The emergence of the internet had changed the way we communicate with each other. Nowadays, most of our conversation with our friends had turned digitally due to the technology advancement (Baym et al., 2007). Before the emergence of social media, there were only people with power and wealth will stand a chance to voice out their opinions to the public. The emergence of social media platforms had changed our communication. Social media allows the users to achieve freedom of expression. There are many social media platforms had been created and been widely used throughout the years. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are playing important roles in our daily communication. Social media platforms are made to connect people around the world regardless distance. According to Boyd and Ellison (2007), the communities such as pages and groups within the social media platforms can either be public or semipublic to their users. Besides, those communities being created within the social media platforms allow the users to share and search for information of particular topics. For example, there are many gaming groups or pages were made and benefits the gaming community. Recently, the people were being brought together by the social media platforms and being connected. Different ideas from different perspectives are being shared among the internet. Therefore, there will be two sides which are agree or disagree appeared on the internet community. This conference paper will be discussing about how the social media critically changed our communication.
Social media platforms had enhanced our communication by allowing us to stay connected with each other regardless of distance. As long as we are connected to the internet, we are allowed to connect to our friends or families who are far away from us. Many companies are using social media as their platforms for advertising or as a communication tool to interact with clients especially those who are not in the same area as they are (Dijkmans, Kerkhof, & Beukeboom, 2015). Therefore, social media platforms had become the most powerful marketing tools for big companies to find their target audiences. However, social media can be destructive if not being handled carefully.
In the end of 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic started to cross around the world and caused many people started to afraid to have face to face conversation even with masks on. In 18 March 2020, the Malaysia government had implemented Movement Control Order (MCO) in order to control the spreading of COVID-19 (Sukumaran, 2020). The government forced most of the companies or shops to be closed for a while including all the schools and universities. Therefore, many businesses are having trouble with their economics. Students are not allowed to have any classes and school activities. Social media started to play an important role during the pandemic. With the characteristic of social media which allow the users to connect with each other regardless of distance, many schools and universities started to use social media platforms for educational purposes. The students do not have to go to physical classes but only attend online classes from home. Besides, the usage of social media had significantly increased due to COVID-19 pandemic (Pacheco, 2020). However, on the other sides, there were people who disagreed with the government’s implementation of MCO due to their lost businesses. The government tried to shorten the duration of MCO but the number of COVID-19 positive cases keep rising. Therefore, in the year 2021, Malaysia government had only implemented MCO to certain states in Malaysia which consist of higher COVID-19 positive cases.
Social media had changed the marketing communication in this digital era. Nowadays, companies are being encouraged to use social media platforms as their marketing tools to promote brand image, equity, and awareness in order to increase purchase intention of consumers especially during COVID-19 pandemic. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other social media platforms allow their users to pay for their advertisement services. However, Facebook had given all its users freedom of expression. Therefore, the users are freely to give feedbacks and share the ads to their friends (Dehghani & Tumer, 2015). Different comments from different perspectives will be made by the audiences which either will be positive or negative. Therefore, companies are being encouraged to put more efforts on making their advertisements being appropriate to the majority of the audiences (Smock et al., 2011). Social media can help a company to reach larger audiences and capture specific target groups of consumers but it also can destroy a company if they do not being careful to handle their social media.
Besides, social media not only can be used for advertising but also can be used as feedback tools for companies. Social media platforms allow the users to interact with companies’ official accounts through commenting on their posts and personal messaging (Smock et al., 2011). Therefore, social media created an opportunity for both sides, companies and consumers to know each other well. The consumers are able to complaint or compliment on the products and the companies can get to know what their weaknesses and strengths of their brands and products. The companies are given opportunity to improve themselves. In the April of 2019, Paramount Pictures and Sega had officially work together and launched their first trailer of Sonic the Hedgehog movie on media. The audiences were shocked by the ‘creepy’ design of the character “Sonic” within the trailer (Lee, 2020). The voices from the audiences were being louder and went viral within few days after the trailer was launched. Therefore, on 3rd May 2019, the director himself had tweeted and announced that the character “Sonic” will be redesign due to negative critics from the netizens (Fowler, 2019). Social media had given the companies opportunity to improve their brands and products based on the feedbacks made by the consumers online. Meanwhile, social media also given the consumers an opportunity to get involve in the process of production of a company.
