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Wednesday December 13th 2017

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The evolution of social media

By Shelby Powell–

What started as a small idea in the mind of a young man named Tom became, in 8 short years, a full-blown phenomenon. Social media, or communication through the web-based technologies, began with Myspace. All one needed was a camera and an Internet connection to put themselves (or a carefully crafted version of themselves) in the digital world. What started with Myspace continued with Facebook and Twitter. Even amongst the most unlikely people, social media use is becoming more and more common.

Though Facebook could declare a social media monopoly, there are many different sites attempting to become the next big thing. There is Last.FM, the site that tracks your iTunes playlists and helps you connect to people through your musical compatibility. Spotify, a free music program, also allows users to connect with Facebook friends through similar music tastes. Reddit is an interconnected web of user-generated news links. A micro-blogging site called Tumblr has been gaining traction with many younger social media users. All of these websites are clogging search engines but seem to be struggling to find their footing. In a world so hungry to share almost everything, why aren’t more people expanding their social media usage?

Junior Morningside students Nancy Waterstraat and Kristin Shaw say that the simplest explanation is time. Shaw, a political science and biology major, said that the two main social networks, Twitter and Facebook, are much easier to use. Samantha McCarville, a senior international affairs and history major, also cites a user-friendly interface as a major qualification for any social media she might use.

Shaw went on to say that another reason she doesn’t use other social media is a lack of knowledge.

“I don’t know what else is out there,” she says, scrolling through her Facebook newsfeed.

A lot of these websites grow through word of mouth, and busy college students, the perceived target demographic, don’t have the time search out new social networks that may not include people they see on a daily basis.

For now, Facebook and Twitter can rest easy in the knowledge that they are on top of the social media heap. Both websites have found ways to permeate the national consciousness in a way that no other has before. Until another website can convince grandparents to sign up and sign on, this won’t be changing anytime soon.