While it’s a relatively young subject, social media has completely taken over and changed the world. Getting it’s start in only the early 2000s, it’s interesting to look at how it got it’s start, took over, and is still ever changing.
The most common definition for social media is that it is “computer mediated technologies that allow the creating and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks”. And anything under that umbrella term of social media shares similar features: an interactive internet-based application, user-generated content, service specific profiles, and the development of social networks within the application.
Social media sites took off in 2004 with the creation of MySpace, which hit over 5 million users only a year after its start. Mark Zuckerberg followed that lead and launched Facebook within the next year. 24 hours after it opened, there were already 1,200 students signed up. Two years later, the site had 3o million users. And it’s popularity didn’t stop there. Today, there are 1.79 billion users.
As more and more social media sites were created in the next couple of years, majority of them had one thing in common: their projection to the younger crowd. In 2005, Pew Research found that only 7% of American adults were using social networking sites. But slowly and surely, that has been able to change. Today, there are nearly 65% of American adults using social media.
Somewhere in between that timeline of adults growing to use social media, politicians took to it, changing the political arena as we know it forever. President Barack Obama is seen as one of the trailblazers in this respect. During his 2008 and 2012 campaigns, he “out-social-mediad” both of his running mates. President Obama was found on over 15 different social media sites, and was active on all throughout his campaigns. Through the development of his website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and Reddit usage, President Obama made social media use a must for all politicians.
In the past United States election cycle, that social media trend perpetuated itself even more. Both final contestants Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were avid social media users, putting more effort into than any traditional campaign methods. And it wasn’t just the candidates themselves that took to apply politics to social media. Everyday users began to spread messages of those they followed, creating a never ending chain of political information being spread.
Listen to my blog on politics and social media here: