The History of Social Media and Impact on Society

The History of Social Media and Impact on Society

Originally Posted on GovLoop

I stumbled upon the graphic below, which is a great look at the “History of Social Media.” The image comes from Jump Media. Be sure to click the image to explore the infographic in depth.

As you can see, people have been using social media for centuries. The desire to connect, share and collaborate is something that is innately human. Many of us have a desire to share information, learn new insights, and be exposed to knowledge. This has occurred for centuries, with new and emerging technology, we have been able to expedite the sharing of knowledge and information.

I’ve mentioned this in previous blog posts, but the concept of losing touch, to me, seems archaic. In today’s world, Facebook and Twitter dominate our digital social interactions, how this will look in in 10-20 years, who knows. Too often we are using social media to replace in person meetings. Personally, my greatest experiences in social media has been using social media to facilitate an in person meeting, whether this be by sending a quick note on LinkedIn, on Twitter, Facebook or through GovLoop. No tool or technology will ever replace human interaction (and if one is ever developed, I cannot wait to see it!), that’s why social media is a powerful tool to connect and network with an infinite amount of people.

I found the History of Social Media Chart chart interesting to look at, and decided to write out four reasons social media has moved far away from a fad, and institutionalized into our society. There are dozens of examples, so would love to hear some of your insights, please feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email with some ideas, always great to connect (

Social Media Facilitates Storytelling

Storytelling a powerful skill to have, some people are gifted orators, others gifted writers. To tell a story in a captivating and meaningful way is an important trait. I remember sitting around the dinner table, listening carefully to my grandfather tell a story, he may have told the same story twenty times, but everytime I heard something new, and saw from a new perspective.  Now, I’ve written about some of those stories, shared some experiences, and through social media, been able to work on my storytelling.

But storytelling is not just an important personal skill to obtain, it is critical for organizations. Citizens need to know, and must know, the good work that government is doing, the story of successful programs, the impact government programs have on families and in our communities. Social media is a fantastic mechanism for government to tell their story.


On any given day, I can connect with dozens of people and I can learn from their experiences. I love learning about random topics, exploring new ideas, and finding connections between seemingly disparate concepts. Social media facilitates this kind of hyperconnectivity in our society.

Wisdom of the Crowds

Knowledge is everywhere with social media – the core question many agencies are grappling with is: how do we extract knowledge from social media? How do we use this data to make a positive impact on our decision making? Well, through new data collection methods, predictive analytics, and more robust social media analysis tools, value is become more and more apparent, and knowledge is become easier to extract.

Sharing Knowledge

GovLoop is a perfect example, think of all the knowledge stored here. GovLoop is a knowledge hub and repository of information for the government community. This trend can be replicated across dozens of websites. So not only is there a dozens of people searching for knowledge and trying to gain wisdom, they are also sharing their passions and knowledge across the web.

Although social media does have numerous benefits in our society, there are still challenges to fully leveraging value. I always like to see when organizations post their terms of use for a social network, comment policy and moderation policy. These are all great and important standards for any social media initiative. Although these are important, the greatest is when the community speaks up and tells people they are out of line, self policing on social networks shows that people value the given community, and want to keep discussions constructive.


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