How social media is impacting the future of cultural taste
I have always been fascinated by the internet and its components. My first interaction with the interface was back in 2005, when Yahoo! Messenger was all the rage.
My mother could not afford a family computer at the time so I’d always beg her for N100 ($1 – adjusted for inflation), to buy about one hour of computer time at the neighbouhood cyber-cafe.
The one hour usually sped by because I’d just surf and surf, brimming with excitement as I stared at the screen wide-eyed. For me, the internet was not just a tool of communication, it was a medium of socialisation.
Since MySpace made history as the first internet company to hit 1 million active users, social media has been a concept and a product that has been loved and hated with the same intensity.
Often by opposing demographics but never by opposing psychographics. The reason for demographic disparities is rooted in developmental differences, however, psychographic factors ensure that everyone has a place on social media.
Everyone is welcome. That’s why group chats and Twitter factions exist, and it’s why Facebook favours organic group page engagements over business page announcements.
I know the various tech companies have caught major flak for social engineering platform dependence and people’s attention. However, it is important to highlight some of the good social media has done and will continue to do, especially acting as the melting pot for national and subcultures across the world to synthesize informal language, fashion and style, design and aesthetics.
The nature of social media is to promote exhibition, either for your thoughts or for your appearance, and the reward for exhibition is validation and replication.
One person’s opinions turn to the belief of another person across the world, usually beyond propaganda, but focused around self-awareness, personal space and self-esteem.
Read also: Parenting in the world of social media and vanity
The personal style of a London babe is replicated experimentally by another babe in Lagos, Nigeria. When she is complimented by everyone for her unique sense of style, it reinforces her decision, and completes the process of behavioural change.
The amalgamation of cultural elements across the world is evident in the emergence of the positively rebellious nature of the Generation Z.
They are not bound by the developmental parameters of the older generations simply because the process of social learning, which is a key learning principle in the development of conscious beings, is not limited to their immediate environmental mores and norms.
They can choose their tribe and instinctively absorb the different parts of diverse cultures that appeal to them; music, fashion, social beliefs, and well being are being subconsciously re-engineered for good.
Ultimately, the coming generations can perceive adaptive sensations beyond the parameters of their physical environment – it now literally takes a global village to raise a child.
With the emergence of mainstream immersive technological products and platforms such as AI, VR and the metaverse into the mainstream marketplace, the simulation of social interactions across cultures will become more real-time and synthesized.
I wonder what this eventual global cultural personality will mean for marketers, product and brand managers, PR and digital marketing people as regards segmentation and targeting.
One thing is clear though, the internet has established itself as one of the forces of societal socialization.