February 14, 2011

posted by: Carissa Drohan-Jennings

Social Media Is Not A Fad - It's An Evolution of Online Communication

Social media is not a fad; it's simply an evolution in online communication - it's a trend and a way of life.

Let me start off by clearly defining the difference between a fad and a trend.  A fad is defined as a short-term, fleeting interest in a product or event, whereas a trend is a long-term preoccupation with something.  A trend has the staying power to endure the test of time.  Social media is a trend and here's why.

Social media is actually not a new concept to the Internet.  Social media in essence is just people gathering together in an online space to share their lives with one another.  They do by sharing their thoughts, opinions, pictures and hobbies in an online space - be it a bulletin board, blog or social media website.  When you look at social media as simply being an online place to communicate then you soon realize that it's been around since the beginning of the internet.

Communication online can be traced back to the late 70s and early 80s, where Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs) and Usernets facilitated communication. In the early days these systems were primitive and not user-friendly, therefore they only really appealed to tech-savvy programmers and Internet thirsty youth, but the communication still occurred.

By the mid-90s the technology had advanced by leaps and bounds and the Internet was accessible in most homes or offices.  This gave way to programs like IRC, ICQ and Instant Messaging.  People began interacting with one another around the world.  The boundaries of communication were broken and people began sharing thoughts and ideas with one another.  Dating long-distance started to evolve and couples who had never met began to form emotional bonds.  These days online dating results in 1 in 5 relationships, according to match.com.

In today's world the internet facilitates most of our communication.  Daily we email, text message and video chat with our friends, family and colleagues.  The world wide web has changed our lives and we're communicating at a hyper level.

So you see, social media cannot be a fad.  Communication online has already stood the test of time.  It's been around in some way, shape or form since the Internet began.  It's true that some social media websites may come and go and go, but people will always be looking for the next greatest way to connect with one another online.