Apart from that, social media also contributed to non-profit organizations by promoting their charity campaigns. Most of the social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are free to use. According to Ibrisevic (2020), there were over 2 billion of active users each month on Facebook and nearly 800 million of monthly users on Instagram. Many non-profit organizations do not have enough funds to promote themselves on traditional media like televisions or newspapers (Haddad, 2020). Therefore, social media becomes the best tool for non-profit organizations for promoting themselves and their programs. Social media allows the non-profit organizations to raise awareness toward their program, recruit volunteers and even gain the attentions from the influencers. The most effective way for non-profit organizations to gain awareness on social media is to link their social media account with internet influencers who have big number of followers (Nageswarakurukkal et al., 2019). The internet influencers can help to increase the awareness and the credibility of non-profit organizations. The followers of the internet influencers will also become the supporters for those non-profit organizations.
Social media also benefits gaming community by increasing the social interaction between gamers and offer them a new way of living. Video games had grown expeditiously since 1990s and the gaming community are growing too. The gaming communities from single player offline games to massive multiplayer online games on different gaming consoles are gaining the benefits from social media platforms. Platforms such as Discord, TeamSpeak, and Twitch had increased the social interactions between video game players (Bankov, 2019). Many gamers are using those platforms to interact with each other to have fun together and discussing about their strategies on multiplayer games. Social media platforms had become a social hub for most of the gamers. According to Curry (2021), the statistic found that the monthly active users on Discord had grown to 140 million in 2021 started with 10 million monthly active users in 2017. The social media united the gamers around the world together. When any gamer feels lonely and boring, they can use social media platforms to find other gamers who play similar games and play together.
Besides, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube had allowed the users to gain profits by live broadcasting their gameplay online. The people who broadcast their gameplay online are being called as live game streamer. Nowadays, live game streaming had become a common phenomenon in gaming community. There are many live game streamers such as Shroud, Disguised Toast, Pokimane, and Tyler1 are from Twitch and they become the internet influencers with millions of followers. Research found that one of the factors which drive millions of gamers to watch those streamers is the characteristic of those platforms allow the users to have direct interaction with live streamer (Lessel et al., 2017). The live streamers gain the profits by the subscriptions and donations from their viewers. Therefore, social media not only increase the social interaction between gamers but also offered a new way to make a living for gamers.
Social media also has changed the way we watch sports, and it provides great opportunity for eSports to grow bigger. The eSports which defined as a form of sport that carried out by human and facilitated by electronic devices, it is a new kind of sport emerged in the digital era and it had over 70 million of viewers participated in 2013 (Hamari & Sjöblom, 2016). Social media plays as essential role in eSports industry. Social media platforms such as Twitch, YouTube and Facebook are being used by video game companies to live stream their eSports events. League of Legends is one of the most popular competitive online games who had their official annual tournament called League of Legends World Championship held by Riot Games. In 2020 during the final of League of Legends World Championship, they had reached 3.8 million of unique viewers around the world (Dixon, 2020). Social media unites the people from gaming community to discuss and share their opinions on eSports.
As conclusion, social media in fact have changed the way we communicate and benefit the society. People who live apart from their families and friends are able to stay in touch with them on social media. Social media help people to save their times and money to communicate with each other. Besides, social media allows the education institutions such as schools and universities to perform online classes during COVID-19 pandemic. Social media also given a great opportunity for companies to run online businesses on big platforms. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and others allow the companies to run advertisements and help them to reach wider audiences or specific consumer groups. Apart from that, social media also act as feedback tool for consumers to review brands and products. Companies and consumers are given opportunity to know each other through social media platforms. Companies are able to improve their brands and products based on the consumers’ feedbacks and critics online. Social media also benefit the non-profit organizations by allowing them to raise awareness of themselves without funds. Social media also benefits the gaming community by enhancing the social interaction between online gamers and it had created a live game streaming phenomenon within gaming community. Apart from that, social media also provides platforms for eSport industry to grow bigger. Social media had changed the way we watch sports, and it unites people together to discuss. Social media had changed how we communicate compare to before the emergence of internet. Hence, social media becomes one of the most important parts of our lives.
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10 thoughts on “How the social media has critically changed our communication.”
I hope you are well.
I have read your paper and it is very interesting and insightful. You have demonstrated how communication online has drastically changed, in a way that it offers more opportunities for marketers, and act as feedback tools for businesses. Moreover, I am glad you have also mentioned about eSports and how it benefits gamers online, as it enables them to make a living out of it. Gamers interact with other gamers to play competitive games such as Dota. Since you have a strong consensus about this particular argument, were you aware that the gamer has to set aside his/her family life in order to play eSports and make a living out of it? I agree that through communication, eSports wave has risen, however, it is also pulling apart offline communications and priorities (family, education and work). According to you, can eSports community advocate and support each other to overcome those real life threats? As the proximity and trust from offline community is more reliable…
Hope to hear your views.
