Social media is a phrase invented and implemented since the inception of websites like MySpace and AOL instant messenger over 10 years ago. But it wasn’t until the juggernaut of Facebook and even more recently, Twitter, that we began to understand what it truly meant.
Facebook stands strong with over 600 million active users worldwide. Nearly one out of every 10 people on earth, statistically, will update their status this week.
The Journal has also fallen victim to the trend of social media sites. Our Twitter and Facebook pages are an extension of our publication. It would be irresonsible, even foolish, not to recognize the benefit of instant, worldwide communication.
Since 2004, Facebook has grown by leaps and bounds, garnering celebrity status for Mark Zuckerberg and inspiring a multi-Oscar nominated film.
The site parents and professors once regarded with apprehension and uncertainty has become a beacon of communication that spans more than one generation in both directions.
It’s common for parents and family members to be active on the site once intended for college freshmen only.
Countless professors, loved ones and professionals globally have begun to use the site as a means of communicating with the single largest online audience in the world.
When the United States Department of Justice subpoenaed the Twitter accounts of Wikilieaks and their supporters a few weeks ago, they confirmed a fascinating truth. The DOJ was telling the world that yes, social networking is worth our attention and time.
The Journal believes it is high time that we recognize these kinds of instant-communication providers for what they are vessels for a message from anyone, anywhere.
The recent and inspiring actions of the Egyptian people made an even firmer example of this. It wasn’t until Egyptians began organizing anti-government protests via Facebook and Twitter that President Mubarak effectively shut down internet availability across the nation.
The people launched into a frenzy and have already driven the entire globe into hysterical optimism for a region ruled almost exclusively by zealots and despots.
Sure, people still use these sites for the mundane. And yes, most status updates aren’t something you’d embroider on a cushion.
But while most tweets might be loss in the rabble of everyday nothingness, the technology will only continue to facilitate human communication on a scale never before imagined.
So be weary of techno-phobics. The hip, the elderly and the anti-social might criticize the empty shallowness of online meet-and-greets. But what they won’t see is the inherent usefulness of such a vehicle.
The Journal plans to embrace this technology. We hope you will join us.