I currently teach grade 5 where all of the students are too young to legitimately hold a Facebook account, and most are not allowed on other social media apps. That said, they are very proficient at texting each other and using chat features of the different online games they play (Animal Jam, Club Penguin, etc.) Personally, social media has not changed the dynamic in the classroom, although if more kids were allowed on social media, I have no doubt that it would.
To answer the first question, I feel that social media has cheapened the communication I have with others. Rarely now do people “wait to tell something important that happened to them”, but rather post it to Facebook, let the whole world know and glean a few likes. The same goes for texting with those people that are closer to us. We can share any silly thought that crosses our mind instantaneously. Thoughts that we wouldn’t have shared 10 years ago as we probably would have forgotten them by the time we actually got to have a meaningful conversation with a specific person. While I am weary of oversharing in text and social media, I often see others on Facebook who share seemingly ever detail about their lives. Details that often might be better reserved for family members of close friends, and shared in person.
I see venture opportunities in remote towns and countries with internet access issues. However, I see this market having a fairly short shelf life as a number of tech giants are now focusing on getting better internet access to those without it. I would predict that with advances in technology and different private business initiatives that ‘intranet’ focused learning ventures could be profitable for the next 5 years, and expire after that.