Social media has evolved rapidly over the last fifteen years. With Facebook coming into play in February of 2004, and the now extremely popular SnapChat developed in September of 2011. I am currently 20 years old and the only reason I can still remember a time without the constant checking of social media is because my mom refused to buy me an iPhone until my senior year of high school. Even with my high-end flip phone, I still had a Facebook account I checked from my computer. I remember the very day I got my new iPhone, I downloaded all the social media apps immediately, specifically Instagram (which is app based) and made an account.

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Social media is now a major part of our lives and connects us with more people than any one person could expect to meet throughout their lifetime. What I like to call “the big four” of social media; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat, were all developed within the span of seven years. This begs the question, how long will it be before these platforms are replaced? Are these the four social media platforms I will be using when I am 40 years old? Or will there be yet another social media spike and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat will just be “things of the past?”

Our advanced technologies are what has allowed for social media to grow and develop as it has. Technologies that connect people based on who they are already connected with, people who live near them, or have traveled to the same places as them, and so on. These technologies are still developing and improving extremely quickly. Let’s say you go online and shop for a winter coat on Macys.com. You stop shopping, log into Facebook or Instagram, and that same winter coat you were just looking at is going to appear in your advertisements.

People Looking up at Social Media Icons

We are living in an age where our computers and our cell phones know us better than some of our closest relatives. You can tell so much about a person’s interests, hobbies, job title, relationships, and even personality by what they search online. As technologies advance, and our computers gather more and more information about us, our social media will expand into even more interactive and knowledgeable online communication platforms.

I am currently a junior at Bentley University and while sitting in my Interpersonal Relations in Management course my professor said something that sparked my attention. He said “we scroll through our social media accounts trying to find something to spark some type of emotion in us. Although social media has proven extremely successful, there is still something missing in social media that is achieved through our real life connections between people.” The emotions that we achieve from actual human connection will never be undermined by the emotions we achieve through social media.

This is however, the next step for social media. Trying to achieve real connection online like we do in person. This could be attempted through virtual reality social media so it appears more like you are with your friends and colleagues rather than just seeing them on a flat screen. There has been rumors over cell phones with curved screens or cell phones projecting holograms. This kind of advance in technology would allow for social media to look extremely realistic and further consumers’ entertainment, allowing social media to achieve emotions closer to the emotions we achieve in real life connections.

There is no telling exactly where social media will take us in the future, but regardless, social media is now and will forever remain an important aspect of our lives. Connecting us with jobs, future spouses, friends, distant relatives, and so on, allowing us to reach more people than we could on our own. Technology will allow social media to expand into something more advanced than many of us can imagine right now, but it will never surpass the gratification we receive from our real life connections.

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