The world population stands at more than 7,000,000,000 people. There are more than 317,000,000 people living in the United States. The data, made available by the United States Census Bureau, illustrates a world with a human population that is not only vast, but that is becoming more interconnected.
But how does a world find a way to maintain a sense of connection with a population so large? Social media.
This is the time of year when more people are engrossed by the holiday season and are reaching out to their loved ones. The college student living across the country informing her parents about the latest on campus life. The American soldier on the other side of the world who is reading to his young son a bedtime story. A young, married couple staying in touch as the wife, or husband, is away on a business trip. The brother and sister utilizing technology readily available on their cellphones to message each other while sitting on the family sofa across from one another.
A prime example of how social media has changed the dynamics about how people keep in touch is Facebook. The social media giant reported that for the month of September of this year, it projected that there were “874 million monthly active users” and “727 million daily active users.” Entertainers such as Rihanna, Eminem, Shakira, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry top the list of those with the most Likes (in the millions) on their respective pages.
Yet, Facebook alone does not encompass social media. Other venues such as MySpace, which was at the top prior to Facebook’s rise, allows its users to communicate similarly to Facebook and which many musicians utilize as a vehicle to spread their music. Twitter (with more than 230 million monthly active users), also demonstrate the power of accessibility. Words alone also don’t define how people choose to remain in touch.
For example, Instagram is a social networking site that allows its users to share pictures and, most recently, short videos. Vine and Keek are social network sites where videos can be posted. With Pinterest, users can share their commonalities — interests — with like minded users all on their pin boards. Skype allows for people to have live face to face — or screen to screen — conversations. FaceTime is a similar option for those with Apple products where you can have a type of video telephone conversation, reminiscent of “The Jetsons.”
Still, accessibility does not come without its own faults. Security and privacy issues are at the top of the list when it comes to overall technology awareness. Snapchat is a photo app where people can take photos while images last only for 10 seconds at most before disappearing. While the spontaneity may be alluring, parents need to be mindful as there have been cases of child predators, authorities have warned, that have taken inappropriate photos and share them with unsuspecting youths using this and other networking sites. But precaution should be taken no matter your age and no matter your preferred choice of social networking.
With a national population expected to surpass 400 million in 2051 alone, the Census Bureau indicates, only one can guess how people will continue to maintain a connection with ever evolving technology.