In the beginning, social media acted as one-way communication; an individual had a profile page that they could make their “own” and have others view, but offered no way for people to publicly converse. Consider, for example, Myspace, a network/website for people to connect with each other but ultimately was solely a source for creating one’s own, and looking at other’s, profiles and pictures.
Today, social media is a more robust communication outlet, offering multiple ways of communication, such as the ability to respond to a post and thus provoking discussion about a particular topic. This two-way conversation allows individuals to communicate across the globe.
With the rising popularity of social networking, a surprising number of sites have been successful in the past few years. Google+ was only introduced in 2011 and Pinterest has only been on the scene for a little more than three years. As the number of social media networks has grown the type of social media has varied.
In terms of growth, Facebook is often considered THE first big social network. It started as a site to connect with fellow college students. Now, almost anyone can join Facebook and more and more people are interacting on social media web sites. This allows for even more discussion of topics as more people are joining in on the conversation.
As a result of a growing user base, businesses have begun to use social media as a way to market brands or services. Businesses with a social media presence often have greater success than their competitors who do not simply because they are more visible to the people on these sites. Entire industries have been created with the sole purpose of increasing this visibility. Social media post scheduling is also a new trend, as businesses can use programs to schedule a post, tweet, or comment to their specific social media account at a designated time.
With the advent of the smart phone, people have started to spend less time on their computers and more time on their phones. As a result social media has made a strong push to become more mobile. Sites like Facebook and twitter have entire departments dedicated solely to mobile development. Now, more communication and social media posting is done from the mobile device than ever before.
From the modest beginnings of AOL and Myspace to the powerhouses of Facebook and Twitter, social media has evolved and changed the way people communicate with each other and the way businesses market to their clients. We can access social media sites from almost anywhere and post our opinion or comment to anyone anywhere in the world.