Your morning sets up the success of your day. So many people wake up and immediately check text messages, emails, and social media. I use my first hour awake for my morning routine of breakfast and meditation to prepare myself.
— Businesswoman and Levo founder Caroline Ghosn
MOST people realize that the invention of the telephone and later the facsimile or fax machine and then the computer were great moments in human history that has brought great advancement for mankind in its march towards progress and upward climb to evolution.
What marked man from its primal ancestors—the apes, according to Charles Darwin—was his deductive and intuitive intelligence as well as his communication skills. And this brings us to the revolutionary way of communicating through social media, which many people will be celebrating tomorrow—even among us Filipinos—as Social Media Day.
Since its creation, people have been able to connect with each other in an unparalleled way that has brought us together even closer than before when the first homo sapiens hunted in a group and signaled each other to bring down their prey. Friends and family can connect now at any given moment in time, and marketers have been able to reach consumers in an entirely new fashion.
The fact is that people use social media for an average of 144 minutes every single day and for us Filipinos, we even use it for almost 90 percent of our waking time.
This is why—and also because of its impact on society over the years—that Social Media Day was born on June 30, and it has continued to grow in popularity ever since.
It has been 11 years since the first World Social Media Day was launched by Mashable in 2010. The special day was born as a way for people to recognize social media’s impact on global communication and to bring the world together to celebrate it. Everyone uses social media every day; it’s how we connect with people all over the world in a simple and fast way.
Mashable is known to use social media to connect various cultures, movements, and fandoms, which is why they wanted a day to celebrate it. People use the hashtag, #SMDay every year, and this year is time for Filipinos to get involved!
The first social media platform ever to be launched was Sixdegrees in 1997. Founded by Andrew Weinreich, the website allowed users to list friends and family members and had features such as profiles, bulletin boards and school affiliations. At its peak, Sixdegrees had over a million users but it was eventually shut down in 2001.
This was followed the succeeding year by the first modern social media platform known as Friendster in 2002. This website allows people to safely make new friends and has over a hundred million users, most of whom are in Asia.
Consequently in 2003, LinkedIn–the first business-focused social media platform–was launched, followed by MySpace launched in 2004 and in the same year, Facebook came to the fore. But initially, it saw much greater success than Mark Zuckerberg’s creation and by 2006 MySpace was the largest social media platform in the world, with users loving the customized profiles that also enabled them to post their music.
YouTube launched its website dedicated to video in 2005 and Twitter followed with its limited characters platform in 2006. As both grew in popularity, so did Facebook, and the most popular social media platforms for the next five years were being established.
Instagram launched in 2010 and saw rapid growth, gaining over a million users within the first couple of months. With Instagram challenging their dominance, Facebook purchased the platform for US$1 billion in 2012. Facebook also purchased the encrypted messaging platform WhatsApp for US$16 billion in 2014. One platform that Facebook failed to buy was Snapchat. Snapchat, which became popular due to its disappearing stories feature, was launched in 2011 and reportedly turned down a US$3 billion offer from Facebook in 2013. The most recent addition to the list of social media heavyweights is TikTok. The app was launched in 2016 and has become incredibly popular due to its extensive music and video editing features.
But as social media has evolved and grown in popularity, so has the scrutiny that the platforms come under. With controversies surrounding their use of data, hate speech, impact on mental health, election results and fake news, the platforms are under more pressure than ever to be transparent with what goes on behind the scenes.
Social media has become a way to instantly connect, often with friends and family, but also with complete strangers. It has become a huge source of news, shopping and general entertainment. Social media day is for us to enjoy the positives that these platforms have brought into our lives, and maybe like or share a photo or two.
Finally, there’s one main tradition people should know about that is observed on Social Media Day. This is, of course, posting about it on social media. Who’d have thought it? Many people upload photos or stories that reflect the role that social media has played in their lives. Others choose to repost their favorite uploads from the past and generally it is a chance for people to share some love online.
Many websites use Social Media Day as an opportunity to compile lists of some of their favorite social media moments. If you have a spare 20 minutes or so it is well worth your time to find some of these lists and enjoy some of the funniest, most viral social media posts knocking around.