Destiny of Media
BY MRUNAL DEORE '24
Social media has undergone significant changes over the years. It has both boosted and minimized human interactions through condensing everything onto a small device that portrays a virtual reality. Some believe that the heritage of social media can be traced from 1844 with the creation of Morse Code, a form of present day texting with typing dots on a device of cogs and coiled wires. In a more contemporary account of internet expansion, in 1969, the US Department of Defense created the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, which allowed scientists at four interconnected universities to share software, hardware and other data. Through being a tool for brief communication and government assets, social media has morphed to fit the changing needs of the world. Social media conforms to its times, and with the future straying towards its dependency, it will take steps to transform into its greatest potential.
The transition from a complicated device meant to send discreet messages to a compact device that allows for easy communication can be attributed to the changing demands of the accelerating world. In the isolation of the pandemic, social media magnified the need for news from ongoing events all around the world as these platforms were the few accessible options individuals had left. Accordingly, social media has risen 6.3% per year since 2020. In general throughout the 21st century, digital media has tightly held the reigns of control. Humans have become increasingly dependent on these platforms in everyday life; for example, for tasks like turning on an app or picking up a call, many use Siri. When it comes to streaming media, a survey by The Trade Desk shows that 74% of US households in the 18-34 age group have cut the cable TV cord, or are planning to. The replacement of the cable TV that was praised in the late 1900s and early 2000s shows the overtaking of easy-to-explore streaming platforms. Another study shows that adults under 30 believe social media as much as they would believe a national channel. Staying in touch with news matters, and the role that social media has in dispersing content to viewers shows that it now oversees multiple aspects of our lives. Cookbooks, for example, were previously the primary source of finding recipes. However, now with the versatility of professions online, individuals do not need to refer to cookbooks. All of these changes foreshadow replacing glories of the past and steering towards a more automated future.
Social media currently relies on authenticity. Although platforms on social media have raised issues about body image and other insecurities, self-expression is still valued among companies. Snapchat requiring users to post candid pictures of themselves, BeReal captivating people to stay in the moment, and TikTok trends shifting to vlogs and routines all promote healthy social interactions. Additionally, there is a spike in advocacy towards international conflicts. In the Russo-Ukrainian war, social media played a huge role in ensuring the news was accessible to everyone regardless of their location. Similarly, all media placed emphasis on the Roe v. Wade overturn, and through social media platforms, politicians made their stance clear to the public. As a result of those voices, people created petitions in their local towns, advocated through social media, and wrote letters to Supreme Court judges urging others to do the same. Without platforms for individuals to make their voices heard, spreading awareness would have been more difficult. Influential politicians have had a solid platform where they could encourage others to stand up for their constitutional rights. The Civil Rights Movement (CRM) and Black Lives Matter (BLM) allowed for comparison between advocacy with and without social media. In the 21st Century, where discrimination still makes an imprint in the lives of innocent people, BLM headlined on numerous platforms. Public self-awareness of necessary progress was raised as a result. Additional apps specifically meant for social activism that could bolster a fundraiser, a petition, or other similar efforts in raising awareness, may be created in the future. On the other hand, while raising employment and creating new sources of income, the future of media will cause significant deterioration of this planet. The creation of phones releases a staggering 580 million tons of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere alone. Alongside innovation, Earth faces unbreathable air and severe health problems for the coming generations.
With peaks and pits, the expansion of social media is inevitable. While it will significantly improve the quality of life by making resources more accessible, it might also impair human independence. While it can make breakthroughs in the healthcare industry, it could be the reason humans are diagnosed with health problems caused by CO2 emissions. The destiny of social media is far from bleak, but the consequences of certain changes in the world and its residents are worth pondering.