As we begin to discuss social media and is impact on mass communications as a whole, we must first define what it is and how it came to be. The Dynamics of Mass Communications defines social media as a set of Internet tools that encourages content sharing and community relationships. Users are able to create online communities by exchanging, distributing and receiving content information. Social media has rapidly integrated itself into our personal and professional lives over the past decade or so. Information is more available to the public today because of social media. The history of social media started with the BBS (Bulletin Board System) in the late 70’s. Most BBSs were involved in illegal or other shady practices like adult content, virus codes, and instructions on hacking and phone hacking, but BBSs were the first type of sites that allowed users to log on to it and interact with one another. This interaction was a lot slower than what individuals are used to in today’s society. Genie was created by a General Electric subsidiary (GEIS) in 1985 and was an early online service. It was a text-based service, and was considered the first viable commercial competition to CompuServe. This specific service was created to make use of time-sharing mainframes after normal U>S. business hours. Not too long after, America Online (AOL) started as an online service and made great strides with making the Internet more universally accessible within the United States. In 1988, IRC (Internet Relay Chat) was developed and used for file and link sharing and even keeping in touch with others. Readers could classify it as the father of instant messages as we know it today, though it was limiting access to most people. Touching the topic of early social networks, dating sites are sometimes considered the first social networks. Dating sites began to crop up just as soon as people began to get online with the Internet.
Cited: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/whole-life/how-social-media-made-me-better-person http://www.digitaltrends.com/features/the-history-of-social-networking/ http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/impact-social-media_b44972 http://www.studentpulse.com/articles/202/the-social-media-revolution-exploring-the-impact-on-journalism-and-news-media-organizations The Dynamics of Mass Communications by Joseph R. Dominick