Social Media Impact and Significance
The instantaneous nature of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, among others, has created a new communication channel to connect and share information. Today we interact, comment upon and share anything, anytime.
Social media is a serious business and needs to be recognized as a profession, with the professional immunity available to other professions such as doctors, lawyers, and chartered accountants, etc. Besides, various academic courses in social Media Management should be formulated and implemented globally.
Why Social Media is Important?
Social media plays a vital role in our life. We are living in the information age and we visit social media platforms like Facebook, Gmail, many times in a day for the purpose of information as well as entertainment. Social media has become a channel that also helps in our careers. In the wake of technology evolution, we have facilities that place the world at our fingertips and give us the ability to connect with anyone, anywhere, anytime. It has given us insight into the world beyond our borders and an opportunity to achieve goals that once seemed unrealistic and too far stretched.
How Social Media Started?
Before the ubiquitous Facebook, there were other social media platforms/ networks. In 1979, Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis, two graduate students from Duke University developed Usenet, a platform where you could post news or articles. It was responsible for the evolution of newsreader clients. The late 1990s saw the introduction of Bulletin Board Systems (BBS), one of the first forms of social media, which were operated through personal computers and were accessible to one person at a time. Later in 1988, we were introduced to Internet Relay Chat (IRC), which enabled users to link and share files. Then came Six degrees in 1977 with more advancements, but unfortunately was shut down in 2001.
In 2004, Facebook kickstarted its journey at Harward University. But before that, it was known as Facemash in 2003, created by Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin. It was designed to help users rate fellow classmates by giving them two photos. Facebook picked up pace, becoming hugely popular by 2008 and now omnipresent. Today, Facebook has grown into one of the largest internet companies in the world with more than 2 billion monthly active users.
Meanwhile, MySpace was launched in 2004, enabling users to customize their profiles, embed videos and post music, while chatting with each other. It soon became the most famous social media platform in the world. Next was YouTube, one of the major sharing sites and video hosting platforms, that allowed users to instantly upload videos and share these to the whole world. Twitter came in 2006 and, after four years, Instagram in 2010. And the list goes on.
How Social Media Influences a Democratic Society ?
Many agree to the various advantages of social media such as voicing voter concerns, affordable access to information, etc. However, there are concerns. Some pitfalls are already being addressed, others are being examined. Logically, newsfeed was designed to seek and understand what type of content one likes and, thus, show him/her more of it. Sounds innocent enough.