We live in a world where social media has become the norm. More and more people get their news and entertainment from regular people than any other time in history. Since the dawn of television, networks have largely decided what people watch and how that material is presented. This left us at the mercy of what a few people thought was important or entertaining. Social media has changed all that:
Viral videos. It's clear that the world has embraced video as a killer app on the Internet. Thousands of videos on YouTube have millions and millions of views. Many of these videos are not professionally made, they are just events that people captured with their personal cameras either at home or out and about. By being able to share videos with a few clicks, they spread like a virus and become very popular very quickly.
One video on YouTube shows a man dancing to different styles from the different eras. It's called the Evolution of Dance and has over 140 million views at the time of this writing. Plus it's made something of a celebrity out of the man in the video and you can even book him to perform at function. If there were know way to share this video online he would just be able to show it off to his friends and family, and it would have remained largely a secret. He could have submitted it to America's Funniest Home Videos but they would not show the full 6 minutes of the video, they would only show a few funny parts.
Or consider the video called Battle at Kruger which shows a baby buffalo get chased by a bunch of lions right into the mouth of an alligator before being rescued by its herd that subsequently chases the lions off. This is a very powerful video showing a scene from nature that would normally not be shared with the world. Clocking in at just over 50 million views it's something that many people would not have gotten a chance to see if it were not for social media.
News footage. More and more big news companies are using footage from everyday people in their news coverage. When the Virginia Tech school shooting occurred most of the footage that was being used was people sending in video and picture from their cell phones from inside the campus and buildings. This sort of thing was not available just a decade ago, when there was no such thing as a camera phone, and digital cameras and camcorders were either nonexistent or big and bulky.
We can expect that any major news event from now on will contain elements of social media. We can also expect that more and more of our entertainment will come from each other rather than giant media outlets.