“Privacy is dead, and social media holds the smoking gun.”
Social media has a power that many of us have probably realized, but none of us can truly comprehend. It’s like a child we haven’t seen for many years and went through a shockingly fast growth-spurt. It’s grown past us now without us realizing it, and there’s a chance we can’t stop it.
Social media is a looming giant, both in the developed world and in our everyday lives. If one has a smartphone, a laptop, tablet, gaming console, etc., it is much more than likely that social media plays a part in their life. I know for a fact it does in mine. I know I have every kind of account short of MySpace, only because I was born too late for that era of the internet.
We used to have one main computer in my house, a nice-looking, sleek, black one that was brand-spanking new 10 years ago. I spent nearly all my time on it. Did everything I could do as an 8-12-year-old on the internet. I made a YouTube account, posted lyric videos, made a Facebook account (my first major experience with a social media giant, but only doing so after my mom made me sign a contract), left embarrassing comments, played Farmville for hours on end, and anything else my tween heart desired. My access to the internet became a hole that I dug for myself, but can never be filled again, now that I’ve dug too deep. Since the computer, I’ve had two of my very own laptops, three smartphones, a Nintendo DSi, and an Xbox that my brother and I shared (he has his own now). The internet has become ingrained in my life (as it has in everyone else’s), so much so that I want to make a career out of it.
In our modern era, the most popular social media sites are arguably Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tumblr, that possibly reside among a couple of others I cannot name right now. Who knew 5 years ago that Snapchat would grow to be as prevalent as it is now? Who knows if Facebook, despite its crazy popularity now, will even be a “thing” in 2 years? It’s unlikely something that big would die out that fast, but it’s happened before. Facebook, now the most widely-used social network in the world, has an estimated 2.23 billion monthly active users worldwide. That’s just about a quarter of the world’s population, something everyone thought was impossible to achieve maybe 10 years ago. Many thought social media was the enemy, and we shouldn’t let it into our lives, and some thought it simply wouldn’t do well, and we shouldn’t use it for other reasons. Now Snapchat and Instagram are the prevalent ones for those in their teens and 20s, gaining more traction in the younger generation, while Facebook remains popular with everyone, but the older generation most of all. Does this mean Snapchat and Instagram will come out on top in a couple years, just as Facebook already has? Or will it be the other way around? Will these other platforms fade away just as Facebook remains king? I guess we will have to see.
Since social media is used in our everyday lives, clearly, it’s grown beyond that purpose. Who do you think developed all the platforms in the first place? Obviously there are people managing the apps day to day, and this work is most likely their full-time job. Since these companies are so huge, there are probably hundreds, maybe thousands of people who are paid a (relatively) fair wage to work at this company and provide for their family. Social media is not only in our lives, it is our lives. Without it, there would be many less jobs in the market today, or they would just be very, very different, definitely not as dependent on technology as they actually are now. It’s crazy just how and how much social media has been cemented in everyday society. Some people literally wouldn’t live without it.
While it is scary thinking about the possible FBI agent tracking your every move because of what social media is capable of now, chances are, nothing will actually happen to you, unless you’re browsing some seriously shady stuff. But social media has enabled long-lost friends and families to be reunited, enabled friends to be made, connect with people you never would otherwise, find a roommate, sell an old StairMaster that’s only use has been for the storage of dust, buy a StairMaster, sell a house, buy a house, and so many other things. The internet and it’s social media are a jungle. They’re beautiful in one way and scary in another, and we must always tread carefully and look behind us. We will find things we’ve never seen before and discover things that should never have been discovered.
Our privacy may be dead, but if we’re careful, our sanity and tolerance of the internet can keep the gun from going off a second time.