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From Top Eight to Acquaintance, How Social Media Has Changed Over the Years

Who’s in your top eight? This was a standard question in the early 2000s. The invention of Myspace sparked the explosion of social networking and reigned as the largest social networking site until 2010. As Myspace lost its traction, Facebook took over. Recently, Facebook was scattered across the internet with reports that a political advertising firm received millions of social network users’ information without consent. As privacy rights are put into question and users begin to abandon the platform, we look at the four ways Facebook’s development has changed over the past 14 years.

1. The Original Intent of Facebook

Facebook was originally created to make the world more open and connected. It was a platform for users to stay connected with friends and family. When you have people interacting in a digital space it inevitably creates data. Facebook quickly learned that data has incredible intrinsic value. This value is the reason that Facebook bought Instagram, and in turn has made the total business model more malevolent.

2. Data Collection in Regards to Politics

In the past year there have been multiple cases of companies illegally obtaining data from Facebook. From the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the fake Russian Facebook accounts, it seems that scandals are continuing to pour out of the platform. For example, in recent years Facebook began offering article discovery to boost current events awareness. While the original intent was to allow users to become more informed citizens, the platform enabled viewers to also express political opinions and speak up on matters that impassion them. Unbeknownst to the user, the platform for opinions turned into political data mining hot bed.

3. A Thriving Business Opportunity

Facebook began for individual users, but it has evolved into an opportunity for businesses to increase exposure. Business Pages on Facebook offer an opportunity for brand awareness and the ability to swiftly take care of customer service issues. The platform has allowed for social media marketing to take off and has now become an entire job title and career path for individuals. Outside of businesses, the platform has also given individuals the opportunity to organically build a following and become a thought leader for their personal brand.

4. A Community Wired to Share Life Moments

The development of social media has created a community of oversharing within Facebook users. Research shows that sharing thoughts online is directly linked to the brain sensors that also gain pleasure from food and money. This pleasure-seeking society gives users a sense of urgency to share with their followers milestones, daily thoughts and photographs from their life. This connected environment makes users feel safe providing information to only their friends on the website, but its clear the posts are being seen by a much larger audience. The underlying motive of the site is no longer to just connect people, it’s to gather their data. Even with the negative news and data collection, its clear social media is here to stay. The question is, will privacy concerns become a top priority for other sites as they learn from Facebook’s mistakes? For more information on social media marketing, check out how to boost your brand's social media presence here.

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