Looking back on this semester, I’ve learned SO much. From the impact the digital divide has had on our globe to the history of advertising, digital communications has become ingrained into everything we do. One topic in particular we discussed that has resonated with me on a different level is the evolution of social media and how it has substantially changed user behaviors (especially my own). I used to manage social media as part of my career, and even then, I still didn’t fully grasp the impact it has had and will have on our society.
My first social media platform of choice was MySpace — it’s the platform where I learned what HTML code was and how I needed to adjust it to change the colors of my background; the platform where bulletins were the first exposure I had to blogging. I’d come home from school, log-on to my desktop computer, and hope I had notifications from friends commenting on my pictures and new profile song.
If you told 6th grade Madeline that MySpace would fizzle out and Facebook would take over, I never would have believed you. But here we are now, in 2017, and I’m getting Facebook notifications on my Apple Watch even though my phone and computer are right in front of me.
It’s very clear that social media isn’t going anywhere, and millions of dollars are being spent to develop the next big thing: the next update, the next UX, the next messaging platform. Just the technological convergence I’ve witnessed in my lifetime is overwhelming — I’ve got a camera, phone, GPS, heart rate monitor, remote control, and music player sitting in a one inch by one inch supercomputer on my wrist. 10 years from now, I’m sure I’ll be thinking how ridiculous it was that I had to physically use my fingers to text people in order to communicate with them. How much farther can we possibly go?
I also think often about how social media has positively changed my life:
- I reconnected with the love of my life on Tinder (shhhhh, don’t tell my family)
- I recieve dog advice for my Olivia on the “Doodles of NJ” Facebook page
- I stay in the loop on what’s going on in the world with The Skimm app
And then there’s that moment when I catch myself checking a notification on my iPhone while in the middle of catching up with an old friend, and I think to myself: “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I leave the phone in my pocket and be 100% in this moment with someone that matters to me?”
Social media is more than a fad — it’s a present and powerful force has the power to change the way we think about the world, other people, and our own self. As updates come along and new platforms and technologies are introduced, my hope for myself is that I’ll be able to use these technologies and benefit from them, but never let them take me away from living in the present.