The Impact of New Media on Society: 6 Ways Social Media is Changing the World


Scholars have found it a bit problematic defining the New Media because the term is admittedly a loose one. Nelson (2011) explained that “the term New Media refers strictly to no particular class of communication hardware but only to some form of functionality; that is, some particular results associated with applying some form of technology in communication”. In this vein, Okoye (2011) sees the New Media as “that class of communication platforms that integrate the ‘mass’ strength of the traditional media and the interactivity cum participatory advantages of the interpersonal media to give the audience greater control over the communication process”. The New Media are basically founded in the computer and internet technologies and thus have equally been seen as synonymous with the internet and its multifaceted communication platforms. Thus, Nelson (2011) describes the new media to include the following:

  • Internet publishing (books, newspapers and magazine)
  • Social media (blogs, e-mail, SMS)
  • Internet broadcasting (online radio and television)
  • Internet Audio and Video Streaming.

6 ways:


1- Across industries, social media is going from a “nice to have” to an essential component of any business strategy:It started in the newsroom, as Claire Wardle of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism explains: “In just seven years, newsrooms have been completely disrupted by social media. Social media skills are no longer considered niche, and solely the responsibility of a small team in the newsroom. Instead social media affects the way the whole organization runs.” 

2- Social media platforms may be the banks of the future: Imagine being able to pay your rent or make an investment through your favourite social network. That might not be too far off, says Richard Eldridge of Lenddo. “Social media is transforming banking relationships in very significant ways, from improving customer service to allowing users to send money to others via online platforms. New financial technology companies are using social media to help people simply open a bank account. Social media can even impact your ability to get a loan.” 

3- Social media is shaking up healthcare and public health: The health industry is already using social media to change how it works, whether through public health campaigns or virtual doctor’s visits on Skype. It’s also helped groups of people, such as patients suffering from the same condition, stay in touch, say Shannon Dosemagen of Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science and Lee Aase of Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media and its Social Media Health Network: “Social media has been responsible for relevant changes in both personal and community health, especially by making it easier for large numbers of people to rapidly share information.” 

4- Social media is changing how we govern and are governed: Civic participation and engagement has been transformed with social media: “Social media allows citizens to be the source of ideas, plans and initiatives in an easier way than ever before” says Eileen Guo of Impassion Media. In the future, we can expect more and more leaders to embrace this type of transparent governance, as it becomes easier for them to interact with their constituents: “Whereas politicians and government officials once had to travel to interact with citizens, now online town halls strengthen the connections between them, while providing a platform for direct input on government initiatives. 

5- Social media is helping us better respond to disastersFrom Facebook’s Safety Check – which allows users in disaster zones to mark themselves as safe – to the rise of the CrisisMappers Network, we’ve seen many examples of how social media and digital communications more broadly are helping respond to disasters.

6- Social media is helping us tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges, from human rights violations to climate change: The Arab Spring is perhaps one of the best-known examples of how social media can change the world. But it’s about more than just bringing together activists: it’s also about holding human rights violators to account. “Content shared on social media has increasing potential to be used as evidence of wartime atrocities and human rights violations, explain Esra’a Al Shafei of Mideast Youth and Melissa Tyas of Crowdvoice. “Following verification and forensic reconstruction by prosecutors and human rights advocates, these videos are potential evidence that may one day be brought before an international court.”