Social media sites depend on server power; more and more, that server power is migrating to the cloud. Cloud computing requires large scale data centres that provide storage and computing power as a service.
Here’s a YouTube video that makes cloud computing a bit more down-to-earth by providing a virtual tour of Microsoft cloud computing data centres.
The Microsoft cloud hosts MSN, Hotmail, Bing, Xbox Live, and many more Microsoft products. With the start of Microsoft 365, users can purchase their own space in the cloud.
Google has its own cloud supported by different data centres. Google products like Google Docs, Google+, Google Reader, Gmail, Picasa, and YouTube are hosted on these Google servers. For comparison purposes, here is another YouTube video of a Google-run data centre:
What implications does cloud computing have for social media?
The concept behind the cloud is centralized computing that allows decentralized access. The cloud allows files and programs to be accessible from anywhere in the world, on any computer or mobile device, via the internet. This has had a freeing affect on social media. Social media online applications have had more developmental possibilities because cloud computing has the option to make “technology not required”. That slogan isn’t completely true of course, but as long as the user has a basic, current browser and computer set-up, the rest of the technology is provided by the cloud. There is often no longer any need to download additional applications or store data on the users personal computer because it is all hosted in the cloud.
Some other resulting effects of social media drawing on the applications and data stored in the cloud have been:
- Increased accessibility and user appeal
- Decreased barriers to social media
- Privacy concerns
In short, the cloud has been and will be an enabler of social media growth, with its cheap storage and processing power.