Consumers fall for the social media trap

Creative+commons.

Creative commons.

Caitlyn Reick, Contributing Writer

Your Instagram and Facebook may be costing you your savings. Social networking sites are one avenue for corporations and universities to capitalize off the younger generations.

While social media may be contributing to useless spending amongst consumers, it has actually been a benefit to the economy.

In an online article, Social Media is Reinventing How Business is Done, Marc Benioff, chief executive of salesforce.com, states, “At a very basic level, Facebook is the most popular application ever, with a billion people who know how to use it.”

In the United States alone, Facebook has raised 100 billion dollars and created 1.1 million jobs.  Facebook is not only prevalent here in the United States, its impact can be seen worldwide.

According to the Social Times, Facebook’s effect on the global economy has resulted in 227 billion dollars and 4.5 million jobs.

“The ability to access information is much better because it’s easier to get to it,” Benioff goes on to explain. Social media allows for small developing businesses and entrepreneurs to promote their ideas on a grand scheme.

Around 190 million people in the United States spend about 68 hours a month on the internet, checking statuses, snapchatting, tweeting, instagramming, etc. Advertisements come across people frequently, often diverging their attention away from their conversations to various online stores.

Dan O’Malley, co-owner of American Products Group, located in the Chicagoland area, utilizes various forms of social networking in order to spread awareness about his company. American Products Group sells a variety of kitchen supplies: cutting boards, pastry mats, and rolling pins are just a few of the many products sold.

O’Malley takes advantage of the “large outreach” that Facebook has, and also promotes his developing business with a blog created by Rose Levy Beranbaum, found at  www.RealBakingwithRose.com. Beranbaum tests and displays their items and details about them in blog posts; customers are able to comment their feedback as well.

“All these social media outlets allow for people to be buzzing about our company, which is a necessity for any business,” O’Malley states.

Companies can use blogs or feedback from media to adapt to their consumers’ desires. Universities are also taking advantage of these sites as well.

Ms. Rubino, school guidance counselor, explains how colleges get creative with their recruiting processes in contemporary society. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook can all help reel in students and make more revenue for their university.

According to “How colleges use, misuse social media to reach students,” by Umika Pidaparthy, a recent study from the University of Massachusetts- Dartmouth showed that 100% of the universities surveyed use social media to interact with students- this is up from 61% in 2007.  98% of those schools from the survey report having a Facebook page and 84% have a Twitter page.

Many schools are realizing that even smaller, lesser known schools can attract an array of students all across the country by utilizing social media as an avenue for connection.

High school seniors in contemporary society understand that an essential part of the college-decision process is joining a Facebook group for their graduating class; they become acquainted with students who have also decided to attend that school and learn more about the university as as a whole.

While college advertisements are prominent, they are one of many advertisements catching the eyes of people. Many businesses utilize sites to lure consumers to their online stores.

Marika Tammaru, sophomore and avid social media user, describes how “most of the posts on Instagram or other social networking sites contain advertisements or promotions of some sort.”

Rebecca Gathof and Chloe Connolly, freshmen, also support Tammaru’s statement and describe how they both use some form of social media every day and often drift away from their conversations to online stores.

However, the impact the advertisements have, can be seen in the phone bills and credit card bills of parents. When it comes to online shopping and extra dollars going to phone bills for social media capabilities,  parents are spending their salaries willingly,

Connolly explains, “I do not pay for any part of the bill, but my parents want to speak with me on a regular basis, so they choose to pay for it.” Parents are spending countless dollars on phone bills and upgrades in order to be able to stay in touch with their children, under the misconception that it is a necessity in contemporary society.

Jeanne Monch, mother of a student who uses social media here at Glenbard West, realizes the gaining popularity of smartphones and the improved technological advancements with communication, yet argues “access to social media is not a critical factor when buying a phone, rather it is a luxury that accompanies the use of a smartphone.”

This apparent “luxury” has evolved into a critical aspect of our culture today.

Whether you believe that social media is a benefit to today’s generation, one cannot dispute the fact that is has an enormous economic impact- with businesses utilizing it to reach out to consumers and to increase revenue- on the lives of American families and families across the world.