Does Social Media Affect Shopping Decisions?

I was told to write an article on how social media affects Christmas shopping decisions. At first, this seemed like a completely normal and simple topic. However, when I started to brain storm what my positioning in the article was going to be, I found myself very confused. I realized that in 2010, this would have been a straightforward question: Does logging onto Facebook affect what you want for Christmas? In 2015, asking whether social media affects your Christmas wish list isn’t only a complicated question- it’s practically two or three separate questions all wrapped into one. This article is going to be an answer to the assigned article topic through dissecting the various ways the topic can be interpreted.

Assigned article topic: How does social media affect Christmas shopping decisions?

Ways I could interpret this topic

Interpretation 1: Does scrolling down your Facebook timeline and seeing friends in cute clothes, doing fun things, or using cool technology affect your Christmas wish list? If you see something that you want, do you text the friend who had it to find out the details so that you can officially add it to the list?

Response: The Christmas list created out of want of what others have is definitely a real one, but I can’t say I go onto social media to pointedly look. I think we all occasionally spot something we think looks great or fun and proceed to ask for details about it. However, I don’t think many scroll down their timelines looking to add to their Christmas list.

Interpretation 2: An almost inherent part of getting onto social media these days seems to be the targeted ads and banners floating around your content. If I look at a pair of shoes, they follow me around until I click on the next thing I want, which will ultimately take its place. So another interpretation of this question could be, does getting onto social media affect your wish list, given everything you have clicked on in the past month is suddenly flashing in your face reminding you that you didn’t buy it?

Response: To this, I would say getting onto social media almost certainly affects my wish list! If I had been asked this question a couple of years ago, this would not have been the case. The banners floating around my screen could have been for literally anything, and they more than likely would have been advertising for something completely irrelevant to my life. Getting onto social media would have had nothing to do with my wish list. Now, banner targeting through social media definitely affects my Christmas wish list.

Interpretation 3: Do you use social media sites that were created for shopping and shopping ideas- such as Pinterest to form your shopping list?

Response: I would give this interpretation of the question a yes as well. Pinterest is an internet oasis of things perfectly photographed and edited to look the most desirable the item could possibly look. You name it, I assure you it is on Pinterest somewhere. Whether you want your gift to be a home good or a new scarf, Pinterest has a post, and usually a link to the seller. You can literally type in “holiday gift ideas” and get back pages and pages of ideas. Pinterest was practically created to help me with my Christmas list.

Given 2/3 interpretations scored a solid “yes, social media does affect my Christmas list,” I will conclude that my Christmas list is impacted by the digital world. Social media gives us an endless opportunity to want- through targeted ads and sites made for shopping and gift ideas. The one thing I will say in conclusion is that at least Christmas is a reason for us to ask for the things we find online versus impulsively buying them ourselves!


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