Cultural Appropriation of Social Media: Tracing its Evolution and Impact

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Bandwagon Effect: Cultural Appropriation in Action

My name is Aliyah Hayes, and I am from Southfield, Michigan. I am currently taking classes at Oakland Community College to pursue my major in Health Care Administration. For my English 1510 class, I have to write about a cultural phenomenon. A popular cultural phenomenon is social media.

Social media has been around since 1997 with a website called Six Degrees, which lasted until 2001. From then on, until about 2007, social media has taken the world by storm. Social media outlets such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are amongst the most popular social media sites in the world. Social media is a very popular phenomenon and is very important because it keeps me in contact with friends and family I don’t get to see often, as well as giving me a platform to advertise my own business.

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A cultural phenomenon is also known as the bandwagon effect, which occurs when certain people behave in a certain way because other people do it as well. Social media is a cultural phenomenon that everyone participates in. It is so popular because it allows you to connect with people from all over the world. The websites and apps allow users to share personal content with friends and family and sometimes people you don’t even know. For me, the social sites I use are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

These three sites are among the social media phenomenon. Facebook became very popular when I was in middle school because everyone wanted to see what their peers were up to. As the years passed, a new social media outlet emerged called Twitter. Instagram came out shortly after, and it seemed as if everyone migrated to those sites and started to use Facebook less. There is an obvious pattern that when a new social media site comes out, it becomes more popular than the previous one.

Instagram & Facebook: Digital Cultural Shifts

Instagram is one of the most popular social media sites right now. It was created in October 2010. Instagram is an app that lets users upload photos and videos for their followers, which can be your friends and family, to view. Registered users can also apply filters to their photos, add locations, add hashtags to photo captions, and much more. You can also connect your profile to other social media sites as well. With over a billion users, Facebook is the most widely used social network. It started as a network outlet for students at Harvard and soon expanded to other colleges. It is now open for everyone to use to connect with fellow classmates, out-of-town family, and more. Some people use Facebook for entertainment, but it is mostly used for business purposes only.

Over one million businesses advertise on the popular site. You can reach out and connect with clients and potential clients to possibly build your credibility and clientele. Lastly, Twitter is a social platform where people broadcast short statuses, known as tweets, that are only 280 characters in length. Users can share their thoughts, news, and information. You can also follow other users to see what they are tweeting about. Photos and videos can be shared, too. Hashtags became popular with this website because it allows people to join a larger conversation on a specific topic.

Business & Cultural Appropriation on Social Platforms

I am very involved with social media because I check my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook daily throughout the day. For me, it is very addicting because I love to see what’s going on in the world and in other people’s lives. I use my social media platform to share photos of me on vacation, when I go out with friends, my pets, my nieces, and, of course, selfies. I also use these platforms to promote my business for my up-and-coming beauty line. Promoting my brand and business on these popular apps will get me a lot of clientele and buzz around the social media world by posting my products, how to use them, where you can purchase them, and showing how other people look wearing my product.

Therefore, social media has become a cultural phenomenon because people use these sites to connect with family, friends, and old classmates, as well as make business connections. When events, causes, and breaking news occur around the world, it is usually broadcast on social media to get people’s attention so they can help out or help someone in need, and even celebrity attention is useful due to social media. Taking photos to capture the moment and recording a special moment is popular, which is where your favorite social media site comes into play. You can share your most precious moments over these outlets, making the pictures and videos accessible to loved ones and friends. From the business aspect, social media can help you build your clientele and put your business out there for people to support.


  1. Smith, C., & Anderson, M. (2018). Social Media Use in 2018. Pew Research Center.
  2. Obar, J. A., & Wildman, S. (2015). Social media definition and the governance challenge: An introduction to the special issue. Telecommunications Policy.
  3. Chaffey, D. (2019). Global social media research summary 2019. Smart Insights.
  4. Perrin, A., & Anderson, M. (2019). Share of U.S. adults using social media, including Facebook, is mostly unchanged since 2018.
  5. Statista. (2022). Number of businesses advertising on Facebook from 2016 to 2022.

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Cultural Appropriation of Social Media: Tracing its Evolution and Impact. (2023, Aug 26). Retrieved from

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