As someone who has just started to study social media, it's probably to be expected that I have been analysing the role social media has played in my life. The more I think about it, the more I realise social media hasn't just been a tool, but a necessity since I was old enough to realise. I can remember at the age of 13, having MSN Instant Messenger and spending hours each night on there speaking to class mates, it was the only way I could socialise as the days of going out and playing in the street had started coming to a close. This was before Facebook took off and before Twitter had even been created. At that time I also had a MySpace page! That's back when it was cool.
My point is that to some people social media these days is just as important to young people and others as methods of social connection, as more traditional forms of communication are. I for one would not be able to stay as connected to long distance friends, like those I went to University with the first time round and have moved away, if it wasn't for social media tools. As danah boyd 'It's complicated, the social lives of networked teens' (2014 p20) notes in relation to a conversation with an American student "it is a social lifeline that enables her to stay connected to people she cares about but can not otherwise interact with in person".
This sums up the clear importance social media has in our society, in my opinion it has become integrated into society and it's probably safe to say that every member of the younger generation will have some sort of social media account, if not multiple accounts. I think this was one of my main motivations to study in this field, it's massive and I think it's safe to say that social media isn't going away anytime soon. It's also a very exciting area to be studying, as it's forever changing, danah boyd says in her book, in the introduction at least (haven't read further yet) that by the time the book was published in 2014 the social media landscape may have completely changed, and some networks she was talking about may no longer be as prominent.
So it looks like I will have to keep up!
Links: danah boyd, It's complicated: the social lives of networked teens