Social Networking for All Ages

We live in a world that is always becoming more and more interconnected, where new technologies have given rise to such changes in our ways of life and work that experts speak of the “Industrial Revolution.” The future looks to intelligent houses, ovens that can be programmed from a distance, automobiles driven via computer, wearable technologies and many other things. And in this changed context, communication also goes through other channels ….

The crisis of the telecommunications society does nothing but reflect this migration toward other modalities. Data traffic (SMS) is shaken up — sending an SMS is noted as a “prehistoric” way of coming into contact — while voice calls seem to have gone out of fashion. The massive overflow of mobile tools, above all the smartphone but also the tablet, has pushed forward a transition toward apps and social networks. According to data, instant messaging apps have now become masters of the online arena, especially among the youngest, imposing themselves as the “social network of the latest generation.” We can see this in how widespread SnapChat has become; it’s the most used platform by American youth. According to Flurry, Yahoo!’s web marketing arm, the instant messaging tool has experienced a 103 percent increase at the global level this year. Whatsapp can count on 450 million registered users per month, the Chinese WeChat on nearly 500 million, the Japanese Line boasts nearly 350 million …. And how have social networks fared in a strict sense? From the birth of Facebook, which was now a decade ago — and that has now met the goal of 1.5 billion users — many others realities have made an appearance on the online scene. Today there are social networks for any existence and any age. The young consider Facebook as having outlived its appeal — as a little old. Perhaps it is already dead. They prefer Pinterest or Instagram, the social network for photographs. The latter boasts around 300 million users (and it belongs to Zuckerberg, who acquired it in 2012) and 70 million photos and videos each day. Surviving among the young generations is also YouTube, “the historic” video platform that hosts content of all kinds, from film extracts to amateur videos, music, video clips ….

And where does the more adult public post and share? Almost all the “senior” users of the internet have made sure to create a LinkedIn account, the now popular social platform for developing professional contacts. But many are those who use Twitter, the 140-character social network that is now taking on the appearance of a press agency more and more and is used almost exclusively for linking to articles and information. The same users are also on Facebook, which they, however, use more and more along the lines of Twitter, to spread and share news more than family photos.

As it seems, the choices between the young and the less-young diverge, but social networking is a sure constant. The Global Web Index has revealed that each user of the web is present on average on 5.54 social networks. The more active are obviously the young, between 25 and 34 years of age, as well as the very young. It’s certain that communication has changed, but are we actually certain that it is necessary to be active, hyperconnected and omnipresent on all of these platforms? Perhaps sometimes a little silence and disconnect would not hurt ….

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