Social Media: Then and Now

Complete History of Social Media: Then And Now

Communication is essential in life, one can argue that without communication the world might as well not rotate around the Sun.

The term “social media” might feel new, but the truth of the matter is that it stretches to the very beginning of life on Earth. The earliest human beings, insects, animals, mammals, etc. each developed their own way of communication with each other to ensure their survival in a dangerous world, the written word, however, goes back to 550 B.C. when the first letters were created and transported to their readers. Since then, letters have evolved from being passed around to being sent instantly thanks to the internet; you no longer need to wait several weeks for a response, you can get it in less than a minute pending if your communicator is also online and engaged with you in a discussion. Still, despite the popularity of email, texts, and instant messaging, some people consider sending physical letters in the mail more personal but it really varies on the person who writes the message and who receives it.

Much time later, the first telegraph was created in 1792. The telegraph was able to transport messages to responders much quicker than the delivery service of a person and their horse, though the messages had to be brief in order to really get out. Nevertheless, this was one step forward in social media. In a way the telegraph can be considered the ancestor of Twitter, as you can only really type in a specific number of characters in your message in order for it to be sent.

One hundred years later saw the creation of the first working telephone and the radio, both invented only a single year apart( Telephone was created in 1890, the radio in 1891). Both of these are still used today, but have evolved quite a bit. Now, you can carry your phone anywhere and you can use it for more than just talking back and forth to someone. The radio has evolved in a number of ways with television, online podcasts, vlogs, etc. Basically, its evolution has transitioned to more visually focused, even in some podcasts if you’re not exactly seeing the person talking you may see visuals that help illustrate the type of person they are and they’re side on a particular topic of discussion. Regular radio can still be found on some websites as well as from your own car.

For countless years stage plays were considered to be the best, most elaborate forms of entertainment, unlike the written word you could see all the action unfold in front of you. The late 1800’s saw the creation of the motion picture, which captured the action through a camera and could be projected on a screen. This new form of communication was used for multiple storytelling purposes. It took some time, but eventually people realized that the motion picture can *really* capture action, and so filmmakers began to experiment with the technology more and trying new and fresh things that people had never seen before, which separated it a lot from your typical stage play which had the imagination of the viewer play a large part in the stories. The motion picture was actually able to *provide* that very imagination and as the technology became more evolved so did the storytelling and the visuals, soon, the creation of the talkie came to be and now audiences could hear the people on the screen speak before their eyes. Now, the motion picture has become one of the primary forms of entertainment in history, not only is it used for the purpose of providing amusement, but also for the news and providing an important message to learn about.

The creation of the motion picture eventually led to the creation of television, allowing people to watch motion picture magic from their own homes. To help put seats into the theatres features had to form new stylistic strategies to keep people interested in going to the theater every week or so, this lead to the creation of the widescreen aspect ratio which presented an image so wide no standard television set could properly project the entirety of the frame. Special effects were also more frequently used in features because studios could afford them much better and would have more time to prep them than television could based on their own scheduling. For the average person who desired to produce their own motion pictures to express their own imaginations or preserve fond memories they had to purchase their own film cameras and film stock, and after shooting they had to get the footage developed, either by a store or themselves. It was both a good and a negative for some because you couldn’t get instant results and you could never be too sure if the footage turned out fine.

The late 90’s and early 00’s saw the official birth of what is known as “the digital age” – people now have the power to create their own motion pictures for as many purposes as they see fit. With digital technology people can get instant results, edit them as long as they wish, and upload them for all to see with ease. There’s a video feature in most social media platforms out there today, i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and websites designed specifically for video like YouTube and Vimeo. Through modern social networking sites many people have the potential to become online sensations and gain hundreds to thousands of followers. Meanwhile, the battle between television and feature motion pictures continues with television being able to produce more engaging storytelling and feature-quality visuals, while features themselves are relying a lot on social media to create awareness, pushing for higher concept titles with large budgets, and the optional 3D medium that has saturated the market since the release of 2009’s Avatar by James Cameron. And how can one forget the impressive streaming services of digital platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime? Through these people are getting service instantly and do not need to sit through commercials or crowded movie theaters to enjoy their entertainments, an advantage over broadcast television and theatrically released features, and with the death of the video rental store people can now rent from their own homes, too, with no worry of running out of gas or fear of the movie or TV series box set being already rented out on the shelves. It will be interesting to see where motion pictures will go in the future, one thing is certain though digital is the future.

Video Games have evolved from a physical exercise to the have-a-seat-and-think board game to the video game. Originally a quite simplistic medium for amusement it has grown from Pac Man to Mario and Sonic to Nathan Drake and Master Chief.

The medium has now become more reliant on communication between players and encourages multi-game player activity through the system networks of either Playstation, X-Box, or Nintendo Wii. You can also share scores and record your gameplay and upload instantly to your social networking pages.

Social networking has evolved quite dramatically in the past ten years. Originally, Myspace was the dominant place to socialize online with Youtube being another good outlet. Sometime later, Facebook and Twitter both replaced Myspace while Youtube’s popularity grew and its costumer/user service became more friendly to use making it more accessible. Instagram,Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Digg, Blog, Vine, Behance, DeviantART, and Flickr have also risen to popularity in recent years and have their own apps available for use on tablets and phones. Social networking has changed the world, there’s no denying it, and it will continue to grow as the years go on. Eventually, Facebook or Twitter may lose steam and public interest and be replaced by one or two new social networks that may present the same qualities or better and be THE best place to connect with friends, family, co-workers, businesses, and celebrities. We live in exciting times.

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