Social Media And News Essay

1574 words - 6 pages

The world exists within a state of flux, constantly changing and evolving according to the ever-shifting sands of technological innovation. On rare occasions, human ingenuity gives birth to a technical creation so profoundly revolutionary, so completely and ubiquitously life altering, that the world itself is irrevocably altered by it. Social media applications like Facebook and Twitter unquestionably belong in this category, joining such illustrious world changers as the printing press, radio, and television. Products of the Information Age made possible by the global, telecommunications infrastructure, social media applications have profoundly altered the manner in which human beings communicate, collaborate, and consume. For the first time in human history, the planet hums with connectedness, and no aspect of society remains untouched. Social media applications have become a part of modern culture, fundamentally changing the creation, delivery, and consumption of information, ultimately resulting in a freer, more open and just global society.
Chief among social media applications is the multi-billion dollar Facebook, arguably the most far-reaching and omnipresent social networking platform on earth. Facebook’s stated mission is “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected,” and it has unquestionably succeeded in doing this. According to the organization’s official, online newsroom, the service had an astonishing 845 million monthly, active users at the end of December 2011. (Facebook) Irrespective of nationality or geographic location, nearly everyone with a computer and an active Internet connection has a Facebook account. Celebrities, politicians, multinational corporations and small, local businesses, grandparents, and even the family dog, have actively updated Facebook profiles. Friends and family members, once estranged by oceans or the distance of vast continents, now chat, share photos, and otherwise participate in each other’s lives. Members of disparate geographic, religious, and ethnic cultures co-mingle freely and openly in this newly emerged super-culture of connectedness, reducing, if not eliminating, the many barriers that once made cross-cultural communication a near impossibility.
Alongside Facebook in terms of influence and ubiquity stands Twitter, the service allowing users to communicate globally via short, text-based posts called “tweets” of up to 140 characters. Officially launched in 2006, the online service experienced a rather slow rate of adoption, sharing on average only five thousand tweets per day. By 2009, that number had grown to 2.5 million, and by June of 2011 the average number of tweets per day exceeded a staggering 200 million. (Gervai) According to a June, 2011 post on the official Twitter blog, “the world writes the equivalent of a 10 million-page book” each day. (Twitter) Today, nearly every politician in America makes use of the ever growing Twitter...

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