Technology has surely made everyone’s life a lot easier. Indeed, it has made great changes for mankind. Living and working were made light for hardworking people. From office computing to manual labor, from the simple machine to complex equipment.
One of the products of technology that has gone far is the internet. What is interesting about it, is that it has made a very tangled web connection with everyone in the world. It has made the world a lot smaller and communication even faster.
The World Wide Web or the www prefix created a bridge as short as light, bridging the gap between individuals from different locations – even different countries. And because of the internet technology, social media was born: giving an opportunity for everyone to communicate faster and disseminate information to a wider audience. I remember when I first used one of the social media platforms. Posting something that you don’t know if anyone would appreciate was an awkward experience. But I got used to it eventually.
As a frequent user of these platforms I have observed a certain evolution in its importance to life and to work. Singleness or the ‘Me, Myself and I’ is the first phase of the evolution. Keeping to one’s self while being alone inside a room is one of the behaviors of social media users. Different personas can be created while people are in their virtual world. Some retreat to their online alter egos to escape boredom, bullying or other threats in the real world.
The next in the evolution is Connectivity or Friendship. One of the well-known websites or online platforms before Facebook was Friendster. Living up to its name, Friendster made everyone connected as friends. Some even reconnected with lost friends. Too bad, its online life did not last long.
It’s a good thing Facebook came along. Perhaps the most clicked button in a social media is its ‘Friend’ button. It gives users the ability to add and accept friend requests whether you personally know them or not. Maybe it wouldn’t be called social media if you’re not making friends at all.
The Community or the Flock is the third part of the evolution. Users who find themselves with the same interests, or in the same community, are encouraged to participate common interests and activities. Social media have levelled up to become a tool for gathering and disseminating information. Perhaps one best example of community engagement on social media happened during Typhoon Ondoy. Everyone was actively spreading and sharing information on how to help. This tool became the most convenient, fastest and cheapest way of communicating with the affected areas and the rescuers.
Aside from calamity-related action of communities online, a couple of important events come to mind: EDSA Dos and Tres, where users marched to the EDSA monument after reading on social media the call for action.
The last or the current stage is Social Media-Work Integration. Almost all companies or brands are now using social media. Different online network platforms are now included in their employees’ contact details. This is where they disseminate information about their new products or activities; establish connection with their customers; and provides a new source of metrics.
The use of social media has evolved from personal, to community, and now to work. It has given us the opportunity to commune with other people wherever they are in the world, and that is why it is so important in our daily lives.