Facebook is a social media site which was inspired by the concept of college yearbooks. In college yearbooks, pictures and names of students are nicely arranged by classes, with details of student’s involvement in extra-cirricular activities being neatly added in too. Facebook takes this to a whole new level, assembling more than these basic information into an online profile.
The cultural significance of assembling pictures, stickers, trinkets and other personal touches in scrapbooks, and of assembling pictures and details in yearbooks are the same; for individuals to be able to hold on to a memory and keep in touch with people/memories of their past. It is almost a platform to mark and chronicle milestones of a person’s life journey. That was the same cultural significance that Facebook used to hold. Now, it is so much more than that.
Facebook has evolved to including not just pictures, videos, statuses and other types of wall post, it also includes access to virtual games. This ever-increasing assembly of social components on Facebook increases the cultural significance from being an interactive social platform to being an all-rounded platform of information on individuals, on top of social interaction.
The same can be said for other social media platforms, as they start to offer options to interlink and be interconnected. Although there are more and more components being added to the mix, the lack of any component does not take anything away from the construction of one’s online identity. In this aspect, no other type of products and their evolution could ever be likened to social media or scrapbooks.
Social media sites may generate an online “identity” for an individual, with the production process being posts + pictures + interactions + other linked applications = identity. However, any missing component does not “subtract” an individual’s online identity, merely making it a less complete picture. For any other socially-based products, such as the Sony Walkman or MP3 players, any missing component from the production would cause a complete malfunction. Even for a college yearbook, any missing step from the production process would render it useless. (For example, names without pictures, or lack of extra-cirricular data)