From its start with AOL and CompuServe to today's LinkedIn and Facebook, what twists and turns will social media now take with the onset of the Internet of Things?
Back about 25 years ago, many of us relied on America Online to access the internet and communicate with others. Those who were more computer-savvy used CompuServe or some other provider because they felt AOL was too restrictive.
AOL evolved with the times and brought us instant messaging. Wasn’t that cool? But as new concepts emerged, AOL was nearly left behind. I say nearly, because it’s still around. Then came MySpace.com, which was dedicated to social media. However, I don’t think the term “social media” was even used back then. MySpace became the rage with the younger crowd, and adults eventually were attracted to Facebook. I even remember friends grumbling that kids shouldn’t be on Facebook, that they should stay on MySpace.
Social media was not widely used for business back then. In fact, most companies did not host their own websites. Company officials knew they needed websites, but they didn’t have the resources to make it happen. Instead, they contracted with a web hosting company. As a result, most companies did not have a url like "www.abcco.com." Instead, it was probably www.thomasnet.com/abcco or www.industrynet.com/abcco—at least those are two major players I remember.
Now, of course, people have several choices for social media. LinkedIn seems to be the preferred vehicle for networking among professionals, and our Hydraulics & Pneumatics LinkedIn group has more than 18,000 members (to be exact, 18,027 as of this writing).
That’s where we are today, this moment in time. But where will we be 10 or 15 years from now? The answer may depend on where the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 take us. It seems as if the questions about these topics vastly outnumber the answers.
But if you have any interest in the Internet of Things—or its close cousin, Industry 4.0—I recommend you visit the Internet of Things Institute. You might even find the answers to a few questions there.
Looking for parts? Go to SourceESB.