When I was a freshman in college, one of the best days was when the Bod Book came out. It was talked like a promotional tool for the college. “Oh, and when the bod book comes out…” you might be told by the student giving you the campus tour. And the completion of that phrase was something about how all the students in the school were in it - including picture and room telephone number. This meant all the girls. When the Bod Book came out, we had access to. every. girl. on. campus.
My roommate and I were able to get two Bod Books, and went through the whole thing. “Dude. Check out page 15, last name K,” he might say I’d page quickly to that section. “She’s hot man,” I might reply. “Most def,” he may reply. If felt like this:
The Bod Book was so valuable because in this one document, you could see everyone. It was awesome. You needed to talk to a friend, you could find them.
In 2005, I remember hearing about this thing called MySpace. It was like the Bod Book on steroids. You could see pictures of people, find out what music they liked, and send them messages. It was an entirely new way to communicate. And very addicting.
I was out of college at this point, but my brother and sister were college students. “Have you heard of Facebook?” my brother asked me. “No,” I replied, and he explained. I wasn’t allowed to join then, and when I first saw it, I thought it was kind of dumb.
I’d have bet my eventual retirement on MySpace being the better platform. Good thing I didn’t. Flash forward 10 years, and not having a Facebook account is a big deal.
But these various medias and platforms have taken over everything. It’s nearly impossible not to have an account, or access to an account. Business’s promote their products on these pages. People like myself rely on them for a platform. And people like the President use them to influence the global market.
It’s another way I don’t think we’ve stopped to think. So many of my conversations now include mention of Twitter or Facebook.
A post someone made. An article someone found. What someone is doing. And this doesn’t even touch the things I barely use, like Instagram, Snapchat, and several I don’t know about.
As the platforms have grown in popularity, they’ve grown in influence. If you disagree, just read through the President’s Twitter feed. This feed generates thousands of articles and commentary. It’s the new sources for things.
Since these things are so new, we’re not really thinking about them well. Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, has been going on a media tour, discussing what the company has been doing to protect safety of its users and influence of users on national things. These are questions we’ve never had to answer, but they also have this odd dichotomy built into them.
The people who are complaining about Facebook and Twitter use the platforms. They seem to consider the use of the platforms to be a basic right, but then want to tell the CEO’s what to do. Think of the irony? What do we do?