Tech - Internet
By: - at May 17, 2013

15 Fascinating Facts about the Advent of Social Media

social media signThrough social media, we can connect with old friends and find new ones. Social media as a whole has been on an exceptional rise throughout the 21st century. Considering it didn't even exist 25 years ago, it is quite impressive that today, social media is an essential part of the modern technological community. Most students and employees could not imagine being without it and not having it as a communication option. The State of the Media: The Social Media Report 2012 by Nielsen reveals that time spent on social media networks is growing at a rate faster than any other Internet activity. While Internet started out primarily as an information sharing tool that mostly captivated tech savvy people, social media sites are most popular among women and teenagers. The Nielsen reports indicate that sites like Pinterest are driven almost entirely by average consumers rather than the technologically gifted.

15)  The First Social Media Tool Predates the Internet by Over Two Hundred Years

Social media tools are generally defined as tools for activities that integrate modern technology and social interaction through either words, pictures, videos, or audio or some other combination. The first social media tool is actually the telegraph which made use of Morse code to exchange thoughts and ideas over long distances. Invented in the late 1700s, the telegraph allowed limited letters and correspondences to be passed almost instantaneously, across great distances and then be delivered by hand to the recipient.

Telegraph Device
Telegraph Device

A number of other communication devices and tools that could be termed as social media tools or at least correspondence tools developed. By 1860 Morse code became used more popularly where people became connected for the first time. Soon followed newer advancements like the pneumatic mail. The telephone and the radio both came about within 25 years of one another.

14)  Blogs Started Out as Personal Home Pages
why aren't you blogging
When the Internet was opened up to general consumers, all of the experiences that now seem so common were fresh and challenging. Justin Hall developed the first blog, a site known as He launched in 1994. At the time, it wasn't known as a blog. Instead, he called it a personal home page. The idea caught on. Others wanted to participate, and so they began creating their own. They updated their blogs manually, using a central home page and constructing an archive. Because this required some technological skills, tech students and computer programmers were the primary individuals involved with blogging. However, the answer to this came about through sites like Live Journal and Blogger. Through these, they offered platforms that made posting blog posts simple.

The blog coined the term "weblog" first. John Barger created this. Supposedly he developed it as he thought of ways to describe the process of logging into the website while browsing. Later on in 1999, the term became shortened to just blog. It appeared in the Merriam Webster Dictionary in 2004 for the first time, and it was declared the word of the year.

Only 23 active blogs existed at the end of 1999. By mid 2006, more than 50 million blogs had come into existence. The most popular subjects were politics and social commentary.

13)  Word Press Developed as a Social Media Response

Famous Blogger John Chow:
Famous Blogger John Chow

Word Press started in 2003 and since then it has gained quite a bit of popularity. Most people presumed that it was intended to make designing web pages simpler. While that is true, it was actually intended to serve as a viable blogging platform. It hoped to cash into some of the financial income from sites like AdSense, which had just launched as well.

Part of what made Word Press so popular was the fact that it made updating blogs quite simple. Monetizing the blogs was likewise simplified. This discovery or monetization resulted in an extreme increase in blog popularity. The primary cheerleaders for making money through blogging were Darren Rowse and John Chow. Their blogs on making money through blogging made them enough money to make blogging their full-time careers.

12)  Vlogs Came About Because of Science Fiction
vlogs and youtube
In the "Contributions of Science Fiction to Modern Technology," vlogs (video blogging), one of the more popular blogging options, came about because of science fiction shows. The most notable television shows for contributing to general invention ideas were Star Trek and its spin offs. Through this, the concept of recording a live feed for a journal rather than writing it and recording one's facial expressions became a goal for various blogging developers. Blogger and Word Press worked to develop integrated tools to allow this sort of integration. One of the most popular growing categories of blogging is the vlogging movement. With the increase in availability of high tech cameras and social media platforms, these vlogs have already increased drastically in use.

