June 15, 2021
That title is a nod to Bo Burnham’s Inside, the comedian’s latest special on Netflix, in which he spends a hefty amount of time discussing the effects of social media. His song Welcome to the Internet covers how there’s a little bit of everything for everyone, good and bad, and that if you have even a passing interest in anything, you’ll find something to like in this digital world. He goes on to discuss the ramifications for young children having unlimited access to the internet, but that’s a discussion for another time. In this quick blog, I wanted to touch on this massive volume of information, and how we are trying to sort through it with social media platforms.
Social media is, in itself, a tool for sorting through the internet. Here are these platforms that let you voice your thoughts, but also allow you to break down topics by hashtags, keywords, who you’re following and more. By just using these platforms, you’re sifting through the internet.
And that’s good, because hoo boy, there’s a lot out there. Twitter itself receives, on average, 6,000 Tweets every second – that’s 500 million Tweets per day. No one can read all that. 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute (and that was a stat from 2019, so take it with a grain of salt).
All of the time
For marketers, being able to react quickly and efficiently to emerging trends is everything. There’s this feeling that we need to be on the ball at all times, scanning the digital airwaves, as it were, for a growing feeling, a blossoming conversation, and then we are expected to jump on it with something witty, cutting or just appropriate. And honestly, people are right; that is a large part of our job. Keeping up with the social media zeitgeist can make a massive difference in public perception for a brand, and out of touch is always five minutes ago.
So, how do we achieve this? There are quite a few tools to track conversations as they rear their heads. Brandwatch allows you to monitor keywords on Twitter, excluding unnecessary aspects of conversations and homing in on a particular topic, but hashtags and keywords really are the bread and butter of keeping up if you already know something is happening.
The problem is when you don’t, and the answer here is that there is no real easy answer. Becoming aware of emerging trends requires being aware. A part of our job is an expectation that all of us just use social media for part of our day, as research. How are we meant to keep up if we don’t live and breathe the platforms? Even a few minutes on TikTok tells you a new song has been used in an innovative new way that has lent itself to a whole new format everyone is iterating on, and Twitter lets you know what everyone is talking about with its trending topics section, even if that is a little limited.
Speaking of Twitter, the social media platforms are aware it’s difficult to track emerging trends and are constantly working on new ways to make it easier for its users. Twitter has just announced a new content series that will highlight key pointers and notes to assist with marketing strategies, unpack the latest Media and Entertainment news, trends, and insights on Twitter as they happen. Here’s the first overview in the series for anyone interested, but time will tell if this is even still relevant as it’s written and consumed, or if just living and breathing social is still the only real way forward.