It goes without saying that social media is slowly taking over the world. As ominous as that sounds, it hasn’t been all bad. In fact, it’s done a world of good. Families separated by thousands of kilometres can now share precious moments via Facebook, Twitter keeps us updated with the latest world events, LinkedIn is finding jobs for the job-seeking and unemployed, and the list goes on. And yet, many still demonise this world phenomenon. And so, it begs the question: Is social media a revolution or evolution?
Evolution is described as the “gradual development of something”. Simple enough, right? If we look at the human race as the timeless (ironic, huh?), go-to example, we can make one heck of an analogy out of it. Man has taken millions of years to adapt to his surroundings, making him stronger and, more importantly, smarter. The same goes for technology. Technology has developed and evolved over centuries and, like the human race, it has gotten smarter. And I suppose one could call the relationship between man and technology “symbiotic”. We work together in a way in which both benefit from said relationship. We need technology to improve our knowledge of the world and technology needs us to improve, well, technology. The same goes for social media. Telegraphs took days to reach the recipient, landlines weren’t mobile and computers were the size of a reasonably spacious bedroom. But now, the whole world is accessible at the click of a button. Distance and time zones no longer separate us. Social media has opened our eyes to the world: it’s so much bigger and yet, no further than a swipe of a screen. It has evolved in a way that limits our efforts in order to give us limitless opportunities.
However, we can’t take revolution at face value from its definition: a forcible overthrow of a government or social order, in favour of a new system. Nobody “forced” us to abandon our dated technological ways to pave the way for all things digital. It just kind of happened. People slowly stopped purchasing landline telephones for cellular phones, and then came the era of the smart phone. No “forcible” overthrow took place – older ways of operating have become obsolete. Social media has changed the way the world works; it changes the way in which we communicate, do business, learn, heal and live. I hate to admit it but I wouldn’t survive one day without social media.
Okay, obviously I would but I’d have major FOMO.
And this is where we reach our inevitable conundrum: evolution or revolution? I’m not one to sit on fences but I’d better get comfortable, because I think I’m going to be here for a while. Yes, technology has evolved – it has gotten better, more user friendly and most importantly (to our lazy species), more convenient. Unlike humans who have over the millenniums become (reportedly) more complex, technology and – for the purpose of this post – social media have made our everyday lives simpler. It has come leaps and bounds since the days of Morse code and, dare we forget, that magical, musical creature known only as the fax machine. It has, without a doubt, evolved but there is also a faint undertone of rebellious government-overthrowing, guerrilla warfare in there somewhere. Although we haven’t completely rid ourselves of our old ways, these new ways are sneakily infiltrating our lives, leading us to believe we can’t function without them. We often speak of a fantastical innovation revolutionising our lives forever. Well, this is it. This is it.