Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Evolution of Social Media

By Cinterra Lucas

In this day and age, the internet as well as cell phones is one of the top priorities in almost everyone’s life. Some older people may not understand why they often see young adults and even children so into the phones. What people fail to realize it is not so much the phones that they are into but the social media websites that they are members of that have them fascinated.

Social media websites started as something so little but have evolved over the past years. In the early 2000’s there were social networks sites such as Bebo, Sconex, and MySpace. Out of those three websites, MySpace took off, having over one billion users. 

MySpace is the type of social network that allowed you to interact with friends. You were also able to create a profile that included images, videos, and music based on your own preferences. There was also a feature that allowed you to create “Top Friends”-- a section on your page for a list of those you keep in contact with the most. With one click on your page you were able to view their profile without going to the search engine to find them. MySpace was a forefather of the various social media websites we have today.
Facebook is another social media site, which was founded in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook was created around the same time as MySpace, but was not used as much except by college students. This website was created for college students so that they could be able to network with others in the hopes of getting a job after they graduated. More and more people began to use Facebook. In 2009 the purpose of Facebook changed, it was now used as a way for anyone to reconnect with long lost friends and even relatives. The way people found those that they were looking for was through the search engine; all you have to do is enter the individual’s first and last name.
The creators of Facebook recently changed the site’s look and added a couple new features. This was done in order to keep their members on the site. Facebook currently uses a timeline format; this gives you the ability to look at how you have changed socially based on the statuses you posted over the years. If you have Facebook as an application on your phone, you have the ability to synch your contact onto your Facebook page, which allows you to stay connected with them via Facebook. You are also able to upload the pictures that are in your phone onto Facebook without manually uploading them one by one. Facebook has now allowed their users to put a filter on their images, which give the pictures a slight edit and change in color.
Twitter is yet another popular social networking site, founded in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey. Twitter is a website that allows you to “tweet” whatever is on your mind as long as it is no longer than 140 characters.  From congressmen to celebrities to everyday people, everyone used twitter. The way twitter works is you have to follow other individuals via the internet, not in person. You also have the ability to follow celebrities but most likely they will not follow you back.

In order to send a tweet to someone you have to mention them in your tweet by using the @ symbol, followed by their twitter name. If an individual likes something that you tweeted they have the ability to retweet it so the rest of their followers can see. Twitter mainly consists of conversations that are started by a trending topic of the day. You know when a topic is trending when there is a hash tag next to it; i.e. #FinalsWeek, based off of that a lot of users’ tweet’s include #FinalsWeek.
Instagram is one of the most recent social networks, founded in October 2010. Instagram consists of posting nothing but pictures. Just like Twitter, you have to follow people and have them follow you back. Every time you upload a picture, someone will “double tap” the picture, which allows them to like it and they may even comment on the picture. Instagram is not only popular for the images that are posted but for the captions as well.

The proper way to post a caption on Instagram is to involve plenty of hash tags. This is indeed similar to Twitter but Instagram uses more than one hash tag. Let’s take a look at how a caption would look. If someone posts a picture of final grades the caption would be: #Spring2013#FinalGrades#IDidIt#FinallyAJunior.

Based on the many hash tags, Instagram is not for the older generation. 

Social media has changed drastically and will continue to change, especially because of the generation that is coming up. Social media has both advantages and disadvantages; when there is an incident occurring in the world, this is where most people hear it first before turning to the television news or reading a local paper. The downside of seeing information on social media sites is the fact that there are no regulations and what you may see online cannot be considered as a reliable source of evidence.

Cinterra Lucas is a sophomore at Saint Thomas Aquinas College and is going to graduate in May 2015 with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Communication Arts. After graduating she plans to work in the television production field with hopes of becoming a production manager or director.

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