I’ve watched the social media phenomena unfold and it has been very interesting to observe. Some ideas have become blockbusters, some have just been busts and others have been flashes in the pan.
Do we know if Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. will be flashes in the pan as some of their predecessors? No, of course not. However, I don’t personally expect those services to be around in say 10 to 20 years … at least not in their present form. I feel certain they will be far different than they are today if they manage to survive (and I hope for all of their investors and employees – they do survive but there is already evidence Facebook may be losing favor with some.)
Based on the history of the Internet, I would say I have my doubts that today’s most popular social media sites and applications will be tomorrow’s. It is hardly a clairvoyant thought to say I expect something new to come along and either dramatically alter, or replace entirely, social networking entities like Facebook and Twitter.
This all leads to a point I’m trying to make. When I think about it, social networking is not new AT ALL. Maybe the term is new, but social networking has really existed since man first walked on Earth and different mediums have evolved and/or been replaced.
I think the ancient carvings on cave walls were social networking. Those carvings were intended to communicate a message. It’s the way people shared information, thoughts, ideas and even personal feelings with an intended audience at the time. Does social networking require electronics? I think not … I believe that’s just the way it is facilitated today.
Heck, if you think about different types of communications down through the ages, the term social media can, in my opinion, be applied.
What about smoke signals? That form of communication dates to ancient Greece and China and is well known in Western folklore as a way Native Americans warned others of impending danger. Today, it is still a smoke signal in the Vatican that communicates the message that there is a new pope. However, smoke signals were also used as forms of greetings in some cultures, which makes me ask; if a “Hey, what’s up dude?” is posted on a Facebook page and that is social media, then why wouldn’t a smoke signal from 200 B.C. that said, “What hath thou been up to ye dude?” be considered social media?
From a caveman chiseling a message in stone telling future generations how people of his day lived, to a telegraph operator tapping out a birthday greeting for a recipient across the continent, to someone Tweeting where they’re having lunch and everything in between … I think it can all be recognized as social media.
One final question pops to mind (sorry, couldn’t resist) … can fireworks that we’ll see this coming weekend contain messages that could be considered social media? Don’t know the answer, I’d say “probably not” to that one, but I can’t wait. I love Independence day.
Happy 4th and God bless America!