If you are reading this then the chances are you use a telephone and Facebook. It is common knowledge that both these inventions have over the years revolutionised the way in which society have been able to communicate, but which do you think has had the biggest impact on society?

Alexander Graham Bell patented the first telephone in 1876. It was a truly groundbreaking invention that allowed people to communicate for the first time over large distances without having to use a messenger or mail. Having succeeded in this invention, Bell cannot have imagined how much the telephone would impact and change society in future years to come.

It wasn’t until nearly one hundred years later however that the telephone was used on the scale that we are used to today having its big impact on society. Facebook was founded by college student Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 and like Bell, he cannot have imagined the impact his invention would have on society, however Facebook was an instant hit turning from a communication tool for just his college campus to a global phenomenon. The telephone’s impact on society was relatively slow with only the rich affording a handset for many years. Compare this to Facebook’s current 1,110,000,000 active users in just 9 years who are all using the social media tool for free and you have to say that Facebook has all ready changed society dramatically.

Before the invention of the telephone, people would fear travelling large distances or emigrating to a different country as they would dread not being able to communicate with family and friends. The telephone changed this. Before the telephone, society was far more local and people would talk and pass on messages within communities and groups of friends. Facebook has now fantastically allowed people to instantly communicate with any user no matter where they are on the planet. The planet has shrunk as a result. We can now find our long lost friend who has moved to Australia and stay in touch for years to come without any chance of losing them again thanks to Facebook.

But is modern day society now far less interested in socialising with people around us and our neighbours due to Facebook? Without even having to talk to your neighbour, you can check out their profile on Facebook and find out everything you want to know. Is this lack of privacy a danger? Facebook does however give many people a sense of security knowing that all their friends and family are squashed into the digital device in their pocket or bag.

The invention of the telephone allowed people to make plans with one another no matter where they were or warn someone of danger. Progressing further, Facebook has allowed whole groups of people to be informed of a plan or piece of information within seconds making a message spread instantly to a vast number of relevant recipients. In the case of an emergency, this vast speed of Facebook communication could save lives as society can react much faster in comparison to making a telephone call. An example of how society has utilised this is for example putting all lost possessions after a natural disaster on a Facebook group for people to view, communicate and try and recover. An example like this would be simply impossible using the telephone.

Facebook has literally created a whole new business market given the exposure it generates to consumers and the way in which society uses it to interact and communicate. Social media marketing is now big business and Facebook is the leading platform to use. The telephone also instantly changed the global business model as business could now be done all over the planet. Once again its growth and impact on society was much slower than that of Facebook however which has been more revolutionary?

Try going without a telephone or Facebook for any period of time and you will notice a sense of instant anxiety and you are not alone with this feeling, all of society is in the same situation. We have become dependent on them. These two inventions have changed society for ever and the way in which we cope with everyday life. All I can say is that with the telephone now becoming used less widely as the primary source of social communication, and social media platforms such as Facebook becoming more prominent, who knows what is coming next.

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