I really enjoyed reading your paper! You can also combine Twitch streamers/other influencers with small buisness as well. Twitch allows for sponsorship opportunites as well which could also in turn increase exposure for small companies. If for example Pokimane is advertising something on her stream there is a very good chance that a majority of her viewers have either gone to the website of the sponsor itself or have bought something directly from them as well, simply because it was on Poki’s stream. Given the size of her average audience that is a lot of foot traffic for smaller buisnesses as well!
It is really interesting to consider the influence that some of these streamers do have and I love that this creates another avenue of exposure of smaller or niche buisnesses
Good to see your paper posted in the conference and your interactions with other students! Make sure to use your paper in your comments to other papers in order to draw more discussions here as well.
I thought I’d drop by and leave a comment of my own here to drive the discussion a bit further. You make a good point when you discuss about eSports and I was wondering if you could expand a bit on the communities that are forming around the streamers you mention?
Thank you sir so much for dropping by and leave a comment.
Well, those social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitch allows the users to live broadcast their gameplays. Besides, the audiences have the option to cheer up the streamer through ‘donation’ which is paying the streamers using real money. It builds up a strong relationships between streamers and their viewers. However, the viewers also get to choose to just watch the live streams without paying anything. But if you do pay, you gain the attention from the streamers and that is what I think why there are many people out there are paying for those streamers. Therefore, streaming on social media platform had became a real job and it is also an entertainment service for the consumers. There are many streamers I do follow which are Pokimane, Tyler1, Yassuo etc. They all have a common strength which is their engagement with viewers. It is hard to gain viewers on Twitch but making the viewer to pay is even harder. Those streamers who I mentioned have constant viewers on each stream and they are very successful on keeping their own viewers.
I hope I answered your question sir, have a nice day ahead!
Hi Eric, thanks for sharing your paper.
I agree with you that social media has been essential for communication during this pandemic. Without it, many people would struggle to stay in contact with their overseas friends and family.
My paper similarly talks about the use of social media for not-for-profit groups and volunteer organisations that use these platforms of Facebook, and Instagram to promote awareness about farming and knowing where your food comes from. I know they also use YouTube, though I did not discuss it in my paper. It would be interesting to do more research into it.
I don’t necessarily agree with you that the main way for non-profit organisations to gain a following is through influencers. Using organic online marketing to interact with your followers can help any page to grow. Although it’s easier to see results and gain leads from paid advertising and influencers, it is not impossible to gain a following through organic interactions. It’s simply about being consistent with your audience.
Hi Laura, I get where you’re coming from in regards to consistency in organic online marketing. Though I think maybe what he is referring to is that non-profits do not have the capacity to allocate the same amount of funds as for-profit organisations, who could effectively polish their brand through R&D and high quality merchandising. Either way in my opinion whether they use paid advertising or influencers, in all cases customer service and organic growth are still necessary for engagement and growth sustainability.
Yes. That is what I want to say in the paper. Non-profits organizations have not much funds for paid advertisements. Therefore, social media is a free marketing tool for non-profit organization to reach out to their target audiences. Thank you for your comment with clarification. Thank you!
Hi Laura, first of all I want thank you for giving me feedback on my paper. Really appreciate your comment!
Yes, social media had been part of our lives. We always rely on social media to get close with friends and families. Besides, I do agree with you that you mentioned that using organic interaction to gain followers is also work for non-profit organizations. The organic interaction should be the early stage of a organization to reach out to their target audiences. For me, if I run a business or an organization on social media, I will use organic interactions first to try to reach my target audiences. If I want to grow bigger then I will choose influencers endorsement and paid advertisement. I have seen some small non-profit organizations in my country which they do not rely on paid advertisements to get audiences. However, some local internet influencers sometimes are willing to help those non-profit organizations for free. Those influencers sometimes will accept the emails from non-profit organizations for help. In the end I really than you for the comment and wish you all the best in studies and all.
Hi Roosdy and Eric,
Yes, when a business has limited to no funds to spend on their own promotion, without social media it would be difficult to attract people that will donate to their cause.
Though I don’t think there’s much point to paid advertising if the business hasn’t already tried to establish themselves online and gain an organic following first.
Thanks for the discussion!
I agree with Laura, if you do not have an established online presence, it would be futile to give a thought about paid advertising. Based on your assumptions that influencers helping free organizations, from my point of view it is not true. How will the influencer know that this organization/business/NGO is reliable enough if they are not putting their words into actions, and positively contributing to the society? NGOs are never just one or two people. There needs to be a board, administrators, fundraisers, project managers, educators and so on. After its registration, the NGO has to find a way to get money in order to set up its business, it could be from loans, private donations, grants and from the government. At least, a small project should have been started, where other people online are gaining awareness from the solution provided from the NGO. Therefore, the purpose of influencers is usually, 50 – 50. Both parties get equal attention and goodwill.