No one can deny that the social media landscape is constantly evolving, and I don’t mean in the way that new platforms constantly pop up, but rather in what it does to the people who use it – as well as how those users change it.

I grew up with connected technology also growing up around me, and my mom used to complain how my brother and I didn’t “know” how to speak on the phone, because we preferred the computer screen as a communication device.

When the social aspect of technology started up, it was almost an oxymoron. As much as you were now “connected” to people normally out of your reach, it was to the detriment of your traditional relationships. The internet was a place where everyone was using the available anonymity to be whomever they wanted to be, and chat to whomever they wanted.

Fast forward a few years

That anonymity, despite being short-lived, gave the internet, its chat rooms and subsequently social media a reputation with the older generation that has not only hampered them in becoming connected, but also makes them worried about Millennials.

The reality these days though, is that the evolution of connected technology has sorted out its own bugs. Rather than users being a disembodied entity online, social media has simply provided another avenue for people to enrich their everyday relationships.

Social media is a constantly evolving entity – from its awkward pre-teen chat room stage, where the parents worried if it would ever grow up and be responsible, to what it is today as an adult, albeit a fresh-faced one, having grown up and learnt along the way how to take on the world in the right way.

But was this evolution in the technology’s DNA?

There’s always someone in every conversation about technology who will utter something along the lines of, “one day, all this technology is going to get smarter than us and turn on us”. I guess this kind of worry makes some sense, since we are chasing something of which no-one can predict the end evolution. This innately scares humans, as let’s face it, we love our routines, our traditions and our life paths. We like to know what every action will result in, and with technology getting more and more advanced every day, we can start to feel like it will outgrow us and our intelligence.

But the whole point of connectivity is that it’s not only the devices that are connected, but we’re part of the mix as well. We develop the technology, and we dictate what it’s used for, how it’s used and why it’s used. This very fact has made social media into what it is today. Technology might be evolving at a snowball rate, but you can’t take humans out of the mix, and at least in the case of social media, we have influenced it as much as it’s influenced us.

A partnership

We often feel like the social platforms we use are dictating to us, with every new update, layout change etc, but in reality, the user dictates just as much back.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction – Newton’s Third Law.

We’ve nurtured the development of social media as much as it was already formed. Social media evolved out of a human need to communicate and be connected, so it doesn’t make sense to take us out of the mix of influences once after its birth. We are not simply bystanders of connected technology, and cannot ourselves be disconnected.