How Social Media Has Made The World SmallerBy Xavier Ahern
May 27, 2020
Before the discovery of the New World, world maps were missing a large portion of land on earth. Before the invention of the vehicle or telephone, people who didn’t live in the same town had to wait weeks, months, and sometimes years to speak to one another. The world before the modern miracle of technology was a limited space for most individuals: people who couldn’t afford to spend six months on a ship to cross oceans for the sake of exploration. To them, the world was infinitely vast and the moon was untouchable.
Fast forward to today, an individual can receive instant messages from someone on the other side of the planet. People can send each other videos and pictures. Even when a person isn’t directly communicating with another individual, they are able to scroll through documented evidence that their friends and family are exploring and living in places that are hundreds or thousands miles away.
Social media has created a compact global network that connects the people of the world in ways that make sharing places, experiences, and cultures easier than ever. The evolution of transportation technology has allowed us to fly to foreign lands, see new places, and meet new people, but social media, especially visual platforms such as Instagram, has allowed people to bring their family and friends on their exciting journeys along with them. An individual can stand in front of the Pyramid of Giza, snap a picture, upload it, and get Instagram likes from hundreds of people scattered around the world in a matter of minutes. The social reach of the average person today has become expansive, and buying Instagram followers can make it limitless.
Social media has made everything micro. Not only do individual lives and opinions seem to fit neatly into blogs and social networking sites like Facebook, but these sites have been divvied up to cater to users. Hashtags are such an integral part of categorizing content on social media now, and anyone following a hashtag can check in on their content from anywhere in the world and weigh in. Conversations and debates are spanning countries and cultures.
Social media also helps individuals and relationships stand the test of time. Friends from high school and college are on the other side of the country but one can watch their lives unfold right in front of them as their photos get likes on Instagram and Facebook. It may have been twenty years since someone has spoken to old friends from school, but social media allows people a front row seat to important life events that may have otherwise been missed.
Sharing content is the main point of social media. Everyone is able to generate and post whatever they please, be it controversial, PSA, or just something someone may find funny. People share personal and world news. People share photographs. People share real life and culture and experience and memories, whereas 100 years ago, they could only really connect with individuals who were right in front of them.