On February 4th, 2004, a sophomore at Harvard University by the name of Mark Zuckerberg launched TheFacebook. At the time, the social networking website was limited to only students at Harvard. And while other social networking platforms like MySpace and Friendster predated the launch of Facebook, it was that February day in Cambridge, Massachusetts that the age of social media was truly born.
Today, Facebook boasts 2.5 billion active users, is available in 111 languages, and is the 4th most trafficked website in the world. And from there, other platforms followed: Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, Pintrest and, most recently, TikTok.
While these platforms were launched with a promise of connecting the entire world together in conversation, today they also have a reputation for fostering hate, animosity, vitriol, conspiracy mongering, outrage mobs and a litany of other negative societal impacts.
Does social media have to be this way? Or can we be better?
In this episode, Daniel Darling, Senior Vice President for Communications at National Religious Broadcasters and author of the new book A Way With Words, discusses the promise of social media, where it went wrong, what our social media habits say about us, and how we can use our online conversations for good.