What if everything we currently know about media is “just a blip in the history of the world?” It’s a shame that human beings only live 80 or so years because new, revolutionary technologies seem to come along every 100 years, and by then, no one from the previous social revolution is around to realize that this fear of innovation is natural and will pass.

There has been plenty of innovation since the last big one, the automobile, but those have all been building upon the same principles without asking for radical change. The phonograph built upon live music, the CD built on the record, and the MP3 built on the CD, but the same concept of listening to music remained. Sure, some people still prefer vinyl, but the MP3 did not take anyone out of their comfort zone.

The car forced people to abandon everything they knew about getting around town. However, unlike social media, the car was originally a vehicle for the rich, a fad that proved its staying power by just being more efficient than the horse and buggy. Though cars had been on the road since the turn of the century, it wasn’t until the Model T in 1927 that made them affordable for the average American. People had time to adapt. Social media differs from this because the change has been almost overnight in comparison and everyone has had the capacity (in the form of personal computers) to participate since day one. There has been no test period by a select, upper-class minority.

This rapid, 180-degree change is what makes people uncomfortable. As Clay Shirky writes, “when someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution.” Social media is more efficient means to communicate, but it is new and scary.

In the way that some groups still haven’t embraced the car (I’m thinking of the Amish), some people will never embrace social media and web 2.0, and our children and our children’s children will look upon these neo-luddites with the same patronizing scorn. People probably won’t buy billboards or other relics of traditional advertising on the side of the road like fruit pies and wooden furniture, but just like there are niches in society for every interest, there will be enclaves of people getting by without Twitter.

However, most detractors will wait until social media proves its worth before they jump aboard. To be honest, I am willing to give them that: not everyone has faith that social media is the future of marketing, communication and life as a whole. I can respect this view even if I don’t believe it myself.

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