11)  Twitter Developed Out of a Brainstorming Session
twitter icon
The podcasting company Odeo regularly hosts brainstorming sessions for all of the board members. In some cases, these brainstorming sessions can take all day. The official Twitter site states that the purposes of these sessions is to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to share ideas. A graduate student named Jack Dorsey came up with the idea. At the time, he was just an undergraduate at New York University. Noah Glass, one of the other employees, gave it the project name "twttr."

Initially, it was set up as nothing more than an internal business service for employees and Odeo. However, July 15, 2006, they released it to the public. The resulting popularity led to a great shakedown in Odeo's structure. Twitter became its own organization in 2007. Despite the initial positive reaction, the assets did not seem sufficient to keep Twitter going. However, Twitter continued forward, and when it was introduced at the South by Southwest Interactive Conference of 2007, Twitter usage increased threefold. The conference goers found it to be a fascinating way to keep up with one another.

clean twitter icon

Both speakers and bloggers alike started signing up. Later on that year, Twitter received the Web Award Prize for the Southwest Interactive Conference. Since that time, Twitter has only continued to grow.

10)  Social Media Increased Available Tools for Stalking
Facebook StalkersStalking just wasn't quite as common as it has now become. Cyber stalking is now more common than actual stalking. In fact, in a poll taken by Social Maximizer, more than 60 percent of men and women actually admit to using social media for stalking their exes. This has led to a number of issues, including a difficulty in moving past old relationships as well as the ability to try to force a relationship to start up again. Social media has led to many couples deciding to give a bad relationship another chance simply because they never fully let go of their relationship through social media. Social media allows you to hold onto relationships even when they should be released.

Social media has likewise led to the introduction of new crimes. These crimes are typically categorized as cyber crimes. Cyber bullying is one of the biggest issues in social media as the social media stalking sometimes encourages those individuals to take more aggressive steps to get their way. This is amplified in that Facebook, My Space, and other similar social media sites are intended primarily for a younger audience. The maturity levels and discernment abilities are thus lower, meaning that poor judgment is often exercised. Bullying and sexual experimentation are already occurring in school and social media platforms extend an additional forum for young people to engage in these types of activities.

facebook logo

Bullying and aggressive actions are punished severely on most social media sites if the administration becomes aware of it. In many states, it is also a prosecutable crime. Claiming that you didn't know that something bad would happen from cyber bullying or stalking are not justifiable defenses. The provocation defense likewise does not work in most social media induced situations, regardless of how inflammatory the post might be. This is particularly true when hacking and stalking are involved.

9)  Some Social Media Forms Are Illegal in Some Countries
Journal of Internet Law
The Journal of Internet Law reveals regularly that there is no central Internet law. Individual countries, on the other hand, regulate what is permitted within their countries. China, for instance, bans a wide number of social media forms. They have done so from the beginning. and document the "Great Firewall of China." TechinAsia reports that a number of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are illegal in Vietnam, China, and the like. Breaking through firewalls and accessing foreign websites is illegal. However, this has not kept thousands from signing onto Facebook. Being discovered will result in anywhere from imprisonment to fines. However, the social media release and applications have served as fuel for freedom groups and peaceful resistances as well as for other more aggressive organizations.

CEO and Founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerburg
CEO and Founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerburg

Leaders of social media like Mark Zuckerberg have regularly made visits to China and other similar countries. The purpose, of course, is to convince the governments that allowing their people access to social media will not spell out the doom of their nation.

However, in countries like India, Indonesia, China, Mozambique, and others, social media may not be illegal but it is heavily monitored. The World Information Access Report Online offers reports on those who have been arrested for non incendiary blogging activities.

8)  Tumblr Wasn't the First Visual Microblog
Tumblr is often attributed as being the first visual microblog. However, David Karp, the founder of Tumbler, had been fascinated with what had become known as tumbleblogs for quite some time. These were blogs that had been established on current blogging networks such as Blogger and Word Press. They were always small blog posts with pictures. He then took this as inspiration to start working on a tumblelogging platform that would focus exclusively on visual microblogs.

