an online dating website.
3. Peer pressure. If a number of your friends are members of these websites, it is apparently that you will be forced to join the Social Media website yourself sooner or later. This is especially true if your friends bombard you with several invites. After some time, you will give in to the pressure, especially if a lot of people in your immediate circle are members of these sites and you begin to feel left out since you cannot relate with their online activities.
4. Determine if the rest of the site is worthwhile. According to a number of studies, many members of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook spend countless of hours exploring the site just to see if the rest of the site is worth visiting. This applies when these members have stumbled upon a feature in the site which they think is worthwhile or useful. In the same way, although their use of the site is limited, they continue to be members because of this minor function. In essence, even if these social media sites have minimal usefulness for a number of people, they will continue to use the site no matter how minimal its usage is.
5. Interact with and to observe different types of people. This is different from item number two, where the site is used mainly to make friends. Here, people use these social media sites to watch people. Due to the characteristics of networking sites, it is possible to do a number of things people may not be able to do in real life. This can be considered as a form of exhibitionism, and the inner voyeur in us can’t help but look, stare, watch, and follow the happenings in the lives of other people. This is usually why a number of blogs have huge followings, even if these sites are very personal in nature.
6. Express creativity. Not everyone can be a photographer or a graphic designer in real life. It takes a certain amount of talent to become a published writer. And it certainly takes a lot more than guts to become a musician. But social media makes it easier for members to post their creative photographs, literary or any written work, or musical compositions, bypassing certain gatekeepers such as editors and the likes.
7. Receive validation. In relation to the previous item, people use social media sites to get praises and validation for their work, their knowledge, and even their lives. Other members can post comments on videos posted on YouTube, or pictures posted of Instagram, and those responsible for the content relish on these comments, something they cannot easily get in real life, outside the realms of the online world.
8. Be part of a community. Normally, if you’re a fan of a television show or band, or a basketball team, you want to interact with other people with the same interest or affinity. This is made easier with social media. Members can create groups and start discussions related to their interest and affinity. This gives the members a sense of affinity, since they are part of community or a circle where they know they belong, although only online.