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5th October 2021 - By: Charlotte Morse

The day social media broke

The day social media broke

Something unimaginable happened yesterday, we said goodbye to Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp… well only for six hours but it felt long enough.  

The world took a pause as we pressed ‘refresh’ a multitude of times before being informed by online sources (thanks, Twitter!) that there had been an outage. What was expected to be a brief interlude turned out to be a longer affair. For many, ‘Facebook is the internet to them’, explains Doug Madory, Director of internet analysis at network monitoring firm Kentik, discussing the impact of this interactive world switching off their lights.  

Facebook did its best to try and smooth over the situation by apologising to users: “To the huge community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us: we’re sorry.” 

Twitter said hello to everyone 

There are always winners and losers in this game and last night Twitter was crowned king of social media, becoming the main host of this topical conversation. What became a trending topic on Twitter, with many using the hashtag #facebookisdown and #instagramisdown, millions jumped on the conversation last night with funny gifs and memes sharing their frustration. 

Importance of social media 

So, once we all recovered from a severe case of social media withdrawal, the Nifty team began to think about how much we rely on these platforms for personal use, business use and keeping updated with the news.  

Social media is great for engaging with friends and family, staying up to date with the latest news and having a good old rant about whatever we’re passionate about. Brands use social media to voice their message, announce product launches and communicate with their target audience – making it key to most business master plans. 

Our recent blog discussed how the media fuelled the petrol shortage, and a great deal of the momentum for that trending topic was via social media. Approximately 49% of us use social media to stay updated with the latest news. At the touch of a button we can access top stories and then share them to our wider networks.

Over the past year companies have implemented WhatsApp into their marketing strategy, reminding customers about promotions, offers and customer service options and allowing message automation. The introduction of WhatsApp Business made it far easier for brands to create their own catalogue showcasing products; “Businesses always want to build relationships and meet customers where they are. WhatsApp can become one of the most important marketing channels.” 

Brands such as Gymshark rely heavily on user-generated content, as trusted fitness influencers share product endorsed posts about how great the gym apparel is. Similarly, with Depop, described as ‘part Instagram, part eBay’ where reposting content from their audience is key to widening reach and increasing engagement.  

Newsflash 

There has certainly been a shift away from traditional news consumption, with media sources suggesting two-thirds of under 25-year-olds use Instagram for gathering news information and are two times more likely to look at news on social media apps. Rather than waiting for the top stories to break the following day, we can be informed there and then – making it a rapid way of staying connected with current affairs. 

What we learnt last night is how much we rely on these tools as individuals as well as businesses. Social media shapes the way we communicate with others and how we can evoke conversation around pressing topics. 

We can all breathe a huge sigh of relief, tidy away the board games and enjoy scrolling the feed once again, posting to our heart’s content as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram have been plugged back in meaning it’s back to business as usual.