A Social Media Retrospective

A Social Media Retrospective
Image Credit: Pixabay


Social media influences how we communicate with employers, family, consumers, how we fundraise, elect public officials, procure our news, entertain, promote ourselves for employment, and how we conduct business. The medium now brings immediacy and transparency to social issues that were previously unknown.

Former obstacles such as borders, geography, portability, lack of access to connectivity or costly collaborative tools are rapidly dissolving. This shift has redefined all the rules disrupting the traditional framework for business. The ability to collaborate with your neighbor or your family members are the very same tools you use to work with your colleagues and now, your colleagues are halfway across the globe. Collaborative tools are now more user-friendly, accessible, cost-effective, interactive, innovative and global. The once traditional storefronts have disappeared, forever changing how we consume everything from education to toilet paper. These implications have fostered a whole new crop of entrepreneurs. The expectations of consumers have fundamentally changed, and it pays to understand that consumers are educated, connected and interactive.

Status Quo Disruption

Communication is no longer one-way or top to bottom. It is multi-channel, multi-directional and twenty-four seven. Projects are becoming more open sourced and peer-to-peer (p2p). The workspace is changing, becoming more flexible as it’s no longer absolutely imperative to actually be present at a desk as it once was. Paving the way for freelancers and entrepreneurs. You can conduct business from your living room, a coffee shop or even from a remote beach, further seeding the ground for start-ups. Even how capital is raised for start-ups have fundamentally changed. The digital landscape is changing so fast, it is almost impossible to keep up with all the new innovations, platforms, and applications much less the jargon. Even if you are a subject matter expert in your field, it has become an ongoing challenge to keep up with all the new tech, new applications, and methods to effectively connect with your consumer base, audience or supporters to share your expertise, or to just stay relevant amid all the online noise.

Here’s a great recount of how social media evolved into the vital tools we have today!

Video Credit: ShoutOut Digital


Social media skills have essentially become a non-negotiable commodity these days, and with skillful application, it’s a real game changer. It can also be full of potential virtual landmines. In the very near future, I predict that all educational curriculums will require students to take a course in the fundamentals of social media application to adequately equip students not only to compete for employment opportunities but, to practice safety as they navigate the digital landscape.

Check out this article from the New York Times backing up that notion “New Item on the College Admission Checklist: LinkedIn Profile” by Natasha Singer.

An online resume or portfolio is not just an impressive gesture but, it is a general expectation by employers. In addition, employers are probably just as interested in your online presence as anything you have detailed in your resume. What you are not participating in or following online, says equally as much about you, as what you are following . Participating in social media has also to some degree, become a security risk, and unfortunately it also has become a more litigious risk in terms of copyright as well. There are social media lawsuits popping up everywhere regarding who owns intellectual property or who has suffered legitimate libel or slander, for example. To provide less guidance than that to students ( or anyone), many who are very tech savvy, but not always necessarily social media savvy would be a disservice.

Today, it is not enough to be an expert in your field, but you also need to navigate the digital landscape with some expertise to effectively compete and be safe. Parents are having to consider the consequences of their children’s digital footprint virtually at birth, and the rest of us are just trying to bring ourselves up to speed on how to utilize a medium that continues to grow like wildfire.

There was a time when social media was considered a mere “self-indulgent passing fad.” That day has passed. The big question then was will social media bring a return on investment. Since then, social media has become a huge industry with unimagined frontiers and applications that we have only started to explore. As we look back over the past two decades, social media has metamorphosed from a “passing fad” to becoming “big business” or a legitimate industry within its own right. The past five to ten years have demonstrated inconceivable change in the medium and it’s difficult to compete if you are not wielding the tools of social media proficiently. Social media has basically become non-negotiable.

Retro- Perspective

This means that everyone has to contend with how they will apply social media to their life, whether you are a business owner or just a mere mortal. It’s inevitable. So, whether you are a business owner or just a mere mortal, let’s take a brief look at the history of social media.
It is very important to take a retrospective of the past two decades if we want to build a solid foundation for the future. Let’s look at how the medium has evolved, allowing us to decide individually where we might want our social media future to take us.

Check out this 90-second review “The History of Social Media/ CNBC” by CNBC that highlights the tremendous growth that our favorite social media platforms have seen over the past two decades.

Video Credit: History Of Social Media In 90 seconds | CNBC

Well, the numbers don’t really lie. Hard hitters lay down huge sums for social media platforms, and we have witnessed Facebook go public on Wall Street. That’s not a fad, that’s a huge industry. Enough said. Frankly, I never thought I would see that day! It doesn’t become much more mainstream than that. Social media platforms are now being publicly traded. To the late adopters that will equate to the “beast” is here to stay, she is not going anywhere, despite up or down trends. No one can continue to deny that social media plays a far bigger role in everything, more than most of us comprehend, including playing a huge role in our economic well-being. Now, all that we have to do is make some decisions about how we are going to adapt and apply the medium to our lives or brands.

More on History

For more information on the history of social media, check out this fun and interactive “History of Social Media” infographic created by avalaunchmedia.com
This fun infographic gives an entertaining interactive overview of the history of social media.
Be sure to click-through all of the different time periods for an informative summary of social media history.

Our Future’s Bright

If the past is any indicator, I believe that we can continue to expect very good things from the medium of social media, even if social media is a bit of rollercoaster while the pace continues to increase! Over time, the once “just a fad” medium of social media has demonstrated practical application, adaptability, longevity and success as an industry. Today, we have a lot of choices that we did not have before, and over the course of time, we will be examining a lot of those choices on this blog. I hope you will join us!


Thanks to CNBC, ABC News, New York Times, Natasha Singer ShoutOut Digital and avalaunchmedia.com for their content contributions and for an informative look at the history of social media.

Your Take?

Leave a comment, and please share your opinion about how social media has had a personal impact on your life or business over the past two decades.

What are your thoughts on the future trends of social media, and how that will impact your business or professional life?

What are your predictions for the future of social media?

Next Time

Check out my next post “Social Media’s Future Trends” for an overview of some new trends and technology in social media.

2 thoughts on “A Social Media Retrospective

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