Blog Post

Move the Meter: Social Media’s Evolving Influence

The power of social media — and the myriad uses that keep us on our toes
October 16, 2017

From fueling political revolutions to making overnight celebrities of average Joes, the power of social media is unlike any other communications medium of our time.
As a result, social media companies like Facebook and Twitter have come under increased pressure to crack down on the proliferation of false, hateful or threatening content on their platforms.
Cyberbullying is one especially troubling way that social media is used for intimidation and humiliation – sometimes with devastating consequences.
From Eric Anderson, Director of Content and Engagement:
The potential role of social media in teen suicide is the topic of two recent stories by Denver Post reporter Jennifer Brown.
Colorado’s suicide rate for teens ages 10 to 18 has increased at an alarming rate, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, nearly doubling between 2006 and 2016. It is the second leading cause of death among Colorado teens after unintentional injuries.
One heart-breaking article explores whether the Sarahah anonymous feedback app can promote cyberbullying.
The second piece highlights how Littleton students launched a social media blackout in response to local teen suicides. “We’re not saying social media causes suicide, because it doesn’t,” Joe Roberts, junior class president at Heritage High School, told The Denver Post. “But it’s definitely a factor. People can become jealous and depressed. People are posting these perfect pictures and perfect tweets.”
From Laura Bernero, Owned Media Strategist:
Instagram continues to roll out new features to encourage user engagement and create a sense of community. Announced recently: a polls feature in Instagram Stories allowing you to instantly collect preferences from your followers. Whether you need help with a shoe selection or smoothie flavor, it’s got you covered.
Other new creative features (like color picker) are fun too, but the poll feature has my vote as the next game-changer for brands on the app.
Allison Nipert, Content Strategist:
For those of you who still think Snapchat is a pointless app for Gen Z teens to send each other selfies, it might be time to start taking the social media app seriously — both for personal use and as a marketing tool for businesses. Snapchat has added a new feature called “Context Cards” that allow users to book a Lyft, make reservations, read reviews and more — all within the app. Expect to see competitors Facebook and Instagram follow suit.
From Katharine Brenton, Editorial Strategist:
Speaking of Snapchat, here’s an interesting tidbit that sheds light on a key audience for marketers. New research from Nielsen quantifies Latinas’ tech use, finding that the influence of this fast-growing demographic group is expanding. Latinas are social trendsetters and avid video consumers. In fact, on some popular platforms, Latinas’ usage is exponentially higher than their non-Hispanic white female counterparts. Latinas use Snapchat at a rate 96 percent higher than non-Hispanic white women. They use Instagram at a rate 64 percent higher, and Spotify, Google+ and Pandora at 58 percent higher rates.

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