Hunter Ellis 28 January 2014 Adam Padgett Inquiry Proposal Title? Context 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 individuals. 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 media. 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 dollars. 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? Hunter, 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.