The Social Media Impact

Since this blog has been all my opinion, I thought it would be interesting to get an opinion from someone else. For this post, I wanted to see how a college student thought about social media. If they believed that social media has changed the way we interact with one another and how they think it will impact our future. Without further adieu, meet Zoe Austin.

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Zoe is going into her third year at New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida and she believes that social media has drastically changed social interactions. One of her points was that social media has created this concept of ‘awkwardness’ that has taken over what should be normal social situations.

“It’s crazy how so many people feel ‘awkward’ in different social scenarios,” Austin said. “You are constantly hearing how people think something is awkward, but you don’t see them feeling uncomfortable when they’re texting, Facebooking or Tweeting.”

Not only did she think that awkwardness has developed from the evolution of social media, but she thinks that a lot of people live out their “dream lives” through it.

“You can portray your life as cool as you want it to be,” Austin said. “You could post pictures of you with a bunch of people and look like you have a bunch of friends, but they could all be people you don’t even know.”

However, she doesn’t think that the impact of social media is all bad. In fact, she thinks that it has done a lot of good for our society.

“Oh no, social media is definitely a good thing,” Austin said. “It has completely changed how you can reach people like distant family members or how you keep up with old friends. Not only that, but businesses are starting to get on the social scene and that’s pretty cool to me.”

On the topic of businesses, Austin thinks that social media has drastically changed the way that people on the internet or social media are marketed to. Austin said that it’s like every ad that pops up on your Facebook is tailored to you and they are ads that you would actually be interested in.

“I think it’s funny that I find myself clicking on the ads that show up on my Facebook page,” Austin said. “I usually avoid them, but the way Facebook does it I don’t even think twice before I click on it. Which is a far cry from the ads that used to come up on MySpace. Shout out to Tom.”

As far as the future of social media, Austin thinks that this is only the beginning. Now there’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and so many more sites popping up daily that one can’t even keep up.

“The social media that are around now are definitely just the beginning,” Austin said. “In ten years I think that it will get even worse. Even more of our interactions will be via the internet. Not only socially, but I think that businesses’ presence on social media will increase drastically.”

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The Science of Going Viral: Video Edition

Whether it’s a heartwarming proposal video, an intense adventure recorded with a GoPro or a hilarious video of a person falling, we have all seen a viral video with millions of views pop up on our social media. The question is: how did a person who is not famous at all get a video to go viral and rake in the views? Nichevertising created a viral coefficient calculator that will tell you the chances of your video, post or webpage going viral.

Although this calculator may offer some insight, it will not give you the formula for what creates something worth going viral. For example, a witty video that makes people laugh would do significantly better than a video of your cat staring into the camera. You need to make a video that people will want to watch – make it watchable! Making a video watchable means that you need to make it to where someone won’t get bored or tap out a few seconds in. Most good videos are shorter due to our short attention spans. According to www.statisticbrain.com, the average attention span was only eight seconds in 2013. So from that we can draw that we need to keep the viewer interested in what you’re doing or saying. Whether it’s a cool trick on a skateboard or a video of you simply sharing your thoughts with the camera, you need to keep your listener engaged!

One of the newest places for videos to go viral right now is Vine. The app allows for six second videos to be recorded and then replays them on a loop – which is a great time frame due to our short attention spans. (I see what you did there, Vine.) A lot of the videos are funny, witty or poking fun at everyday “struggles” that people encounter. Then of course there’s always YouTube where hundreds of videos go viral everyday. However, on YouTube you have a wider audience. From a makeup tutorial to a baby eating cake for the first time, YouTube has all types of videos that are ‘viral’ in different categories. Basically, you need to know your audience.  If you’re going on Vine, you’ll have a younger crowd who’s most likely looking for a laugh. If you’re going on YouTube, you’ll just need an impressive video in the category you’re looking to post a video on or have a group of people that are willing to share it.

This brings me to my next, most important point – video sharing. People sharing your video is what makes your video go viral. Without people watching and sharing with their friends, your video would just be sitting around on YouTube with 10 views that you only got because you watched your own video 10 times. The viral coefficient calculator points out that you need people to share your video in order to start the momentum. However, even if you start with two people sharing it to 10 people who then share it to two people each, then you have already reached 40 people with only two rounds of sharing. If that keeps going, you will eventually reach thousands of people – how cool is the internet?

Clearly, there is more than what meets the eye if you are looking to create a viral video and become the next Vine or YouTube sensation. However, remembering these three things will definitely make a difference and start you out on the right track – make a video that is watchable, know your audience, and share your video!

Best of luck to all your viral endeavors!