Stephanie Daniels, Features Editor
The rise of the internet is taking the world by storm. Now you can hop onto the internet and find the answer to any question you can think of and explore many more. Many of what the community identifies as “millennials” take to social media to connect with each other and experience the world around them. Let’s face it, as millennials, we grew up in the age of tech. With dial up being our first taste of tested patience and instant messaging being the precursor to chat rooms. The internet and all it has to offer took us all by storm.
But with all the rise around the internet, one cannot ignore the internet’s arguable Frankenstein: social media. Now, we are past the period of flip phones. We use smartphones as a way to communicate, but mostly in place of our computers. With web browsers becoming standard on phones, society had access to the World Wide Web right in their pockets. The budding industry of social media caught wind of this, and soon came the world of applications.
With a phone capable of accessing the internet, and a streamline app that makes the experience of visiting your favorite social media website seamless the games begin. We started to see a shift in how the marketing industry looked at social media.
Now, clearly on the surface, social media extended itself as a platform to connect, and gave way to companies and people to market themselves. It acted as a way to show off your brand and allow people to interact with it. Not bad right? But then began a shift from mere interaction and influence. Those interacting with brands had them reinforced within the social media they digested through their sites. And so, began the birth of social trends.
You know what a social trend is right? Kim K’s butt, bodysuits, Yeezy’s. We all fall victim to trends. A shoe that has a certain symbol on it, or a certain “look” that makes you feel cool or current, all social trends. I believe we underestimate the power of social media, and more specifically its influence on us. What started as an interaction with media, became an influence, then a social trend. But what, or more importantly who keeps the trends going?
You guessed right; social media influencers. The people that inspire you to try that new vegan lifestyle, or to purchase that new pair of shoes that just came out. They thrive and are able to influence because they are able to sell us on a reality that most would long for. The perfect body, lifestyle, job. Even when seen on platforms such as YouTube, they have the best lighting, and are living lives that we wish we could partake in ourselves. Which brings us back to an element I mentioned in the beginning of this article: the internet’s ability to connect people.
What effects do social media, and more so, its influencers have on society as a whole? Maybe it’s time to put down our phones and connect with each other on a more human level. Because media and technology can’t ever take the place of sheer human interaction that is both simplistic and connecting. The age of social media is upon us, but that doesn’t mean we have lost the ability to make up our own minds around what we think and feel.