Social Media Past and Future

We, humans are social animals, we communicate with each other by any means possible, originally it would have been by voice, or drum or smoke, what ever  worked. Let’s face it though those methods are not very reliable and the messages tended to get muddled. Then came the written language which was more reliable, but only a few could read or write so knowledge was controlled and available to only a few.

In the 20th Century most people gained at least a rudimentary level of reading and writing, which meant knowledge became available to almost everyone.   Individual’s communicated either by letter or by phone, both were for most people a one on one conversation. Mass communications, such as newspapers, magazine, TV and radio all cost a lot of money, so a very few still controlled the distribution of the news.  Then  computers and the Internet came along opening up the world of mass communication to everyone

This didn’t happen immediately, computers were too complicated and dial up Internet was too slow too make distributing media sensible for most people. Starting in the early 90’s things began to change.  First Windows 95 came along.   Then  Netscape and Internet Explorer came out opening the Internet up to the general public.  In 1997 RSS was developed  Dave Winer and others.    In 1999 Pyra launched Blogger, which began the blogging explosion.  Finally around 2004 podcasting became available, when Dave Winner with encouragement from Adam Curry created a way to enclose an audio or video file into RSS.  Around this same time, there was an explosion of the use of broadband, which made streaming video and audio more reliable and realistic.

The latest stage of this story started with the advent of Twitter, which allowed people to send out short messages to their followers around the world. At first it was used mostly by early adopters, who used it to send out messages to their friends. The true power of Twitter became clear when it was used during the attacks on Mumbai, to send the news as it was happening from people on the site. That event and the use of it in the 2008 election helped it exploded among the general populous

What is the future of the media is it real time or something else, only the future will tell. The one thing that is certain communication, both one on one or one to many is no longer dependent on having a lot of money or being a part of big media.