Social media are interactive computer-based applications that faciliate thethe creation or sharing of information, ideas, career interests, and other forms of expressions via virtual communities and networks. Users usually access social media service through the internet via personal computers or hand held devices. Through these highly interactive platforms users can share, comment, or participate in either user-generated or self-curated content. These formed networks have changed the way groups of people interact and communicate globally. With over 2.65 billion people using social media worldwide, this number is projected to increase within upcoming years. Some of the most popular social media platforms today are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Some could say social media has roots back to the 1840's with the introduction of the telegraph, which connected the United States. The PLATO system launched in 1960 offered early forms of social media with 1973-era innovations such as 'Notes', PLATO's message-forum application and 'TERM-talk' its instant-messaging feature served as the world's first online chat room. With the expansion of the World Wide Web (WWW) in the mid-1990's, message forums migrated online becoming Internet forums. Primarily due to cheaper per-person access as well as the ability to handle far more people. Some of the earliest social networking websites are GeoCities (1994), Classmates (1995), and Six Degrees (1997). Six Degrees was widely considered the very first social networking site with users have the ability to create profiles, friends lists, and school affiliations that could be used by registered users. With technological improvements in digital cameras and camera phones, social media has now become part of every day life.
Social media can have both a positive and negative influence on society today. It lets people stay in touch who live far away, lets people share interesting and fun content, and even gives businesses a way to attract and engage with new customers. One of the biggest problems is the fact that anyone can share anything. Including false information and sensitive photos. Targeting people in particular has led to 'cyber bullying'. Most information communicated electronically is permanent and public. Bullies take advantage of the Internet to share personal and private information in order to cause embarrassment or humiliation. This has led to kids suffering from depression where in extreme cases it has led to suicide. Social media can be a lot of fun, but can also be very hurtful when used unappropriately. Think twice before you post anything online, it could potentially hurt you in the long run.