A couple of months ago, Psy, the ubiquitous South Korean “rapper,” made an appearance in a Super Bowl commercial for pistachios and performed his oft-imitated dance. Gangnam Style was the first YouTube video to reach 1 billion (with a “b”) views, a sad indictment of the human race, but pretty sweet for Psy and a sign of YouTube’s cachet.
His transformation from little-known South Korean musician to unoriginal Halloween costume is an example of the increased reach of social media platforms. It’s true that Psy already had a fairly successful music career in South Korea, but lest we forget, YouTube also enabled record execs to discover/create something called a “Justin Bieber.” We non-Beliebers can use that same website to enjoy watching him vomit/collapse onstage, truly a marvel of our brave new world.
Now, as Stuart Elliott’s article in the New York Times reveals, we have another indication of the power of social media: the use of social media netspeak (“fans,” “friend request,” “social network,” etc.) appearing in national ad campaigns.
By expanding their integration with our daily lives, social media have become more than a means for us to interact and discuss baby sloth videos; they’re actually starting to shape the way we view the world and communicate when we’re offline. People are able to relate to our attachment to Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to a greater degree than before. This trend suggests that the shared experience of interacting online resonates with consumers, but also that it is becoming engrained in our culture whether we “like” it or not.