Tuesday, September 10, 2013
10 Years of Social Media
The term "social media" was first used around 1997, (credit is given to then AOL executive Ted Leonsis). It was around this time that the internet began to become a commonly used tool in the United States and around the world. Email emerged as a primary communications tool, and the fascination with the World Wide Web began to infiltrate all types of businesses. But it was a few more years later before it went wild.
LinkedIn an MySpace both launched in 2003. Today we have lived through a decade of active mainstream social media usage. Facebook was founded in 2004 (but did not open beyond college campuses until later), YouTube in 2005, and Twitter was late to the game in 2006. And of course the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 changed everything.
At the time it seemed like every year there was something newer and cooler (and everyone wanted to launch the hot new product at SXSW). But now these tools, and countless others, are commonplace. It has been awhile since anything with legs has garnered the imaginations of the masses, but we are forever changed by this thing called "social media", which has been amplified by the use of our mobile devises.
In a world where we are all hyper connected, are we better networked? Is a 'like", "link", "share" or "follow" leading us to better relationships? There are many stories of those who have seen unparalleled success in social media circles, but are most people feeling the impact?
This is a hot topic of discussion at conferences. A few years ago business events had entire "Social Media Educational Tracks", but recently the discussions seems to be moving to "Now What?". After ten years with the online tools, many people are still feeling as if they are not reaping the rewards. Is it the fault of the individual, or is massive connectivity not really as practical on a world-wide scale?
Nobody has all the answers, but it is an interesting conversation to facilitate. Social Media often reminds me of high school... the popular kids seem to think there is no issue of controversy in the way the social landscape plays out. But others who are not at the cool-kids table see the world differently. There is certainly a popularity hierarchy in social media and some are not seeing the hyped levels of results.
It will take another few decades to reach a viewpoint that will put this all into perspective. We are still in the early stages in the changes to how we communicate, but does this change how we connect? I wonder if most people feel more connected in 2013 than they were in 2003? I am having more conversations with people I know, but do I feel I have a deeper friendship with most because I read about the burrito they ate for lunch? And do we care more because we have more information?
How do you feel after 10 years of social media?
Have A Great Day