To think… it was only 11 years ago that Facebook was created. Who would have thought that one social media platform could have such an incredible affect on the society in which we live. In 2011, 48% of 18-34 year olds were checking Facebook when they woke up. In October 2014 Facebook announced that 864 million people were logging on daily.
In the last decade, we have developed a strong addiction to the social stream, the neverending flow of information, images, content and communication, whilst developing a simultaneous need to contribute to it. With international travel becoming cheaper and easier to organise, Facebook has given travellers the perfect platform to keep in touch with family and friends, as well as an easy way to visually share their overseas experiences (which in some cases has lead to insane holiday envy).
The Facebook “News Feed” since it’s introduction nine years ago, has revolutionised the way society interacts online and as a result, has contributed to the development of what can only be defined as the ‘brag culture.’ This new cultural trait of first world consumers, is why Facebook is such a valuable platform for brands to connect with their customers.
As consumers, we are becoming fixated on the way that our lives appear online. If your brand/business/product/service can improve the appearance or social status of your consumer online, then you are already ahead of the game. Fashion brands excel on social media as they use their consumers’ vanity to sell clothes. They encourage consumers to share outfit choices with their online social circles, then these brands share the best images on their own pages. This gives some customers their 15 minutes of fame, and influences other customers to share images of the brand across their social circles, in the hope of achieving their own 15 minutes of fame.
It is most interesting however to think about how businesses that are not in industries focused on vanity, can capitalise on this new brag culture and develop a deeper brand realtionship with their consumers by raising their social standing online. Take charity organisations for example, whilst not focused directly on improving a person’s appearance, charity can in fact be an act of vanity when the motives behind donations are not entirely philanthropic…
What do you think? I’d love ot hear your thoughts on the transformation of the social stream in the comments.