“Let’s connect!” – Ah, that common phrase that succinctly sums up the association among the various social media platforms available today. After all, isn’t that what “media ecology” is all about? How the different platforms connect to one another to form this social environment? Absolutely!
The ecology, or environment, that social media sites have developed over the years all boils down to forging connections. Whether we’re forming new connections, rekindling old connections, or maintaining current connections, we’re all participating in the creation of this media ecology that has swept over our lives. – I’m sure you’ve observed a pattern here by now. You’re going to read the word ‘connection’ a lot. Get used to it! That’s the reality of this phenomenon we are all unwittingly participating in! – Obviously, the type of connections made are up to the user, and we often choose certain platforms based on the type of relations that we seek. For example: If we want to network, we will connect with others via LinkedIn. If we want so share photos with family and friends we may choose to connect via Instagram or Flickr. In general, most of us use more than one form of social media now, each for a different purpose – a different connection.
No, I’m not going to list each online social medium that makes up our media environment, because that would be redundant. Instead, I choose to bring to light how they relate. How they, together, form this new habitat that we’re all so completely involved in. This world has opened up so many more possibilities for the majority of us when it comes to making connections. We’re instantly able to share a photo with all of our family and friends at once. We are able to tweet out important details from high-profile events in real-time for others to follow along with. In essence, we’re all connected through this vast web of electronic sources in ways never imagined even ten to fifteen years ago! And all of these sources, together, form this interconnected array of “neighborhoods” that we’ve settled down in.
So, you may scoff at terms like ‘ecology’, ‘environment’, and ‘habitat’ to define social media – but, by looking down from a higher-level, it really does make sense. We’re all navigating through the various domains, exploring…connecting.