Who would have thought that Myspace, one of the first widely-used social media sites, would crumble to the likes of facebook, or that snapchat would grow so much in popularity that it could compete with instagram, becoming a major player in the social media sphere.  What are the lessons here?  Clean, simple, and functional.  In all of these cases, the platform that rose above the rest was clean, simple, and functional.  Many years ago, when using Myspace, I remember seeing some profiles that were so extravagant that it would take them minutes to load.  Tons of graphics, music, wallpapers- it was utter chaos.  Along comes facebook with its simple, straightforward design, and viola! a new start was born.  These principles can be incorporated in the creation of social media content as well: content should be focused and functional, and adapt to the platform in which it is being published.  

Throughout the semester, I have vacillated between embracing the major platforms and questioning the healthfulness of their use, both in consuming and creating content.  Here's the thing, any content can be edited and refined.  Even a person who is live-streaming can amply prepare for it, choosing the ideal time to go live.  This creates a blurred line between reality and ideality.  The reality is that almost nobody is as perfect as the content he produces, yet most consumers often forget that social media accounts are highly curated.  I believe that a healthy approach to social media is balance: people who only consume its content can also feel isolated as they live their real lives amidst a constant influence of ideality.  I believe that it is equally as important to contribute to the platform in which you are consuming media from, so that you are constantly kept aware of how other people are thinking as they post content.  Even better, some people are brave enough to post content that isn't their best.  

My mind is often changing about how much I want to interact with social media, however, the fact is that it will continue to grow.  I certainly enjoy relaxing by browsing through instagram stories and indeed, analytics and my own anecdotal experience demonstrates the massive reach that these tools have.  For example, if I post an instagram story anytime throughout the day, within minutes, it has accrued views.  It's easy to see how fast a post gains attention from a popular account.  One of my friends @gilbersosa , receives thousands of likes to an instagram post within minutes of posting.  This is to say that people are constantly connected to these apps, in an almost addict-like fashion.  I know that I am guilty of opening instagram multiple times in an hour, if not in a 10-minute period. 

This type of constant connectedness and immediacy makes social media a potent tool for business.  Any person or business who has amassed a following can reach a large amount of people nearly instantly.  For this reason, social media influencers are becoming sought-after resources for companies who want to promote their products.  In fact, many social media influencers are creating their own companies, brands, clothing, and product lines to capitalize on this immense and immediate reach.  With such great reach, I feel compelled to continue trying to build my instagram following and learn the software tools to create compelling content. 

So what lessons can we draw from all of this- the extinction of Myspace, the grumbling of social media being fake, despite the same grumblers being avid consumers?  The lesson is that social media is here to stay.  Considering this, the smart thing to do is to create a disciplined approach to it, treating it as any other novelty.  By moderating our use of it such that we also remain engaged in the outside world- even at times disconnected from social media- we can create content that actually is real, steeped in a life lived outside the social media bubble, a life that isn't afraid to show others the best parts about it, or maybe even the challenging ones too.


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