The term social media is used to describe websites and or other applications that allow users to make and share content, or participate in social networking. This means that you can join a group of people with similar interests and communicate with them about your interest from anywhere in the world. What a great way to be able to share a unique location or item to others who would not be able to experience them otherwise. The social media game is still young, even though it has been around since the 60’s. Before we talk about how it changed the game, let’s find out how it all got started in the first place.
A Brief History in Social Media
This might surprise you but the earliest form of social media would actually date back to 550 B.C. with the first postal service being established. Postal service? Social media? Yes! This was a great way to spread town news by posting information for anybody to see, or to get news to a friend or family member in a different town. Though this is much different than how things are done now, I still wouldn’t mind knowing about the newest laws from a general post. As time progressed, so did the ways in which information could be transferred.
In 1792, the first telegraph was invented which was a much faster way of delivering messages than the original horseback method. There was a set back with such an increase in technology, these messages could be sent great distances but were limited in the length of the message allowed. Some other forms were developed that didn’t go far but were good for specific uses. A great example would be the pneumatic system. Developed in 1890 the pneumatic system is a system that uses air pressure to send written messages underground. Sound familiar? These are commonly used at banks now while you wait in the car for the teller to return your information. But when telephones became widely popular these forms of delivery were made obsolete for everyday use.
The 1940’s brought us the first super computers. Scientists and engineers worked to link these computers through a network between the computers. This would lead to the eventual birth of the internet. The beginning started in the 1960’s with CompuServe and primitive forms of email, which were also under development during this time. By the late 1970’s, UseNet allowed users to communicate through a virtual newsletter. By the 1980’s home computers and social media were becoming more popular and sophisticated. During this time, internet relay chats (IRCs) were first used and continue to be popular still today.
Social Media Today
In 1997, our first social media site, SIX Degrees, was created. This allowed the user to upload a profile and make friends with other users. Then in 1999, the first blogging sites became popular and are still a continuing sensation. Today’s social media is much different. We have a much more sophisticated way of connecting with almost anybody. These sites are very popular to teens, young adults, and even the older generations. Yes, we are talking about Facebook, however this was not the first major site for social media. Earlier forms include Myspace and 4chan. Facebook remains one of the most popular social media sites, now with the ability to connect to people from your own phone. How much easier and convenient could it get? This has also changed the way people do business, let alone just connect with friends. Facebook is so sophisticated that you can target specific area markets and the users that live or travel in those areas.
The Game Changer
You may have gone through your Facebook and come across several different ads that possibly portray your interests. These are likely not by chance because you were probably geographically targeted. This is where the game has been changed. With the ability to specifically target potential customers, companies are able to take great advantage of this marketing practice. By putting an ad in front of a viewer of a specific area, you as a local business can to get the word out of who you are and what you do. This even goes deeper than just the geographical locations because you can also be targeted for something you liked, shared, or posted. For example, this would give a company the ability to put a product (such as the Madden 16 game) into your feed if you have ever like something along the lines of pro football. Imagine putting your product right in front of your buyer without them leaving their home to go to a store location.
However, these ads are not just there. Companies pay for these ads to be specifically targeted to an audience, which would give them the greatest chance to sell their product to someone who is potentially looking for that item or service. Not everything has to be buy-and-sell. Some ads are what are called organic ads or ads, made by a company to gain interest and promote the brand name. Things like this are used to just generate traffic and popularity of a brand through factual information or funny images.
The social wave has made it incredibly easy for businesses to target and promote their brand name or products. As a consumer I actually really enjoy this form of advertising because I can be targeted, but most likely it would be something I was interested in beforehand. People have always been trying to find the newest, fastest way to be able to transport information, from the origins of the post office to the private messages you get on Facebook. This has led to the social media that we know and use today. In an extremely fast paced world, I do wonder what the next breakthrough social idea will be. Whatever it is, I bet there will be a way that once again social has changed the game.
– Brock Bergeron, Marketing Coordinator