Growing up in the 90’s and early 2000’s, one would be particularly familiar with the slogan “you’ve got mail.” Little did anyone know just how quickly the Internet and social media would flourish and become one of the biggest aspects of day-to-day life by 2014. I remember getting home from elementary school, logging on to my very own AOL account and feeling the excitement of receiving an email from all of my “besties” across the country in New York. Having moved from New York to California in the third grade, it was very important to stay in the circle of what was going on. In reality, this small outlet, AOL, which seemed so big at the time, was a tiny portion on the spectrum of social media today.
Following AOL and email came AIM. AIM, AOL’s instant messenger, was the easiest way for middle schoolers to flirt, talk to their friends five minutes after being separated from them, and picking the cutest icon for your screen name. Also, another wonderful aspect to AIM was the ability to create your very own profile! This profile consisted of all the important things in a 7th graders life: their best friends (in order of favorite to least favorite), a few really cheesy quotes that seemed so fitting and cool at the time, and maybe some weird designs with symbols on the keyboard. This little AIM profile was the perfect gateway into an Internet site that was one big AIM profile… Myspace.
Myspace was the focal point of many 8th graders lives. This self-made profile was the easiest way to show everyone who your eight best friends were and what song was your favorite song that week (which was probably based on whether or not you and your boyfriend were on good terms). Myspace was the first popular site of its kind, and it blew up quickly, especially for middle schoolers and high schoolers. If someone didn’t have a Myspace, it was probably because his or her parents forbid it, because it was the “it thing” to have. However, as with so many social media platforms, something bigger and better came and wiped out the relevance of Myspace.
Enter Facbeook. Facebook began as a website for college students to easily connect and communicate with each other. That didn’t last long. People soon began to lie about being in college and suddenly everyone had a Facebook. Just like that, it was goodbye Myspace and hello Facebook! Facebook was more sophisticated and interactive than Myspace. Facebook, which is still popular today, has become a great way for people to connect with friends, relatives, and co-workers. It is also a tool used by companies for hiring and networking. In a less professional setting, it is a platform for boasting, musing, complaining, and sharing any thought or idea that pops into the user’s head. Since Facebook became the frontrunner in the social media game, new platforms have joined the competition. Instagram, Twitter, and SnapChat have introduced new ways to communicate that are unique. So far, they have yet to wipe out the existence of Facebook, but it will be interesting to see where the world of social media goes in the near future.