The Evolution of a Social (Media) Being
First came survival, then came Facebook. Kidding, but intricate social networks originated in an offline evolution which informs our current use of technology.
Sharing food, caring for infants and building social networks were group activities necessary to meet the challenges of our harsh environments. Additionally, as our evolutionary precursors began to cook food they established the routine of gathering around a fire, an act which is speculated to have sped up our socialization. What’s for sure is that identifiable advancements in social relationships are seen in the communal shelters and shared tools evidenced by the findings of archaeologists. Was that a quick enough history lesson? In short, the social lives of ancient humans were becoming more and more complex, and this complexity required an increased acuity to the emotions and messages employed by others. It’s important to remember that in order for us to make proper decisions, there has to be a level of trust between individuals. It’s interesting then that we relegate validation of others to the snap judgements our minds make for us. We make these snap judgements about our social surroundings all the time, a fact taken into account by the masters of the ‘net.
There’s obviously a lot more going on here than can be contained in just one paragraph, but the takeaway is that there is a far greater deal of complexity in the social applications of our online world than the casual surfer may notice. Any website with a review can be thought of as an expansion of our social network because of the ways in which this information is filtered and applied by our highly social brains. We are wired to fit and belong; testimonials and reviews are an amazing example of this wiring and the influences our social biology brings to our everyday browsing of “non-social” sites.