The emergence and popularity of online social networks in recent years has changed the Internet ecosystem leading to a more collaborative environment. Nowadays, hundreds of millions of Internet users participate in social networks, form communities, produce and consume media content in revolutionary ways
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The internet is basically about people but it is recently seen differently in comparatively terms. Currently, the transformation that is tossing both the worldwide web and the numerous markets that depend and feed on it is possibly in economic terms a ‘correction’ that is forcing it into being a web of people or a community that utilise websites as communication channels to interact with other people (Fraser & Dutta, 2010). In view of this, the composition of the internet has been taking over by web 2.0.
Social media can be described as a vehicle for the sharing and cooperative creation of information by individuals and communities (Hansen et al 2010). It particularly depicts online communication tools and applications. Features of a social media platform may include:
Collaboration – it promote interaction and contribution by audience. It provides an alternative way of transmitting information. Thus, social media tools particularly promote and support feedback, comments, and sharing of information.
Community – social media furnishes an infrastructure for interaction among existing communities and the formation and interaction of primarily or exclusively web-based communities around common interests or goals.
Connectedness – social media helps to connect people and information in one place.
Web 2.0 is often talked about in the same breath as social media. Web 2.0 is a term that is used to define the evolution of the World Wide Web. While there isn’t a hard and fast line between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, Web 1.0 can be understood to represent a “web as information” model and Web 2.0 to represent a “web as participation” model of web activity (Cormode & Krishnamurthy, 2008). Characterized by the creation and interaction with content, users take part and collaborate through virtual communities and social media tools which help easy sharing of information and ideas. Examples of social technologies used to create social media include those from communication (such as Blogs), collaboration (such as Wikis), communities (such as Facebook), reviews and opinion (such as Amazon reader review) and multimedia (such as YouTube).
On the web, social networks are contained versions of blog network which are spreading out in different directions. To join a social network, users normally create a profile and then build a network by connecting to friends and contacts in the network, or by inviting real-world contacts and friends to join the social network (Goodings2010). These communities retain the interest of their members by being useful to them and providing services that are entertaining or help them to expand their networks (Booth, 2008). Such networks provide an extremely suitable space to instantly share multimedia information between individuals and their neighbours in the social graph. Social networks provide a powerful reflection of the structure and dynamics of the society of the 21st century and the interaction of the Internet generation with both technology and other people (Kumar, 2012).
Social Media platforms are not new and almost every graphic designer is reasonably aware of it uses, benefits and effects it. It is a complex web and one shared link leads a graphic designer to another.
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Generally, individuals from all walks of life are engaged in the use of social media. Similarly, graphic designers patronise social media websites and many of them are reasonably fond on one or more of the social networks. However, noticeably, the current developments and challenges in graphic designing show that, social media has turned to be more of a requirement for almost every graphic designer. Currently, industries, institutions, corporate organizations, government and non-governmental organizations are changing their concentration towards social media for its ability to publicise and promote their interests and activities. With this development, the graphic design industry is no exclusion of this new development as most graphic designers employ the services of social media in one way or the other. By using social media, graphic designers share their views and their designing work and provide useful feedback to each other.
Every new development in technology has its own advantages and disadvantages. Social media has its peculiar advantages and disadvantages just as every other technology available to the public for use. Generally, an innovation can either lead to advancement or destruction.
Social media has an infinite benefit for graphic designers, however at the same time; it can demonstrate to be having extremely unfortunate or dire consequences. With abundance of internet connectivity and its low cost availability, social media has become the most inexpensive of all promotional media. Also, social media provide the designers an opportunity to learn from fellow designers and put that learned thing into their practice.
In spite of the fact that social media provides enormous benefits to graphic designers, its overindulgence is bad. Likewise, too much indulgence in the social media websites may render most designers unproductive and redundant because designers often forget their basic work and go off-the-track from their main purpose and functional duties.
It is of this backdrop that this article seeks to find the impact of social media on graphic designers; tailored to unravel the associated benefits and disadvantages derived from the use of social network platforms. This article presents an equilibrated analysis of social media and its impacts on graphic designers.
Materials and Methods
This is a qualitative research which seeks to investigate the impact of social media on graphic designers in Ghana. Observations and in-depth interviews were used to examine designer’s participation in online social media networks and its impact as they discharge their functional duties and responsibilities in their respective organizations. The sample frame of this research was drawn from all advertising companies, printing houses, printing presses and marketing companies in the Kumasi metropolis. This was because most of the graphic designers work with these companies and discharge similar or almost the same duties.
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