TumblrThe Tumblr format included a number of tools similar to those of regular blogging posts. The queue technology as well as the dashboard were among some of the most sophisticated at the time of its release in 2007. This focus on photography completely transformed the social media photography world. With its advent, individuals started taking more and more pictures. Facebook had already made taking pictures even more popular than ever before, but Tumblr took it to a whole new level.

7)  The Advent of Social Media Spurred on the Mobile Media Push
mobile media push
According to "Why Social Media Matters," social media resulted in an even more connected population that interacts with one another constantly. While before we had to wait for anywhere from a half hour to a whole day to get an official emailed response from friends and family, social media like Twitter, Facebook, and the like allow us to instantly communicate and catch up with what everyone else is doing. This is actually quite addictive. Developers realized that if they could satisfy the needs for social media access by making them mobile friendly. Taking Facebook on the go offers additional opportunities for even more advertising and higher exposure numbers.

Mobile media and mobile website devices would have developed even without social media.

mobile social media

However, the urges of social media and the thrill of instant connection has resulted in such a strenuous push that now mobile devices are becoming more popular than traditional desktops and even laptops.

6)  The General Media Opposed the Development of Social Media
development of social media
One of the biggest challenges facing social media at its initial advent was powerful interest groups who opposed the concept of social media like blogging. Several key interest groups in the general media felt that it would threaten them, while others felt that it would lead to a decrease in their authority or a general decrease in their authenticity. Still others felt that it was just a meaningless fad, or a stylish method for wasting time, that would pass.

To this day, certain media organizations still oppose blogging and microblogging on social media sites. However, what cannot be denied is that social media sites have allowed for a far faster dissemination of information. It has also resulted in developments that have caused people to distrust the media. People are more inclined to believe what they read on social media than they are to trust what they hear from the news. While this is at an all time high, it started from the first years that social media was available because people could see what their peers and others whom they trusted believed.

5)  Podcasting is the Oldest Modern Social Media Form
Podcasting is the oldest of the modern social media forms. Originally known as audioblogging, it was first developed in the 1980s. The Radio Computing Services developed and patented a way to provide both music and talk software to radio stations. This was given in digital form, allowing for higher quality. It was first used in jukeboxes and the radio. Then in the 1990s, it was used to add flavor to websites and provide interest. Internet radio sprang up with this technology. Carl Malamud launched the Internet Talk Radio as the first computer radio talk show. It focused on technology and computers. Users could later download the audio files for later listening.

However, the audioblogs did not reach great popularity until Napster launched. Napster used the basic technology to develop its program and file sharing system. At this point, the high quality music and talk shows drew in thousands of viewers who wanted to try it out. Despite the fact that Napster lost the lawsuit, the world gained a taste for audioblogs and file sharing. From there, other sites launched, but the first big players were i2Go and MyAudio2Go. Corresponding to the development of the RSS feeds, users could listen to those programs they wanted to listen to even if they could not make it in time for the live performance.

4)  Social Media Brought About Changes in the Rules of Evidence
Rules of Evidence for Social Media like FaceBook
Rules involving self incrimination and hearsay have always been complicated. However, social media changed all this. What was to be done with an individual who bragged about his crimes on a social media site? Evidence that might contradict or demonstrate a particular point was likewise problematic. While there is no coherent ruling in all of the stages, the current rules of evidence are leaning toward the admissibility of social media for substantive purposes. They can as of now be used for impeachment purposes. The impeachment purposes, in other words, means that it can be used to demonstrate that you are lying.

The International Journal of Evidence and Proof warns that social media has resulted in a transition that could be problematic. Individuals do not recognize the consequences that their social media postings can have on their lives. However, this does not extend only to criminal prosecutions.

