Social media started primarily a means to interact and communicate with others and the idea was to share the social things that were important and exciting with those that mattered. In the late 1980s and early 90’s there was a marked rise in the manner in which people communicated online, via email, bulletin boards and real time online chatting. This gave rise to the first social media sites.
The early risers
The first attempts at social media were the little known Six Degrees Profile Uploading Service and this was shortly followed by Friendster –neither really make an impact. However, the theoretical work had now been done and there was a sense that the ability to communicate via the internet and in a way that made it immediate was the modern way forward for human socialization online.
The predominant platforms that made it out of this early phase of social media were LinkedIn and Facebook. The others such as Myspace and the attempts by Google+ were all short-lived and some of the main issues were personal data security and an uncertainty about what the platforms were actually for.
The changes and the future of social media
Social media are now the main platforms that are used online, 72% of the American adult population regularly uses social media. Whether for social interaction, shopping, to share gaming with others (whether playing pokies online real money Australia or a first-person shooter) – it can all be shared on social media. Facebook is still around and has over 70 percent of the US adult population, but there have been huge changes in the number and proliferation of channels and platforms. YouTube, Reddit, Instagram, Snapchat, Discord and Twitch are all the new players on the block who have made it big and now dominate the sector.
The changes have predominantly been about the inclusion of more short clips, themed posts and the use of social media for so many more different things and purposes than simply sharing your latest social event.
It was arguably just a matter of time before businesses took over the main platforms and a number of the older apps became more of a business platform than simply social sharing. Facebook and Instagram, for example, are now all about the influencing and promotion of products and services. Hence some of the newer social media sites decided to return the focus to entertainment and fun. It is about the opportunity to produce a viral clip that is seen and accessed by millions of people. This is perhaps the biggest effect and influence that social media can still have, in that it is possible to reach more people than ever before as most of the world now has a smart phone with the capability to make, edit and share social media clips faster and more professionally than ever before.
Social media is now predominantly run and accessed via smart phone apps and as such people now take the online communities that they have chosen to be a part of with them wherever they go.