When the first smartphone was invented in 1994, it introduced a new concept how cell phones work as it has a skinnier, simpler design and a touch screen that allows users to dial and text like how a cell phone normally does except it is done on a screen. Although it wasn’t popular, it became the stepping stone for the future of smartphones that we know today. Today, there are many smartphone developers that have their own unique functionalities. Samsung, Huawei, Apple and Xiaomi are some of the top smartphone companies in the world with each company having their own unique specialties.
However, what boosts the value of smartphones is the introduction of Facebook, which popularized the term “social media”. During the early years of its establishment, many people used Facebook as a platform to communicate, socialize and post content online without having to pay for messaging. Because of that, the value of smartphones skyrocketed among youths as they would want a smartphone of their own to catch up with the popular trends among their friends. Ever since then, social media has become more important in our modern society as more apps like Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp and Line are created to compete against Facebook and attract their own audience. However, some of them are purchased by Facebook instead which ironically further boosts their profitability. Additionally, some apps are more popular than the others than even Facebook is not popular in the country. For example, LINE and Wechat are messaging apps that are popular within the country, ranking so high that they are the most used apps in the country, which is Japan and China respectively.
There are a few reasons why this happened, but the main reason is the country origin of the apps as smartphone users from these countries feel a sense of pride and patriotism whenever they use an app that is popular overseas. Although not every country has similar circumstances like this, the quality and functionality of the app contributes to the prideful feeling, hence why most citizens would feel proud of using these apps as a way of saying “this is the app that is popular around the world and I’m proud of it”. Additionally, the country’s culture could also contribute to why these apps are popular among them as the app has features that would fit their culture or unique functionalities that other apps do not have. For example, LINE has a feature where users can browse through comics, or manga, news, and shop in a single app, which gives users a motive to rely on the app as more than just a messaging app. Business companies in Japan see this as an opportunity to advertise their products, similarly to how other countries would advertise their products on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To further boost their marketing campaign, they would hire the assistance of a seo expert to make their products advertised in other social media platforms their target audience uses.
Contrarily, social media does have an effect on culture as well. Thanks to the internet, social media users are exposed to more content than their country provides, especially when it comes to news. Newspapers would only focus on covering news locally while having a few sections covering international news, with the exception to sports and entertainment-related news. Through the internet, every user is able to read more international news to learn more about the happenings around the world, with some of the most important news happening recently are protests against racism and unfair laws and regulations introduced by the government. As social media users are exposed more often to international news, they are able to educate themselves more about the issues that are occurring around the world. Additionally, most children these days are exposed to mobile devices provided by their parents to find entertainment, which allows them to become more familiar with modern technology than adults. As children browse through various content on the internet, they will be exposed to mature content and would allow them to mature at a young age.
Since it’s surge of popularity, many social media users would spend most of their time on smartphones to catch up with the latest content on their favorite social media platform. However, this would cause an unhealthy obsession as they would draw 100% of their attention onto their smartphones along with whatever they are doing at the time. This would include walking and driving, which are the most obvious reasons why you shouldn’t be browsing your smartphone, but leads to many deaths and injuries around the world. Aside from that, many people are more exposed to fake news as they would not read articles beyond the headlines or did not conduct a proper research to check the legitimacy of the news. Because of that, there are many groups of people who would believe in some of the most ridiculous things like the earth is flat, vaccines cause autism, 5G towers are the cause of the coronavirus infections and along with many other unproven claims. Despite that, they are the loudest group of people because these people are more active in proving themselves right and would join riots believing for whatever they think is right, even though they are wrong. Social media plays a part into these groups of people’s mindset as it provides a platform for not only these minorities to be loud with their opinions, but allow trolls to fuel their ego.
Overall, social media has a more prominent role than it had two decades ago as most business companies and other industries are utilizing social media to expand their business locally and internationally. But, it provides a platform that fuels the ego of narcissists and trolls alike who would go around and spread fake news and insults. Nevertheless, it will continue to serve as a socializing platform for many smartphone users to communicate digitally and free.
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