Are Social Networking Sites Here to Stay?

Everyday it is always something new, something different. People get excited about MySpace and then Facebook is created and people flock to that, abandoning MySpace as quickly as they engulfed it. Since the arrival of the World Wide Web in the early 1990’s, the Internet seems to be constantly undergoing changes.

From painstakingly slow dial-up with AOL to a multitude of service providers whose wireless bubbles can encompass entire campuses, the Internet is constantly offering new platforms: e-mail, AOL, AIM,  Google,Yahoo, MySpace, Facebook, FriendsterYouTubeTwitterTumblr – it is neverending!

Yet whether or not these many new platforms are here to stay has yet to be determined. It has been seen over and over again as illustrated in the MySpace frenzy that grew into the almost complete abandonment of MySpace with the arrival of a better, faster, newer rival. The goal of many newcomers seems to be to offer the newest, coolest thing at the time and try to hold onto the public’s attention for as long as possible before the next best thing arrives.

In fact, some leaders of these companies admit they are not sure what the future beholds. Dick Costolo recently became Twitter’s new chief executive and admits, “I am working on clarity around that at the moment. I am currently trying to define what Twitter’s purpose is in the long term.” Going further, Costolo said that it was difficult to define Twitter’s purpose and that it lacked a clear vision, according to Emma Barnett of The Telegraph in her articleTwitter lacks ‘clear long term vision’ admits new CEO.

Twitter has many uses that have grown out of the fact it was an unknown medium that many people flocked to and attempted to harness. Twitter is used by young adults to chronicle their life hour by hour, it is used by celebrities to connect with fans and even my reporters in a groundbreaking new type of journalism referred to as ‘twitter journalism.’

Due to this, the site is “growing by the day,” said Costolo. “It is hard to speak about Twitter’s vision without factoring in how much of its purpose has been defined by its users over the years. Users came up with so many parts of the service […] Twitter needs to continue being a good listener and recognize that the service has been redefined by lots of people, tweet by tweet, but also come up with its own priorities.”

If all of these new, innovative sites with their flashy allure want to stay afloat even after the next big thing hits, they need to understand what they have to offer and harness that. Journalists today are trying to adapt to new technology and their job will be a lot easier if some of it becomes steadfast and permanent, rather than changing with the wind.

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About Meghan Mangrum

Writer | Reporter | Storyteller.
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