FARGO - The average person will spend five years and four months on social media during their lifetime, according to a 2017 study by MediaKix.
Though social media is said to have existed since 1997 when the social network Six Degrees was created, it didn't gain popularity until the early 2000s when Friendster and Myspace hit the web. Nearly two decades later, Myspace is as obscure as a floppy disk to today's youth. Now the lead contenders in the battle for our attention are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat - to name a few.
No matter which platform social media enthusiasts started with, each person has a distinct origin story - their first online "friends," statuses and photos are a part of their social story. Those same sites once developed to connect people have been utilized to market businesses and services, creating a whole new industry.
"Ten years ago, my job wouldn't have existed - not even five years ago," says Danielle Page, digital marketing specialist at Minnesota State University Moorhead. "It's really providing new opportunities for graduates."
Not only has social media created jobs, it has connected people across the globe. For international students, social media constructs avenues for students to connect with their families when separated for long periods of time.
"I feel like I'm much closer to my family just being so active on social media even when I'm 10,000 miles away from home," says Saad Janjua, MSUM international student. "It's just a cloud of free expression."
Throughout her life, Lexi Byler - an MSUM student and marketing intern - has had the chance to travel the world from New Zealand and Cambodia to Vietnam, Thailand and Costa Rica. In her travels, she's met many people who have become her friends. "I'm Facebook friends with those people so (social media) allows me to see into their lives on a regular basis and also keep in contact with them fairly easily," Byler says.
This year, MSUM is hosting its first Social Media Day with the theme "using social media for good." Local leaders, including key note speaker Kirsten Jensen, founder and digital strategist at Next Action Digital, will speak about various topics surrounding social media such as podcasting, recruiting and storytelling through social media and more.
"Social Media Day provides an opportunity for students and community members to learn about how to use social media for good within their organizations," Page says.
If you go:
What: Social Media Day - "Using Social Media for Good"
When: 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, April 28
Where: Paseka School of Business at MSUM, 1104 7th Ave. S., Moorhead
Info: Free to students and public; attendees must register online at mnstate.edu/social-media-day.