Humans are social creatures. We connect with each other for comfort, but we also learn about our world and its events, current or historical, from others. Once upon a time, sharing of experiences and information was done in person or through letters that took quite a while to reach their destinations. Since then, society has changed in leaps and bounds with technology perhaps benefiting the most. Thanks to ambitious innovations, a global network has been created that allows connectivity at the tap of a few buttons, whether the exchange is in written, audio or visual form.
Because of how popular this social landscape has become, industries with an interest in consumer markets aim to join it, while investing time and resources to improve and promote it even further. Businesses grow digital communities of their own and make use of tools that foster good customer relations. Website and video game developers create products that encourage interaction that is both handy and entertaining. Let’s take a closer look at the best social platforms, solutions and technologies the digital age has given us so far. It’s always exciting to see just how far we’ve come and the potential our constantly advancing world still has.
Since its launch in 2006, the second platform has accumulated a steady stream of active users amounting to around 330 million every year, according to DMR. They depend on it for a wide range of discussions, from news to fashion to reviews. Interesting patterns are discovered that confirm this, such as the fact that November sees 87% more users talking about holiday shopping on Sundays. These chats then result in sales of products supported by customers eager to share their experiences. Instagram’s focus on images may seem more restricting, but the platform actually serves as a key marketing tool for businesses to attract customers through smart, striking visuals. Both these channels and their popular rivals have become hubs for all social and everyday needs a person or company may have.
While some networks offer many different services, there are providers that focus their attention on specific consumer demands. Dating sites, for example, exist to help users meet new people near them or on the other side of the planet. In the digital age, dating at Badoo is as normal as meeting someone in a café. The platform has already earned the loyalty of 438 million worldwide strangers, 60 million of which use it on a monthly basis. Romance and friendship really can be found with the connective power of the internet. Even better, our choices aren’t limited to just typing words or uploading pictures anymore. Greater means of expression are in our hands – filters, emojis and editing tools. Everything can be altered for fun or artistic effect, to impress, inspire or put a big smile on viewers’ faces.
As great as chatting with friends, family or colleagues may be, it’s not the same as talking to them in person. VoIP services were ground-breaking and invaluable solutions developed to tackle the problem of distance. Free exchanges of audio and video data with a speed and clarity that only gets better with every update were a vital milestone in the evolution of the internet. Skype, the veteran of video chatting, has released a number of additional software options to compete with new and advanced brands that mean business. Looking through the array of Skype add-ons listed on The Windows Club, including Idroo, allowing multiple users to share a digital drawing board, and MP3 Skype Recorder, ideal for taking minutes of an online meeting, it seems that the platform’s management has decided to turn it into the perfect companion for professional interactions. It’s no coincidence that Skype is often used for job interviews.
WhatsApp, FaceTime and Viber are its main rivals, popular choices for video chat among the younger generation of digital users. But why do they even exist if we already have perfectly functional social networks? Because there is a market that was neglected and is now appreciated all over again: people’s need for live communication. If you have something urgent to tell a friend or you want to contact a company’s customer support, text messages and emails are a waste of valuable time as opposed to grabbing the phone and talking to them on the spot. Even though face-to-face interaction is more comfortable and convenient, the immediacy of any kind of live chat is preferable to waiting around for answers. Studies compiled by SuperOffice indicate that 42% of customers like this digital method more than email or social media. Another downside, however, is that businesses are still learning how to use the technology quickly and efficiently.
Music, movies, video games, books. Today, you can find almost anything online. Whatever is thought worthy of publicizing is posted on one website or another for people to enjoy and discuss at their leisure. Live streaming adds new levels of excitement to this phenomenon and at the same time gives contributors yet another tool, not just for entertaining their followers, but also building a viable source of income. By broadcasting their experiences and consistently drawing the public spotlight on them, brands take notice and pay them for their marketing influence. The marvel of live streaming is even clearer when looking at how creatively charitable causes have made use of it. The Guardian praises the philanthropy of geeks as they spend days on the annual Desert Bus for Hope, sharing their agonizingly tedious drive of a virtual bus for as long as viewers keep donating. $5 million has been gathered since the first stream in 2007.
Speaking of gamers, the best examples of social entertainment are MMOs and eSports. Multiplayer video games have brought people together for years. Magical and intergalactic universes are created just to be filled with the avatars of fun-seeking gamers that team up to conquer monsters, quests and other players. Competitive games follow the same principles, but are also given a brightly lit, high-tech stadium, global recognition and potentially millions in winnings. There are platforms like Twitch and YouTube that broadcast eSports tournaments, as well as anything a gamer wants to amuse their fans with. Even they can get paid when they exceed 1,000,000 views at an average of, Influence Marketing Hub estimates, $3-5 per 1000 views. The things connectivity can do are only limited by users’ and developers’ imaginations.
Tech in the Background
From Samuel Morse’s first transmission of an electric telegraph message in 1844 to a global network connecting 210 nations and counting, the internet has bloomed into an irreplaceable part of our lives. Explain that Stuff goes on to break down how it all works, the basic principle being that it’s a system mainly based on telephone networks where cables meet radio and satellite transmissions to transfer data from one computer to another. Performance is affected by the quality and condition of the physical and digital components that constitute our modern web, a system far more efficient than the dial-up methods of the 90s and early 00s. The brains behind this technological evolution have definitely succeeded in making this network as practical, safe and user-friendly as possible – and they continue to do so.
In terms of live streaming, the process is as complex, but also as easy to make sense of and use with the help of a decent guide. Based on Epiphan’s step-by-step instructions, anyone can stream live content, provided they have the right tools: a video and audio source to capture the desired action, an encoder to convert the recorded data into the correct format for live streaming, a streaming destination for the content to be shared, and a stable internet connection that won’t interrupt the whole process. Again, there are many more details involved, but an admirable fact is that this technology is available for public use. Research, practice and determination are all you need to show the world your passions through the foremost broadcasting system currently in existence.
Every website, software and system is worth exploring in order to answer key questions. How does it work? How and why was it made? What does it offer now? Considering the next frontiers being reached for include virtual and augmented reality, smart accessories and houses, not to mention holograms, we can have fun imagining how we’ll be able to connect with people in the next decade. Screens may be gone and we could have the option to experience, instead of simply see, things posted online. Whatever the case, the technological web will continue to grow and the amazement, thrill and humility felt towards it by the people it accommodates will become stronger still. Another fact we can confirm is that the point of creating all the above is to improve social interaction, even if it means that it mostly happens online. Today, we can chat, watch, play, argue, advertise and help through the power of connectivity. Tomorrow is an exciting, if slightly scary, mystery.