Anthropologists, psychologists, and sociologists have always tried to study how the surrounding environment can directly or indirectly influence a person.
No one today questions the idea that there is a framework of values, ideals, and patterns of behavior structured in a relatively stable system that is imposed on the subject. It is a kind of inheritance to be maintained and passed on: what we more commonly call the socialization process.
But what happens if these values change? Moreover, what happens if this change occurs with the rapidity of recent years?
The question is no longer focused only on society, its ability to accept new structures, or the possibility of witnessing the creation of internal fragmentation phenomena.
Instead, the question now is: Can society adapt adequately to this continuous flow of change?
Internet’s impact on society
The arrival of the Internet in people’s lives has been one of the most impactful phenomena in sociality in the last twenty years.
Nowadays, we buy online and play online video games or access platforms that offer various casino games. But above all, social networks are the ones that have created a real revolution.
The changes brought about by these new digital platforms are evident and drastic as they fully involve the social life of those who use them, how they relate to others, how they think, behave, and even educate.
To get an even better idea, we can look at data from “Statista Digital Economy Compass“: the average global time spent on social platforms is 142 minutes daily. This value is generated by different but, at the same time, similar users and uses.
Generation Y, the so-called Millennials, represents one of the fullest and most skilled user pools. Special mention, however, should be made of GenZ, born with, or even after, specific social networks.
The young people get immersed in this new way of experiencing society: interacting, communicating, and contributing to new realities and dynamics, such as virtual sports and stream platforms.
Millennials and GenZ use social networks as a communication tool and increasingly as a means of transmission and collaboration among networks of people, communities, and organizations empowered by technological capabilities and mobility.
What differentiates communication in Social Media from traditional media (television, radio, etc.) is that Social Media enables interactive communication. They allow participating in the conversation and not just being passive listeners.
The most famous and used Social Networks
The past two years, heavily marked by the pandemic, have made us witness the rise and fall of several social platforms.
Although more than 4.75 billion posts are published, and more than 4.5 billion likes daily on Facebook, younger generations have now turned their eyes elsewhere to new platforms.
On Snapchat, people post 9,000 photos per second and watch 10 billion videos daily.
Also, there are 500 million Tweets posted daily, which means 6,000 Tweets every second.
Instagram is now one of the most popular and profitable social platforms: dominated mainly by those who have yet to turn 35 (source: Statista).
TikTok, within a few years, has become the most popular social network in the world. With 740 million new users registered in 2021 alone, the Chinese media-sharing platform has taken the stage with its short-lived videos.
Why do people like social media so much?
People want to communicate their thoughts online, perhaps even before they do so verbally with those around them.
Social networks offer synchronous forms of communication that unfold in real-time, such as instant messages, whether on one’s public wall or privately in chat, but also asynchronous: those time-consuming interactions typical of forums, for example, where discussions unfold over very long-time frames.
In what other areas besides relationships has social media become more than necessary?
The Social Shopping phenomenon
Shopping is a social act: sharing our purchasing choices with someone helps us better evaluate alternatives and consequently be more confident.
We trust someone’s advice, rely on their experiences, and compare them sometimes with what other people have told us, and eventually, we get convinced of our purchase.
What happens when all this happens online? Social shopping is the act of searching for information online during the buying process.
It represents the digital response to the human consumer’s need to shop with other people, but with the added value of online technologies: you can get opinions from thousands of people and not just from your physical network of acquaintances.
Internet use is significant not only at the final stage but also imbues the entire buying process, especially the “evaluation of alternatives” stage.
We consider how much research we do before deciding which product best satisfies our needs.
All the reviews we find online contribute to the creation of quality scores through which we evaluate the possibility of purchase.
Specifically, the use of social media channels by marketers to interact and collaborate during the consumer’s buying and usage experience is called social commerce. This phenomenon found maximum momentum with the arrival of the pandemic in 2020.