Social Media & Consumerism: Examples & Trends

Instructor: LeRon Haire
The lesson will define the term consumerism, and will go into detail to inform readers on the ways in which consumerism is impacted by today's social media.


The Marriage of Social Media and Consumerism

The evolution of social media has impacted the lives of people in many different ways. From the way we gain information, to the way that we share photos, social media is responsible for helping streamline the way things are now done. The same can be said for consumerism. The type of consumerism we will focus on in this lesson, in its simplest definition, is the promotion of consumer's interests in purchasing goods and services. Let's take a closer look at how social media has impacted consumerism in the world today.


The Power of Information

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, consumers seeking information on a product often had to speak to a store employee, or to someone that actually used the product. That significantly changed with the advent of the Information Age. The Information Age is the recent period of time which reflects a more prevalent use of technology (particularly computers) in everyday use. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are full of free information that can be accessed at anytime by anyone.

For example, let's say that you are interested in purchasing a washing machine, but are unsure of which type best fits your needs. Social media will allow you to post questions about a particular product to those that may already have the brand that you are interested in. The answers, and direct testimonies given, are often considered more reliable than speaking to store employees, or by viewing a company website.

As a component of the internet, social media also impacts consumerism by allowing customers to access direct product information from store sites. Many people that are looking for product specifications (for example, car parts) are able to access these sites directly to get the information needed. Using social media to find out these details can eliminate the need to visit a brick-and-mortar location, thus eliminating time spent in a store as well as commuting.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Many, if not all of you, have heard the phrase 'a picture is worth a thousand words'. It means that being able to see something often provides much more clarity, as opposed to only hearing about it. This is another prime example of how social media has affected consumerism in today's market. In the past consumers were only able to see their desired products by visiting a store that carried it, or by briefly seeing the product during a television commercial.

Social media can provide pictures and images for consumers who want to see a product before purchasing. In many cases, such as with a vehicle or clothing purchase, viewing a product can make all the difference. Access to these images can be a deciding factor on whether or not to buy a product.


You Will Be Heard

As evidenced in the paragraphs above, social media has had a significant impact on how consumers go about making purchases. Social media continues its impact by giving consumers a much larger voice. In the past, if consumers were unhappy or misled in their purchases, their options to complain were fairly limited. One could write a letter to the executives of the organization, or, report it and possibly catch the attention of a local news outlet.

Social media has indeed changed this by empowering users to provide reviews and feedback. This enables the consumer to share comments or complaints with millions of other users within seconds. Organizations that choose to ignore the messages or complaints of their customers risk not only losing those customers, but also garnering a bad reputation.

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