Hi5 or, maybe, MySpace? Which one would be among your first social media memories? Social media history begins with the first e-mail sent, the beginning of World Wide Web, or the release of the first major search engine such as Google. Although it did not exist with this name and in the current form, social media appeared a while ago, but it did not have a really big impact on people. In recent years, social media is playing a major role in our lives, completely changing the world we live in and the way we interact with each other.
1. The viral
Nowadays, we are constantly connected with each other via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other online platforms. All of these platforms have become extremely easy to use due to advances in design and technology, that the distribution and generation of content are possible with only one click. Thus, social media has become a place where content, if it targets the right audience, can be quickly shared and become viral. For example, within a few hours, a Youtube clip can become viral and reach millions of people around the globe, from different corners of the world.
2. Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie
A good example of the social media viral power is given by EllenDegeneres’ selfie from 2014, along with several celebrities, which gathered over 3.400.000 retweets, becoming the most retweeted tweet in history. It was a historic moment for social media. In 2017, the record was broken. A boy from Twitter asked Wendy’s how many retweets does he needed to get a year of free nuggets at one of their venues. Wendy’s responded by saying he need 18 million retweets, the boy raised only 3.500.000, but it became the most retweeted tweet, so Wendy’s offered him a free year of chicken wings. This clearly shows that a person does not have to be a celebrity to generate content that can become viral, anyone can get famous overnight through social media.
3. Ice Bucket Challenge
In August 2017, a challenge appears on social media – the Ice Bucket Challenge. Three youngsters diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) proposed a challenge to the world: to pour ice-water buckets on our heads in order to raise awareness and money for research. The challenge has become so popular that, since 2014, more than 130 million dollars have been raised to support this cause. Even President Obama has joined this challenge.
4. The community support during tragedies and natural disaster
During desperate situations, even a few seconds can count. At the Boston marathon bombings, the local community, thanks to social media, managed to mobilize itself quickly and get involved directly in helping the victims and the authorities. The same happened during the terrorist attacks in Paris, in 2015. Even in Romania, social media had a major impact on mobilizing the community in the Colectiv club incident. Also, during natural disasters, such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, through instant communication, the authorities managed to use their aid efforts in an efficient way. Social media mobilizes and unites communities more easily, one thing that was more complicated to achieve in the past.
5. The invention of Facebook
Facebook had a major contribution for making possible all of the accomplishments presented above. It has completely changed and revolutionized the way in which the concept of social is known today. With two-thirds of the global population, Facebook has reached over 2 billion unique users in 2017, an incredible achievement. It’s hard to imagine what the world without facebook would be like today. Thanks to Facebook, the world can now communicate much faster and more efficiently. And probably, this is just the beginning.
Social media is still a new field of study. It is a field that is still changing, but it has tremendous potential to influence and change the everyday life of people. The more people will have access to the internet and social media, the more they will be connected together.