Since its inception on 4 February 2004 by Mark Zuckerburg along with his Harvard roommates and fellow students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes, Facebook now has 1.55B accounts, reaching heights Friendster and MySpace only dreamed of. After its IPO in February of 2012, it now has a market capitalization of $300B, making it one of the fastest growing companies in the world.
Twitter, launched in July of 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass, now has more than 300 million active users and has a market capitalization of $12.32B since its IPO in 2013.
Even lesser used social media sites like Foursquare, Tumblr, Flickr, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+ have seen a rise in active participation over the years.
Uses of social media
Social media contains a treasure trove of information if only people knew where to look. Anecdotal details not shown on mainstream media become available to everyone, given enough time and effort to look for them.
Up to the minute reports by people on the scene can be seen on Twitter. Insights into a persons psyche are seen on Tumblr, where anonymity is the name of the game. Professional networks can be developed over LinkedIn. Amateur photographers become instant celebrities on Flickr and Instagram. Not to mention juicy gossip over Facebook.
All these are useful tools in gathering information about people, places, and events that would otherwise be unavailable using mainstream media.
Personal Commitment Statements
On a personal basis, I adhere to the following statements:
- Think before you click – liking, sharing, and commenting on posts are sometimes irresistible, but one should always think before clicking that button. Reacting without thinking of the consequences is a good way to get into trouble or, at the very least, look stupid.
- Introspection is key – getting angry at someone for doing something that one also does is a good way to be labeled a hypocrite.
- No personal information online -keep personal information personal. Whatever is posted online becomes fair game to all and sundry.