Why is Social Media so popular?

Last week I took a short road trip with my family to see my younger brother graduate from college. Three generations were among our group: two from the “Silent Generation” (1925-1945), two from the “Baby Boomers” (1946-1964), and two from “Generation Y” (1980- 2000). While driving, many topics came up and one was “Facebook” and updating a “status.’” Both of my grandmothers (from the Silent Generation) asked the question – “Why does everyone need to know where I am or what I am doing?” I, being an older “Generation Y”, could say nothing to convince them that updating my status on Facebook was even remotely worth my time.

The more and more I thought about this, why do I spend my time updating my “status” – putting up links to cool things on my Facebook profile? Why do I spend time on Facebook – perusing my “Homepage” and clicking on the links of those who post cool things – businesses and people alike?

Well the answer is simple. I use the Internet more than any other medium and Facebook is the most populated social media website. With that I can be connected to billions of people, businesses, groups, etc. all at my own discretion. I can “like” (Facebook has a Like button for its users) a certain company’s “fanpage” and choose to be friends with a prominent writer of a blog. Basically, I use the Internet all the time and Facebook keeps me connected.

So “why update my status”? I found an interesting analogy between public places and social media in blog article. I recommend reading this blog to understand the Social Media phenomenon called the Sociology of Social Networking. Think about it, why do coffee shops like Starbucks, do so well? Is it really because of their amazing coffee? Or is it because it is an open place for people to spend their time connecting with one another and their community? For more and more people, especially younger generations or people who are busy, social media sites like Twitter and Facebook have become their very own Starbucks – for FREE. It’s the on-demand characteristic of the internet that has made these Social Media sites so popular. People can connect RIGHT NOW rather than drive to the coffee shop. Most humans are social people and NEED connections to the outer world and the Internet makes these connections INSTANT.

After thinking about all of this, I realize that my grandmothers were not very familiar with the Internet as well. They haven’t experienced how the Internet can find information instantly. They are used to getting their information from people, newspapers, television, and even the library. They don’t realize that the Internet has combined all of these modes of communication into one main communication vessel.

I hope I have given some insight into “Why Social Media is so popular?” If you have not had a lot of experience with Social Media, you may not understand how quickly it generates information. Also, note that Generation Y is one of the largest generations in history and spends more money than any other generation. I recently had the opportunity to attend a webinar on “Marketing to Gen Y” which gave insights into this segment of the population (check out my overview of the webinar in a post later this week). What do you think about Social Media? Do you use it?

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