In December 2009 Queen Beatrix was very skeptical about the use of social media. In her Christmas speech Queen Beatrix told that “our emptiness could not be filled with virtual meetings. ‘You talk to each other without having a conversation and you look at each other without seeing each other. Many found this message unilaterally, because they felt that the Queen didn’t think about the benefits and possibilities of social media and Twitter. Not long after this speech the Queen also admitted to Twitter. In September 2010 the Royal House sent their first tweet. But what are the reasons that even the Queen, who was very negative about this in the first place, also communicates through social media. Can people really not live without the technique which is called social media?
Social media is a collected term for platforms (web applications) where users can share information. This
is not only information in text but also in sound and visuals. An important key for social media is sharing and receiving. You are able to socialize with other users. The most popular social media platforms in the Netherlands are Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Hyves.
In our daily life technology can no longer be ignored. Almost everything we do has something to do with technology. The technology allows people to come to their daily needs and desires. It gives shapes our lives. How do you move from place to place without a car of public transportation, how do you keep in contact with someone without using a phone or the internet and how can you entertain yourself nowadays? Technology is mainly used for all of this.
Popular social network websites like Facebook, Hyves and Twitter, gives everyone the opportunity to access the internet and create a profile where they can send messages to friends and share photos. What these people/users often do not realize is that this information might be on the internet forever and will continue to roam. Internet does not forget so quickly. In the user terms of Facebook it says that anyone who puts pictures on facebook relinquish copyright. The photos become property of Facebook. With this in mind it would actually not be smart to post pictures of yourself on this social network website.
Nevertheless, the social network media are seen as very interactive and fast. Journalists find a lot of their news on twitter. Active Twitter users spread news faster. For example, the BBC found out through twitter that Michael Jackson was deceased. The press sees social media more often as a reliable source. The source is reliable as the person places it on the website itself. Therefore during the elections in the Netherlands they were eager to benefit from social media and the press often referred to it. Everybody could now follow all the celebrity’s and other well-known people and see what their daily life looks like.By constantly being online you can keep yourself informed about what’s happening in the world. You could even skip the news on television and radio. Everything you want to know you can find on the Internet.
Technology and social media do not always reflect reality. People can alienate from themselves and also easily present as someone else on the Internet. It is sometimes difficult to see what is still human and what is technological. In social media website visitor play a central role. The visitor provides the most important content for website. The visitor places the text, pictures and music that he / she want to share. An explanation why social media is so popular is because people are a ‘social animals’. People need each other and go look for relatives who share the same wishes. A major drawback is again that everything can be said by anyone. This can spread quickly and can therefore bring many risks. Important is that information obtained through social media should be checked first before it goes forward. But this applies also in the ‘real world’.
Social media is basically an intermediary between people. Through internet it is much easier to talk to each other than in real life. This can often lead to misunderstandings. Things can be misconstrued and therefore lead to conflicts. Visitors of the Internet like to use their right for freedom of speech. Everyone can participate in discussions and they can often say whatever they feel like. The internet does not regulate itself. Internet is basically international. It doesn’t have the boundaries such as those boundaries that countries have. Information on the internet can be accessed anywhere in the world in just seconds, even information that is prohibited in one country but not prohibited in another country. Some countries have tried to introduce laws that would regulate the information on internet. In practice this proved not to work. This could basically only work effectively if all countries work together and make agreements on this.
Even historical figures make their comeback through social media. Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Walter Raleigh and Marie Antoinette have been spotted. The messages themselves contain no depth or useful information. However, there are historical figures who offer a little bit more depth. Titus Brandsma was on January 19, 1942 arrested by the Germans for his resistance work. As of January 19, 2011 – exactly 69 years later – the activities of Titus Brandsma could be followed through Twitter. You can see it as a joke, but if this is done seriously it could be quite informative for some people. Another historical figure that you could follow is Alexander de Grote (336-323 before Christ).Here you can see day by day how they fare on the battlefield and how the mood of the world conqueror develops. Fun to watch and educational because you can learn something about the history in an easy and fun way. Social media lends itself for contact with historical figures. It provides historical figures to be revived.
Social is a necessity of life according to many people. Millions of people worldwide are already using a social network and claim that they cannot live without it. Today, internet users spend 16% of their time on social media. People have a need to share everything with everyone. Now they can do this through social media. The invention of the Smartphone gave the social networking a boost. The Smartphone has many advantages. “You always carry it with you; it is always on and knows exactly where you are. This gives users the ability to show other people what keeps them busy wherever they are. Others say that social media is not one of the most important life’s needs. If you look at the Pyramid of Maslow you see that in the first place you can find food and water. In the third place you can find social contacts, this is also the place where social media is covered. When asked whether social media is an important necessity of life, the answer will probably be different for each. It is just not that somebody could not survive without social media such as they could not survive without food and water.
Online Communities are becoming very popular. People with the same interests come together on an online community and are able to share things through this community. It is entirely operated by the user. In an online community people know what they can expect from each other. They help each other to achieve goals and perform activities. You can actually see it as a community. Recently it was proved in Tunisia and Egypt that online communities can be very important. Through an online community, people called up to go demonstrate against the existing regime. You could say that social media unleashed a revolution. People could follow every minute what was going on to the streets of Tunisia and Egypt. People were twittering and placing videos on YouTube of how the demonstration looked like. The government in Egypt had blocked the access to internet one day. But Twitter and Google found a solution for this. Sending a tweet to Twitter through a voicemail. message. Social media can almost not be stopped anymore.
Companies are also not standing still when it comes to social media. Many companies are already using a social network. Which company doesn’t take a look at the candidate’s social network profile before a job interview? The most social network used by businesses is LinkedIn. This is a more professional social network and companies can see what kind of experience people already gained at other jobs. Many companies use social media to get their messages to everybody else, both internally and externally. By having a social network profile the company can keep their employees and other interested people informed of the latest news in and around the company. Keeping a profile up-to-date keeps followers interested. This enables them to learn more about the company and they can share this with other people. This allows companies to increase their brand even more. Also companies can quickly give feedback on something or correct incorrect information. Of course there are a few things that are less good about having employees on social network. Some messages written by employees did not end very well. An example: an employee says something negative about his boss and then the boss reads it because it is public or he found it out through another employee. Or when the employee has called in sick at work and then writes on his social media profile that he goes to a party. Of course these kinds of messages will always come out.
Sharing is an important key word when it comes to social media. Users share experiences with each other and keep each other informed about their lives. But social media is not just good for that. Today social media is of the major news sources. Journalists can almost not work anymore without Twitter and Facebook, they always keep an eye out on these social networks to see if there is any news they can use. Everyone wants to get aware of news as quickly as possible. Social media is already a major player in our daily lives. Both in a positive and in a negative way. Social media and its speed saves lives, brings people together, creates jobs and delivers and disseminates information. Social media is certainly not something that is all happening on the Internet. It is part of our lives. Each generation can be found on one of the many social networks. Social media makes it easy for people to form communities and share common interests with each other. It unleashes revolutions. Social media is unstoppable. If even Queen Beatrix dares to use social media wouldn’t that say that also the royal house cannot do its job right anymore without the use of social media can. It’s impossible to imagine our lives without social media and this is just the beginning.
– Artikel: Techniek en de grens van de mens door Peter Paul Verbeek