It’s undeniable the effect that social media has on our society today. It seems like people can’t go an hour without checking their Facebook, or sending out a tweet, or posting a picture of their food to Instagram. Through these social media outlets, you are constantly connected to virtually everyone you know. According to Clay Shirky, this need for humans to be social is ingrained in our DNA.
“Human beings are social creatures—not occasionally or by accident but always… Sociability is one of our lives as both cause and effect. Society is not just the product of its individual members; it is also the product of its constituent groups. The aggregate relations among individuals and groups, among individuals within groups, and among groups forms a network of astonishing complexity. We have always relied on group effort for survival; even before the invention of agriculture, hunting and gathering required coordinate work and division of labor.” (Shirky, 2009)
If you really think about it, humans have always been social creatures. If we simply isolated ourselves, how would we ever get things done? How could there be civilization if nobody ever interacted with anyone else. We would all be like Jodie Foster in the movie Nell.
But now that everyone is connected through social medias, where could we possibly go now? I would assume these companies will try to integrate all of the forms of social media into one place. A one-stop-shop for all your social media needs. Like the Wal-Mart of the Internet. I think Facebook and Google are both trying to figure out the best way to bring all of these things together, but neither of them has gotten it quite right. Facebook does a phenomenal job of connecting friends and allowing them to share all sorts of medias, yet people still turn to Google or Twitter or a number of other sites for other things.
More and more people sign up for Twitter because of the real-time effect it has. People can post quick blurbs with links to photos or articles about an event AS IT IS HAPPENING. (Fahri, 2009; Johnson, 2009; Carr, 2010)When referring to a conference he attended in 2009, Steven Johnson noticed how Twitter allowed a conversation to happen about a presentation as it was being presented.
“A large display screen showed a running feed of tweets. Then we all started talking, and as we did, a shadow conversation unfolded on the screen: summaries of someone’s argument, the occasional joke, suggested links for further reading… At first, all these tweets came from inside the room and were created exclusively by conference participants… But within half an hour or so, word began to seep out into the Twittersphere that an interesting conversation about the future of schools was happening at #hackedu. A few tweets appeared on the screen from strangers announcing that they were following the #hackedu thread.” (Johnson, 2009)
And he goes on to mention how not only were people who weren’t attending the conference allowed to join the conversation through Twitter, but by searching the hashtag “#hackedu,” people could continue to comment on the conference well after the presentation was over.
Even Google has been making strides to break in to the social media market with Google + (Plus). After the huge hype bubble surrounding Google + burst when it became available to the public, Google has been trying to find innovative ways to get a leg up on Facebook. (One thing being the “Hangouts,” which are essentially group video chats you can have with your friends)
I think it will be a while before any of these companies find a way to get all of our social media “needs” in one place, but the innovative apps they come up with trying to get there is going to make the next few years exciting.