My story with the social networks is not unusual: I wasn’t a big fan of them. To me, they seemed confusing and pointless at times. I wouldn’t spend much time updating them (I even remember deleting my Facebook account a few years ago).
But then, in 2014, something happened…I joined a proper course on Community Management that opened my eyes to a completely new reality.
WHY SOCIAL NETWORKS MATTER
The first electronic social interactions happened back in the 1970’s, with the first e-mail being sent and the subsequent creation of the Bulletin Board System. The next hit was Usenet, the first online bulletin. As for the instant messaging, IRC (Internet Relay Chat) came to life in 1988.
The real precursor of the networks as we know them today was AOL (America Online), it provided e-mail service and allowed the users to create communities. In the 1990’s, things started to speed up, with the creation of SixDegrees.com that was very popular at the time but didn’t make it to the following century.
Today, the mobile experience is changing the way in which we share information with apps like Snapchat (ephemeral content), Instagram (photos and videos) and Youtube Live (streaming).
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
Personal vs Professional
Social Networks are perfect for business networking and recruiting (as wells as for plain entertainment). Keeping a balance between your personal and professional life might feel a bit like a challenge though. There are different approaches you can try, like keeping separate accounts or crafting your content carefully before posting anything, you can have a general overview here.
Cyberbullying and Addiction
On the not so bright side of social networking, cyberbullying (harassment using electronic means) has become very common nowadays. Cyberstalking, impersonation and trolling cases arise every day.
Prevention and law enforcement seem to be the only way to go as things can get ugly if no adequate measures are taken.
Definitely, not pretty.
Social networks might also become a strong addiction linked to FOMO (fear of missing out). The inability to quit social media is called social media reversion and it’s a real problem.
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
As technologies evolve, we are provided with more sophisticated tools and options every year. Video and live streaming are thriving at the moment.
I am looking forward to your comments.