Social Media – then and now

What would be your immediate reaction if you were on the move and then needed to make a call to someone, but this intention was scuppered by the lack of mobile connectivity? It is not an uncommon situation to be in; while mobile masts have sprung up by the hundreds and thousands since their inception, certain areas, particularly rural ones, struggle with a lack of mobile coverage and it is not possible to get a signal. Unfortunately, it is often the case that at these points in time a signal is most needed! Imagine if you were walking in the woods and twisted and ankle. How would you get help if you were on your own? And wouldn’t it just be the case that the mobile signal would be non-existent in that kind of situation?

We can possibly replace the case of needing to make a phone call with a similar need, to check emails or social media updates. Work and social media companies have cultivated a dependency in us to check our accounts at frequent intervals. What would your reaction be if your ability to do so was hindered by a lack of connectivity for a period of, for instance, four hours? According to social psychologists, many of us would feel slightly depressed and have elevated heart rate levels because the lack of control over our immediate circumstances would imposed these emotions upon us.

The dependency on such forms of technology may be a good reason for us to break the cycle of need. Not only do they create a negative effect when they work – they are forcing us to be dependent on them and to engage in repetitive behaviour such as checking for updates, but because of the negative impact they have when they do not work – causing us to be stressed and frustrated, and actively checking the internet connection so we can access our updates – it can be surmised we are slaves to that technology.

The piano composer Franz Liszt was a very social person, seeking the limelight as an extrovert, but managed to do so without the slightest level of social media that we have today. But being sociable without technology is possible, and arguably richer. You establish deeper levels of face to face relationships, because that is the only meaningful time you will get, instead of having two relationships (face to face and virtual) which may conflict with each other.

What would Liszt do if he were alive today? He might just have dispensed with the mobile phone. He would have preferred the live handkerchiefs thrown to him instead of the virtual emojis!

Social Media, Business, and Mental Health

Some people claim it is true, while others dismiss it as utter hogwash. There are many who also piggyback on this theory in order to market themselves in a different light. What could this theory be then? It is the theory that your social standing could be judged by the social platform you use. Of course, when you signed up, it is likely that you went along with what might have been the more popular social platform at the time. And the idea is that the older the platform you use, the older your age.

Hence, if you are a Facebook user, and use it regularly, it is likely that you are in your mid thirties or forties – at least, while those who prefer Instagram are supposedly younger. The theory however hinges on the notion that social media users stick to one platform. There is nothing to stop one from switching across platforms, or using more than one platform, especially if one wants to appear hip.

Over the years social media has opened up possible avenues for income streams, mostly in the area of sales. After all, the possibility of sales is what drives advertising. If you have a large following, and you have created a product to sell, you can market it straight to your followers. This product can be anything from web templates, books, SEO advice, or crafts like jewellery. If you like singing, you can make a cover song and sell it, but just as long as you register for a mechanical license which allows you to do so. Cover songs can be better and more profitable than the original. Did you know that Hound Dog was not Elvis Presley’s own work, but a cover of someone else’s? (You can read more about this in the Piano Teachers N10 blog.)

You don’t need to even produce a product to sell in order to derive some form of income. If you have any followers who do these, you could market their products for them and get a percentage of the sales, in a process known as affiliate marketing. The role of social media influencer has also evolved over the years. This is a less direct form of marketing, where individuals present themselves as accomplished in their field, and refer to products that they use, in order that aspirational followers may follow suit. Think of the female blogs that talk about the beauty products they use. There is no buy now link, but people are subtly influenced to try out the products, after buying them of course, because they have read a good review which they don’t realise has been paid for.

Social media is great, but be aware of the toll it can take on your mental health. Initially you will be able to respond individually to your followers, but as they increase you will find it more and more difficult to respond and keep up, which may leave you mentally exhausted and dissatisfied. So while you open yourself up to more business opportunities, be careful that they do not overrun you!