3)  Social Media Privacy Is Transient at Best
From the beginning, social media sites have promised certain protective security features. The purpose of this, of course, is to ensure that everything remains secret that is intended to remain secret. Aside from the fact that the system can always be hacked, the other problem that develops from this is that social media cannot truly be deleted. The things that you delete may or may not really be gone. A skilled hacker can dig them up.

facebook privacy

The problem though is that from the start of social media, people have been inclined to trust it. They assume that it is safe for them to post personal information. After all, the purpose of most social media sites is to share what is going on in life with friends and family. The difficulty here is that often times, too much is shared. In some countries such as Iraq and India, people are arrested and prosecuted for what they post on their social media accounts. keeps a list of countries in which individuals have been persecuted for their social media activity as well as areas where sharing private details is at its most dangerous. Sharing personal details may seem like fun, but it can always leak out. Some people have lost their jobs or failed to get their dream jobs based on what they shared on their social media sites.

2)  Social Media Made 15 Minutes of Fame More Attainable Than Ever
The concept of 15 minutes of fame actually developed in relationship to reality television during the 1980s and 1990s. The British artist known as Banksy is famous for the sculpture of a television with the words on the screen that say, "In the future, everyone will be anonymous for 15 minutes." See more of Banksy's work here. Andy Warhol responded in "Andy Warhol's Fifteen Minutes," saying that with the rise of online social networking and the like, everyone will be famous for at least a time. Social media has made this more popular than ever. In fact, the initial individuals drawn to social media were those who wanted to get that moment in the sun with fame and glory.

your 15 minutes of fame on social media

This only intensified when monetizing options developed in relationship to social media. Through the first forms of social media on to the latest forms, anyone can attempt to become famous and gain fortune. However, the result has been that there is also an inundation with self absorption and an over inundation of meaningless posts, videos, and tweets. The reality TV movement has only gained momentum with this, and it is likely to continue as the dream continues to dangle just within reach.

1)  Social Media Makes a Handy Scapegoat for Civil Unrest
Most people assume that people who typically blame social media for their problems live in countries like China and Indonesia. However, even in countries like the United Kingdom and the United States, social media has formed a handy scapegoat from the beginning. Through social media, people can get the word out about their favorite campaigns or their pet causes. As a result, there is greater activity. This is actually one of the primary reasons behind the banning of social media. However, even the Daily Mall and CNN have blamed social media for proliferation of certain crimes.

By VargaA via Wikimedia Commons

While government responds to the connection between civil unrest and social media, generally countries with free expression clauses and democracies are falling in with the belief that social media usage is a form of expression. As such, it cannot be prosecuted unless it qualifies under another particular category, such as conspiracy. The overwhelming response from both the United States and the United Kingdom is that the answer is not regulation of social media. This does not keep history and even some social media users from blaming other social media users as being the reason that unpopular causes are gaining traction. Schools, on the other hand, are an entirely different matter.

One of the greatest concerns at the start of the social media movement was that it would lead to fragmented mental processes. While there is great variety in the social media forms, most of the time the information is easy to digest. This is essential since reading off a screen or watching a scene from a screen is much more challenging than watching something in real life. As a result, information through social media feeds is generally short to minute. In "Distracted," the author documents many of the initial concerns with social media and then pairs them with actual research and studies dealing with the actual effects. In studies conducted by Harvard, Oxford, and other prestigious research facilities, the conclusion has been that social media does cause a certain fragmentation of the mind.

distracted office worker
By MrChrome via Wikimedia Commons

The fragmenting occurs because information is digested in smaller pieces. Additionally, multitasking is now far more common than it ever was before. Students, in particular, are inclined to spend significant amounts of time, switching back and forth between social media sites like Facebook and assignments. Up to 85% of memory capacity and memory usage can be used in multitasking with limited effectiveness. To make up for this, students must then study harder than ever. This has led to many schools to consider banning access to social media sites.

However, in the Journal of Cognitive Development, some psychologists speculate that fragmenting may not be a bad thing. This new method of processing information may be part of the natural progression of the human brain. Additional studies have yet to confirm this, but social media has certainly transformed the way that people view the world. It is not surprising that it should also transform the way that people interact with the world as well.





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