Hunter Ellis
28 January 2014
Adam Padgett
Inquiry Proposal
Social media is generally thought to serve as a form of connectivity as well as
a source of entertainment. For myself, I fit the general description. I use Twitter,
Instagram, Snapchat, and occasionally Facebook in order to occupy idle time, as well
as to keep up with friends. However, most of the time spent using social media is a
result of boredom. The convenience associated with this sort of entertainment is
tremendous. The world of smartphones has virtually thrown boredom out the
window. We can play games, surf the web, and browse social media, all in the palm
of our hand, and at basically anytime since we nearly always have our phones on us.
However, it was not until college that I became completely familiar with the
usefulness of social media in keeping up with friends. High school is a tight-knit
community where your friends surround you. Then you go off to college and
struggle to keep up with everyone. That’s where social media comes into play. Its an
easy way to “keep in contact” with all those friends. Additionally, it serves as an even
greater form of entertainment at this point since you are more interested in what is
on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram because you are trying to keep up with certain
I’ve even come to know social media as an educational/informative device.
For instance, a couple days ago on Twitter, there was a sudden, spontaneous uproar
of flappy bird, which at the time I, along with most others had no idea of. Now, just a
few days later, it seems to have become a pretty popular game. The fact that
something can gain virtually instantaneous popularity, as a result of social media
truly amazes me. The designers/creators must be extremely grateful for social
Inquiry/Next Steps
The use of social media in everyday life leads me to ask many questions. One
of which is, what sort of economic effects does social media have? With social media
being as large as it is at this point, surely it has some sort of effect on economics.
After all, advertisements have become pretty common while scrolling through
Twitter or Facebook. Advertisements are hugely popular on YouTube, which I most
definitely consider a form of social media. I’ve even heard of people becoming rich
off of YouTube videos. After a video reaches so many views, companies will then
reimburse the publisher of the video, in order to place advertisements on their page
or in their videos.
An additional inquiry I have pondered is how the world would be different if
social media had never come to light, or grown exponentially, as it has. There would
obviously be benefits, such as valuing idle time, becoming more physically social,
and lack of distractions. However, I believe social media has a value greater than
that, even besides keeping up with old friends, and I am interested in discovering
those positive aspects. A few ideas come to light when I think of such a topic. One of
which is the fact that just this morning, I was able to use Twitter to gain a better
understanding of today’s weather and the chance of snow. I follow a news account,
so that surely helps and takes convenience to an entirely new level. Also, if social
media does, in fact, possess economic value, then without doubt, the world, as we
know it, would be different. After all, Facebook is worth more than 100 billion
Curiosity and observation has also led me to wonder what the lifespan of any
given social media site is. Within the 15 or so years that social media has been in
place, we’ve already seen the rise and fall of MySpace, and as we speak, we see
Facebook losing popularity as Twitter is on the rise. Additionally, it seems as if new
forms of social media are being introduced monthly, so why is it that some take off
and become somewhat of an empire, while others never see the light of day? Which
characteristics are present in the successful medias, which other, unsuccessful
medias, have failed to incorporate?
You have some really interesting and engaging ideas here. I also like that you are
sort of taking an anti-anti-social media approach. So I imagine that you might very
well be advocated for social media as opposed to rejecting it. Also, I think your
inquiry on the increasingly ephemeral nature of online trends in the digital age also
engaging. But I feel like I need more from you here. why are you interested in these
ideas. What value is there in learning the lifespan of a social network. I feel like
you’ve only begun a conversation without really delving into the issues and why you
care about them. Again, good ideas here, I just need a little more clarity. I look
forward to seeing how these ideas develop.