The Role of Facebook in the History of Communications


July 5, 2013 by thesmallmediumdenver

social media, cellphone, media historyWill Facebook be around in five years, and will it still be the premiere social medium?  These may not be the right questions to ask when looking at the evolution of media throughout history.

While the number of Facebook users soars over 1.2 billion, there remain many critics of the social network.  Facebook continues to confront concerns of a dropping stock market value, and both shareholders and the public are asking: What is the true value of the company?  Particularly in the United States, many users have chosen to stop use of the platform and delete personal and business accounts, thus giving critics more fuel to downplay the future of the company.

My opinion on the matter is that I still see a bright future for Facebook and its users, but I don’t intend to express this opinion now.  Rather, this discussion will focus on why the concepts of Facebook, and other social media, are important to look at.  They have taken digital communications a step further from emails and chats, just as other new technologies took communications one step further from their predecessors.

Facebook may or may not be around in five years, and if it is, it may or may not be the force that it is today.  But, its accomplishments thus far warrant the platform to be held with high regard in the evolution of media.

The invention of computers and the Internet expanded global communication capabilities to connect everyone on earth.  Privacy and true-identity became major concerns for users once global adoption of the Internet took place.  The problem arose that, yes, we can communicate with anyone anywhere, but didn’t know if the people on the other end were “real” or what their intentions of communications were.

Now, Facebook and other social media, have added a bit of transparency and authenticity to online users.  Social networks allow for users to control who they are talking to, and with a good idea that the people are “real”.  No, Facebook did not invent this concept, but it may be said that it has designed one of the best models to use for this media design.

One device that has seen a storied history is the cellphone.  The mobile phone has spawned from both evolutions in the land-line telephone and radio-frequency broadcasting.

The land-line phone’s predecessors were the telegraph and morse code.  While both telegraph and morse code communications were used around the globe, they also never flourished as being financially successful inventions.  Their concepts were furthered to become the land-line telephone.  We all know the financial success and longevity of land-line phones and companies that continue to flourish from this industry, but without the telegraph and morse code, they would not have happened.

The cellphone can be traced back to radio communications.  By definition, the first mobile phones were radio devices used in local and state police communications, as well as walkie-talkies used in our military.  Walkie-talkies are still around, and “CB”-radios still have their place with truckers, but neither have seen the success of today’s cellphone.  Again, without the progress of radio communications, the cellphone would not be.

Today’s cellphone should really be called the smartphone, able to perform functions of computers, as well as make calls and text.  As mentioned, the smartphone owes its history to several new technologies introduced over the past two centuries.

Whether a financial success or not, Facebook’s role in further media evolution is an important one.  Another platform may very well come along and further the concepts introduced by Facebook but, again, they will not happen without the achievements already made by today’s social network of choice.

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5 thoughts on “The Role of Facebook in the History of Communications

  1. Sannsab says:

    Reblogged this on sansabsanzha.

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  3. I read this post completely about the comparison of latest and preceding technologies, it’s awesome article.

    • Thanks very much for your kind words about the article. Is this really THE “Jim Cramer” or someone associated with his brand? If so, I’m a big fan, and I’m flattered. If not, I still appreciate the comment, and thank your for your time.

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