#Devolution

Mike Maticka, Entertainment Editor

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Since the beginning of time, sounds and words have been created in order for humans and other creatures to communicate with one another. Over time, language has changed and evolved to suit different eras. Words have been abbreviated, phrases have been shortened, and language has been given a new definition in modern age. This trend now sees social media in the 21st century.

Way back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, social media began with a new generation as the internet was just picking up for the general public. Web pages, like MySpace, were used to bring communities closer than ever before. MySpace allowed users to update their current moods and thoughts via text box. The text box allowed as many words as a user needed in order for them to express their emotions. Friends of the users could post on their profile pages with fun sayings and pretty much anything they wanted. Words were such a great part of the social media experience via MySpace. Words allowed users to take part in their friends’ lives on the internet. At this point in time, the devolution of words began. Phrases like ‘laughing out loud’ were shortened to LOL, words like ‘text message’ and other popularly used terms of the time were condensed to create a shorter reading experience for users that didn’t want to spend ten minutes analyzing a friend’s post.

The word devolution continued on into 2008 and so on. Blogger allowed users to post their daily blogs, along with pictures and videos to go along with the text. Condensed words that were commonly used on MySpace were also used on Blogger, however users tended to use a larger amount of text on this website. When Facebook was introduced, many Myspace and Blogger users migrated over to the new social media outlet. Photos and videos were used even more as a way of communication on Facebook. Full photo albums were created by users like never before. Rarely did Facebook users see drawn out text posts, as they did on MySpace and Blogger. Facebook users also no longer had to comment on a status to show their interest in the topic. The ‘like’ button was introduced on this platform, allowing people to support a status with a single click.

Beginning with a video-driven website called YouTube, users could create videos to deliver a message to their viewers. Videos were packed with conversations, and new lingo that no one had ever heard before. YouTube was another milestone in the word devolution in social media. Another popular social media outlet, Twitter brought back the text driven website. However, Twitter users were only allowed 140 characters of text. This restraint caused users to find shorter ways to say what needed to be said. A new idea came about on Twitter as well, called ‘hashtags’. ‘Hashtags’ were words that followed after a pound sign. this new feature was commonly used to popularize a subject. However, this feature only seemed to aid in the word devolution in social media.

Tumblr and Instagram were later introduced as photo driven websites. Tumblr supports a huge capacity of users daily posting their favorite photos. Instagram became popular right around the time that Tumblr rose to the surface. Tumblr and Instagram allowed users to post a large amount of pictures whenever they wanted. However text posts were allowed on Tumblr, this feature is hardly ever used for most users. Along with the pictures that users post on Instagram, a short memo is allowed. Hashtags, popularly used on Twitter, are also found on Instagram.

Photos and videos seemed to be the wave of the future as Vine and Instagram introduced new technology. Vine, an App Store original, featured short video clips that captured an entire story. These videos became extremely viral and spread like wild fire. Recently, Instagram added the same feature to their popular application.

The way we have used social media has changed dramatically over the years. From the text heavy websites of MySpace and Blogger to the photo and video driven applications of Vine and Instagram, words have seemed to become endangered in social media. The future of the Internet seems to be leaning in a more strictly visual direction.

 

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