How Much Has Social Media Evolved During Pandemic?
It leads to a conversation on the tension between business interests and public ones
Karen Murillo-Godoy | Learn4Life CLMI Fellow
The massive influence of social media is back in the news and public conversation again as controversial billionaire Elon Musk finalizes his purchase of digital public square giant Twitter. That acquisition then leads to a conversation about how social media has evolved through pandemic - since it’s a range of pandemic-driven factors that ultimately drove Musk to make what many observers characterize as an impulsive buy. It also leads to a conversation on the tension between business interests and public ones. Without a doubt, the existential crisis of this pandemic has produced a whirlwind of changes, the Social Media phenomenon is just one of many. It’s reshaped our politics in so many ways while numerous businesses have been compelled to incorporate digital platforms and communication into their objectives due to the economic downfall.
During the pandemic, social media usage has grown exponentially, and its function has adapted accordingly. The motives behind consumption have been either personal, academic, or work-related. All contribute to the functionality of 21st-century communication that is near completely digital. Just look at how rapidly it’s evolved over the past decade …
With that kind of growth, it was only a matter of time before the pandemic took a new turn and surged as a breakthrough for new generations and populations to join in with the consumption of media. Demographic groups, particularly older Americans, who weren’t associated with social media have come to terms with how the pandemic has made it into a staple in their social lives.
A Pew Research Center study on The Internet and the Pandemic concluded …
The vast majority of adults (90%) say theinternet has been at least important to them personally during the pandemic, the survey finds. The share who say it has beenessential– 58% – is up slightly from 53% in April 2020. There have also been upticks in the shares who say the internet has been essential in the past year among those with a bachelor’s degree or more formal education, adults under 30, and those 65 and older.
Not only has social media turned much more profitable and become a central revenue generator, but it has required all professions, whether related to media or their field of study, to construct media agendas. Even individuals who are highly educated have deemed social media a necessity. COVID-19 intruded in our lives nationally and globally, and quarantine orders were put in place as a drastic, but essential public health measure. That has left a large portion of society to turn to the media as it doesn’t risk safety protocols while still maintaining sociability and relationships.
Some organizations have thought out of the box and modified the trajectory of the media process, altogether. The article, Digital Strategy In A Time of Crisis further explains the switch ….
Design thinking, which involves using systemic reasoning and intuition to address complex problems and explore ideal future states, will be crucial. A design-centric approach focuses first and foremost on end-users or customers. In particular, organizations rapidly adopting AI tools and algorithms, as well as design thinking, and using those to redefine their business at scale have been outperforming their peers.
In addition to companies rethinking their management, for the advancement of the company’s needs and consumers. Subsequently,the organizations which have practiced algorithms are ahead of the game as digital interactions with consumers have increased dramatically. While design thinking is an example of now and future business adaptation, it has been a technological answer to the restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. For many companies, a foundation for digital media has been created and set within their daily operations. Apart from the fact that social media gained new consumers as a result of the pandemic, its role as a platform outlet for deception has increased.
In the Penn Medicine News Blog, the inquiry of how much deception is distributed exactly and how social media companies combat combat the matter, rests heavily on regulations …
The spread of potentially harmful information became so prevalent during the pandemic that many sites, including Facebook and Twitter, have started flagging and, in some cases, removing,content not based in facts. Despite these efforts, social media users are still bombarded with images, articles, and posts that spread misinformation and contribute to an already heightened sense of fear.
Users who are eliciting malicious content or false information have received the sanction of temporarily or permanently being banned. Along with the removal of tweets and posts, their removal prevents more propaganda and chaos. Furthermore, recent measures of verified and credible health organizations have managed to provide much more reliable details to the public.
As researchers note …
In the meantime, health professionals and governments have been adopting social media tools to contain and manage health crisis and other adverse consequences, such as the anthrax attack in U.S. cities in September 2001, the 2015 California measles outbreak, and the 2009 Beijing crisis of H1N1 influenza Flu.
Across the nation, many individuals were anxious, uncertain, and made decisions based on the material read from the media without proper validity. For instance, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention integrates its communications content into media platforms like Twitter and Instagram as CDCgov, which are government-managed accounts. Still, all of the efforts of health professionals seem preoccupied with dismantling online scammers and disinformation. It will be important for public health officials to catch up.
Ultimately, 21st-century communication creates blind spots for millions of people who fall victim to invalid persuasion. Conversely, companies and patrons keep social media running since it provides the ability to communicate safely in a time when COVID-19 overwhelmed humanity. From a business standpoint, those who incorporated social media marketing as well experienced more benefits in regard to sales online. In an era where social media dominates, it’s crucial to detect what’s true and what’s not. But, it’s hard to reconcile that when business decisions may, sometimes, override what’s in the best interests of the broader public. As the saying goes, “You can't believe everything you read on the Internet.”