I don't think social media is a fad. I believe it is here to stay but to say it is the biggest shift since the industrial revolution is taking it a bit far. Social media is an extremely convenient way to stay in touch with a large number of people. In fact social media makes this task very easy, think about how you would communicate with twenty of your friends in just one day without the use of social media. For most people I think that would be challenging.
Personally I believe that the introduction of the internet was a bigger shift in how society operates then social media is. I don't say that to down play the effect of social media on society. In just the last few years we witnessed the power of social media in gathering support for different movements all around the world. Movements like the rebellion in Egypt used social media to rally huge protests that eventually led to the over throwing of an autocratic government. In North America social media plays an important role in modern commerce and politics. Even the lowest level local politician knows that he/she must make use of social media as it can be the deciding factor in gaining support. Companies have realized the importance of marketing their products and services over social media. Traders in the stock market have poured billions of dollars worth of investment into social media companies like Facebook and Twitter, in the hopes that these companies will find a way to monetize their social media platforms in the future.
In conclusion social media is more then a fad, but I believe other things have had larger impacts on our society since the industrial revolution. Inventions such as the internet have drastically changed the way we exchange information and interact in commerce, without this invention I don't believe social media as we know it would be possible.