I don’t profess to be an expert on social media, but I know enough to understand what its purpose is. In recent years, the Internet has become a hotspot for social networking websites: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, to name a few. Websites such as these were designed for people to connect, network, keep in touch with one another, and promote events. To my mind, the only social media site that has kept this standard is LinkedIn, while others have become adorned with so many extras that their original intention is no longer their purpose.
LinkedIn was designed for business people to network and share resumés in order to make professional connections and find employment. Facebook and Twitter were designed for the general public with a similar principle. But here is where the differences begin to emerge.
When I first started using it, Facebook was only available to college students, and you had to prove you were a college student by submitting your college e-mail address. Countless mini-games have been created since the site’s inception, which only skew the purpose of social networking. If you’re too busy playing with the Facebook applications, how do you have time to connect with your friends?
As for Twitter, the idea to share a short status was fine at the outset. But this was not a new idea; Twitter was designed to be a text messaging website, similar to a texting application on a cell phone. Furthermore, 140 characters are too few to share a status without resorting to the ever-growing language of e-Speak.
One could argue that LinkedIn is different from Facebook and Twitter because the audiences are different: business people have LinkedIn profiles while members of the general public have other profiles. But is that really true? Anyone can have a profile on any these sites, regardless of career status or age. One could also argue that the purposes of the social media sites are different, but that’s not really true either. Anyone can use these outlets to connect, advertise, or promote. Their purposes have become the same.
So is there really a difference? Should Facebook be clogged with mini-games and applications? Probably not. And if they aren’t already, social networking sites will most likely become synonymous with each other in the near future.