Social media is often branded as a way to connect with friends and family members. While it does that, the reality is that it's also one of the main ways that people interact with companies and brands. The level of contact is unprecedented. In the past, people thought of corporations as these distant entities that they could never really connect with at all. Sure, they could write a letter of complaint or praise, but they'd often hear nothing back. If they did, it would take days or weeks. The most they could really do was complain about a brand to their family members in person, and that's as far as their influence reached.