A Wandering (wondering?) Mind….

English: Infographic on how Social Media are b...

English: Infographic on how Social Media are being used, and how everything is changed by them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was driving down Interstate today when I saw an overhead sign that said   “TN LAW-NO TEXTING WHILE DRIVING.”  I started thinking about when texting first started, so I drove home and googled it. I found out that it started a mere 20 years ago!

From that bit of research, I started thinking about the rise of social media.  Did you know that facebook started in 2004 and was released to the general public in September of 2006.  Linkedin started in 2003, followed by YouTube in 2005.  Twitter started in 2006.  It’s amazing to me that services we all use started so recently!

That line of thought led me to an article I found on Wikipedia concerning the impact of social media on business:



Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, exchange and comment contents among themselves in virtual communities and networks.[1] Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.[2] Furthermore, social media employ mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms via which individuals and communities share, cocreate, discuss, and modify user-generated content. It introduces substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities and individuals[3]


  1. ^ Ahlqvist, Toni; Bäck, A., Halonen, M., Heinonen, S (2008). “Social media roadmaps exploring the futures triggered by social media”. VTT Tiedotteita – Valtion Teknillinen Tutkimuskeskus (2454): 13.
  2. ^ Kaplan Andreas M., Haenlein Michael, (2010), Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media, Business Horizons, Vol. 53, Issue 1 (page 61)
  3. a b c d e f g h i j H. Kietzmann, Jan; Kristopher Hermkens (2011). “Social media? Get serious! 
  1. Understanding the functional building blocks of social media”. Business Horizons 54: 241–251

The last line is the key thought….”It introduces substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities and indivi
 The key words are “substantial” and “pervasive.”

This all led me think of the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” This seems to describe social media pretty well.  We tend to use social media to share ideas with people who share our point of view.  This is all well and good, but….

But, there is a downside to this viewpoint.  It made me think about how polarized we are today on subjects such as politics, religion, gun control, education, healthcare, the economy, immigration, and on and on…..  I wonder if the “exchange of user generated content” is helping or hindering the solutions to the problems we all face today.  Is the power to change and control thought in the hands of a few or the many?   And is this power equal across all subject matter?  

What do you think?

By Tom Burns, Seller of things essential to life as we know it….




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