Blog Post #3 – Inquiry Research Round #1 – What are social media’s effects on society and the people within it?

What is social media and what is its history?

Most of us probably know what social media is. Heck, it is likely that the majority of us use it on a daily basis. For those of us who might not know what social media is, or need a slight touchup on their info, social media is a type of digital tool or application that gives users the capability to be social, whether that be by letting them share their life by uploading posts on their account, by streaming live videos or by direct messaging, a type of messaging very similar to SMS messaging, but over the internet rather than cellular networks [1].

Social media applications normally specialize in specific areas of socializing. For example, applications like Twitter specialize in posting small amounts of text, applications like Instagram specialize in photos and videos of any length, and applications like TikTok specialize in short videos. While there are numerous social media apps that do not specialize in one particular area, such as Facebook, most are known for specific types of media [1]. It should also be noted that social media is much more open and anyone can sign up, which causes misinformation to be quite common on the myriad of platforms that are out there [2].

Now for the history of social media. For the majority of human history, being social was a simple matter. You either talked to someone in person or you sent a letter. While you could argue that the action of sending letters advanced and became less and less simple throughout the years, the process has still stayed relatively the same. Whether it was a person delivering your message, a bird, or a machine, it was still letters on a page. Then computers came along, bringing email with them, and cellphones with short message service messaging, or SMS, and multimedia messaging service messaging, or MMS [3], not long after. Only after these inventions did social media as we know it today start to form, but that does not mean that the history of social media started such a short time ago. In truth, the history of social media started a very long time ago, in 1792 to be exact [5].

1792 was the year that the telegraph was invented, an invention that would exponentially increase the popularity of future social media endeavors. As a fast and generally reliable way to move short messages and news across long distances, it quickly became a very popular tool. Then, in the years 1890 and 1891 respectively, the telephone and the radio were invented, diversifying the social portfolio for many who could afford it, but the true explosion happened after computers became widespread in the latter half of the 20th century. By 1979, computer owners that used UseNet could even interact and read a virtual newsletter [5].

The start of the true modern social website was in 1997, with the creation of the site Six Degrees. The website was a pioneer that let users “friend” other users and create a profile. Throughout the years 2002, 2003, and 2004, five heavy hitters were released: the short-lived Friendster, professionally centered LinkedIn, emailing service Gmail, and social media applications Myspace and Facebook. Soon after that, in 2005, social video giant YouTube was released, but remained under the radar for numerous years. 2011’s Snapchat also made a huge splash on its release and resurfaced recently, becoming one of the most popular social media applications in North America [4].

However, since 2011 very little innovation has taken place in the social media sector. While the user interface of many apps have improved and been restructured, large changes have been quite rare. Sure, Instagram was bought by media giant Facebook and applications such as Vine have come and gone, but the format of social media has stayed generally the same. The current state of social media, misinformation and all, has shaped our generation, the way we communicate, and even the way we act. We rely on these applications and websites to complete numerous everyday tasks and keep ourselves up-to-date on daily events and news. But are we truly better off because of it? In my next research round, I will be focusing on the effects of social media on how we feel and think; our psyche. That research round will hopefully help everyone get at least a basic understanding on the psychological impacts of our social media use, which can sometimes turn into overuse, and damage us in ways you might not expect.








Image: Business Review

8 Replies to “Blog Post #3 – Inquiry Research Round #1 – What are social media’s effects on society and the people within it?”

  1. Hi Victor,
    Well done on your research round 1! I’m surprised that you finished it so early. I really like the way that you’re presenting this topic. You mentioned that social media dated back to 1792. That was very interesting to me. I personally use social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok in my day to day life. I can’t wait to see your next post about how social media affects us mentally.

    • Thanks for the comment Lucas! I do try to complete as many homework assignments as possible if I a little too much free time and it seemed that I had a little overflow of it recently! Hopefully my next post will not disappoint!

  2. Hi Victor,

    This is definetly a good place to start to answer your question. Seeing how social media has grown into what is it today is interesting. It started off as a way to communicate with more of the people you know and became a community to communicate with a lot of people you don’t know. A lot of people wouldn’t have the opportunity to communicate if it wasn’t for social media but I agree that overuse of it can be very damaging. Your next post will definitely be interesting. For some people social media is a less stressful way to talk and for others it’s more nerve racking. Another thing that comes to mind is what goes on in people’s minds when there are non-verbal cues on social media that trigger ‘messages’. For example, maybe a post is misinterprated because of the cues existing. That might fit into the think category in your next post.

    Here are some more references:

    Good luck!

    -Shieva Mokhtarnameh

  3. Dear Victor,

    I really enjoy your first round of research! Looking back at your initial plan, I believe you made an excellent decision to start with social media’s effects on society, as a whole. Your specific examples got me thinking about its development into, what I would now consider, a larger consumption. I greatly enjoyed how you had build-up to your statements, then concluded with supportive evidence. A wonderful thought-provoking line being ‘whether it was a person delivering your message, a bird, or a machine, it was still letters on a page’ when talking about the social aspects of our society. Your inquiry project will take an application we see at the surface level, to its underlying effects. I am always intrigued by these fascinating reads! My sole suggestion you could consider is using statistics for not only time spent on these social applications but also our society’s attention span – which I believe would be super interesting!

    Best Regards,


    • Thanks for your fantastic comment Galicia! I will definitely try to add in some statistics which will fit right into my next post about social media’s effects on our psyche!

  4. Thanks for your fantastic comment Nikki! To answer your question, I believe staying up-to-date on social media is a double-edged sword. While it is quite easy to fall onto unreliable sources and to start to believe in fake/manufactured news and other misinformation, such as conspiracy theories, I think an intelligent individual would be able to discern reliable from unreliable news sources. Like you may know, misinformation is not only a problem with social media, as there are also many mainstream news channels that consistently push fake news, such as Fox News. If someone was to complete a bit of research into the social media accounts that they receive their news from, they would be able to know which ones are trustworthy and which ones are not; same thing goes with mainstream channels. I hope that answers your question!

  5. Great job on your first round of research! I had no idea that the development of social media went so far back. Personally, I could not imagine my life without using social media to contact people. You mentioned using it to stay “up-to-date on daily events a news”. I believe this is negative, because of the misinformation that is found on these applications. The majority of the news I see is extremely biased and/or exaggerated. When people use these sites to “stay up-to-date” instead of reliable news sources, it causes wrong information to spread. What do you think? Looking forward to your response, and good luck on your future research!
    – Nikki

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