It seems that everyone is using one of the social media platforms, no matter what age they are. It has even become one of the most important marketing platforms in the modern world. It has become engrained in almost everything that we do. Rarely a week goes by that you do not hear about social media in the news. But has Social Media become too powerful?
No one can doubt the power of Social Media and perhaps the most influential Social Media platform is Microblogging platform Twitter. Every celebrity or business that matters has a Twitter account; if they don’t have one then they are losing out on a lot of money. It is a way for celebrities to communicate with their fans in a more personal way. And for businesses, it is a great way to drive traffic to their websites, or just get more exposure for their brand. Most businesses either have a dedicated Social Media executive, or team of executives.
The crazy truth is that Twitter may have actually become too powerful. Twitter now has the power to put people in jail. I don’t mean that it is a law unto itself, I mean that if you tweet something that is too offensive, you can actually be arrested. The internet was originally designed to be kind of anonymous. Now you can be arrested for writing an offensive comment on Twitter. The first such incident was when Daniel Knight Hayden said he wanted a war against the U.S. government and to cut police men’s heads off.
Some other examples of the power of Twitter are that in 2013 a fake tweet managed to wipe $130billion off the stock market. It claimed President Obama had been injured in an explosion. Through the use of an unfortunate hashtag #nowthatchersdead; many people were led to believe that singer Cher had died. The hashtag was actually referring to Margaret Thatcher’s death. Over one billion tweets are sent every 48 hours and due to this, Twitter is able to predict flu outbreaks. Its largest presence is in Saudi Arabia where internet usage in famously restricted. If twitter has managed to penetrate that market so heavily with roughly 33% of the population using the service, it is a testament to its power.
Despite never actually making a profit, Twitter is worth roughly $30 billion, even though it made a loss of $645 million in 2013. Rapper 50 cent was even able to use his Twitter account to make $5 million, by convincing his followers to invest in his loss making business H&H imports. Dutch porn star Bobbi Eden even promised to pleasure each of her 100,000 twitter followers if Holland won the 2010 World Cup. Luckily, for her they didn’t win.
With all of these accomplishments, one has to wonder, has twitter become too powerful? Should anyone have this much power or influence let alone a Social Media platform?