Can you call 2020 the peak of the era of Social Media? Possibly yes! That’ s the only thing keeping us partially sane (and also, the only thing partially driving us crazy). In these times of social distancing, when we are away from our friends and may be families too, when all things unexpected are taking place, what options do we have if we don’ t even meet our friends online?
Online is the new classroom - where we get our lessons; the play-ground - where we play, get fit and do the challenges; the canteen - where we chill, relax and gossip; and also the after-school activity centres where we get to meet people of similar interests. Online is the new normal and there’ s no choosing out of it!
But have you ever wondered how social media has perpetually grown and has, kind of, trapped us into itself? It is a pain to see accidents like Boys‘ Locker Room happen or realize what dangers could social media (SM) cause to the society at large. Let’s dig a little into what SM is!
The youngest of us (teens), was born when Social Media had already created solid grounds. Did your parents post about your birth on any social media channel? That would be a memory to mark!
Friendster, the first ever social media channel, became public in 2002, LinkedIn and MySpace in 2003, Gmail - 2004, and ultimately the game changer Facebook
(the one with all the aces) launched in January 2004. The latter single-handedly gathered over 250,000 student-users from just 34 Universities by June of the same year. Back then, FB was actually ‘TheFacebook’ and served the purpose of “an online directory that connected people through social networks at college”.
The journey of facebook precisely defines the transition of social media, or the establishment of it, over the years. Through its journey, from being an ‘online directory’ of students to the present (2020) platform that “helps you connect and share with the people in your life”, the very popular Facebook has made major transitions from being a utility platform “Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you” to becoming a mainstream social media network. Let me decode it further for you:
Initially, facebook defined itself as a virtual network of people ‘around you’, with whom you would certainly be connected offline too. This version of Facebook, helped people to ‘keep up with friends and family’, ‘Share photos and videos’, ‘Control privacy online’, and ‘Reconnect with old classmates ’.
With the transition to the new space for ‘people in your life’, facebook started the norm keeping up with people who were solely connected online and may or may not have met in real life. This included friends of friends or anyone who was ideally just present on the platform, without any real-life connections (acquaintances, classmates, friends or family). This is precisely what social media enables - connecting with people beyond your immediate circles and also the only thing that is bothering us to rely on channels like facebook, instagram, snapchat and more these days.
Look out for this column to learn ways to keep your social media account in your control, rather than being in its control.
Credits: The writer of this article is a Social Media Expert, Digital Marketing Trainer, and a positivity enthusiast.