The trend of ‘social media’ – that all encompassing umbrella term that covers the way people interact online – is well documented, but it is also misleading. The complexity of social media leaves it subject to so many internal trends, upturns, downturns and general tumult that any attempt to describe it as a whole is almost pointless.
These are just a handful of the trends driving social media at the moment; it’s these trends that dictate everything from how many followers you have on Twitter and how many hits your business’ webpage gets to how you engage with films, television and music.
Online life is becoming more like a game every day. Sites like Facebook and Twitter encourage us to gain more friends and followers; the more of each that we acquire the better we are doing in ‘the game’. If your buddy gets a retweet from her favorite celebrity, we instantly feel jealous and angle for a retweet of our own.
The competitive element doesn’t stop here; the inclusion of user leaderboards, exclusive content for highly rated users and other perks that separate the ‘top players’ from the masses are becoming more and more prevalent across the web. Our natural competitive spirit as humans sucks us in and won’t let us go.
We’re not just talking linking your Facebook and Twitter accounts here. We’re talking about content from feedback forms in restaurants and hotels being published on billboards in Times Square, excepts from RSS feeds included in podcasts and live broadcasts; anything that disseminates information in the most efficient way possible and across the biggest number of social platforms.
With some many voices crying in the social media wilderness, this sort of trans-media broadcasting – i.e. reaching biggest number of people in the shortest possible time – is being used by an increasing number of companies in the promotion of their products.
Once upon a time joining a group on Facebook was enough, or maybe liking and subscribing to certain news feed. Nowadays, we are increasingly encouraged to share content we engaged with or enjoyed. This is recognition on the part of social media marketers of the broad and varied network of social media.
If the average Facebook user has between 200 and 300 friends, asking them to share information about your product or service is going to exponentially increase your online audience. This phenomenon is not unique to Facebook, all social networking and blogging sites employ similar tactics to quickly broadcast information to the masses.
Frequently companies will ask followers to “share”, “retweet” or “reblog” content in exchange for freebies or entry into online competitions. This is an example of the sharing craze in action.
This article was written by John Burns on behalf of Simplify digital. Simplify digital are Ofcom accredited and provide independent advice to consumers looking for the right broadband, TV and home phone packages. www.simplifydigital.co.uk