Social media are interactive computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks. The variety of stand-alone and built-in social media services currently available introduces challenges of definition; however, there are some common features:
Users usually access social media services via web-based technologies on desktops and laptops, or download services that offer social media functionality to their mobile devices (e.g., smartphones and tablets). As users engage with these electronic services, they create highly interactive platforms through which individuals, communities, and organizations can share, co-create, discuss, participate and modify user-generated content or self-curated content posted online.
Networks formed through social media change the way groups of people interact and communicate or stand with the votes.
Observers have noted a range of positive and negative impacts of social media use.
Social media may have roots in the 1840s introduction of the telegraph, which connected the United States. The PLATO system launched in 1960, which was developed at the University of Illinois and subsequently commercially marketed by Control Data Corporation, offered early forms of social media features with 1973-era innovations such as Notes, PLATO's message-forum application; TERM-talk, its instant-messaging feature; Talkomatic, perhaps the first online chat room; News Report, a crowd-sourced online newspaper and blog; and Access Lists, enabling the owner of a note file or other application to limit access to a certain set of users, for example, only friends, classmates, or co-workers.
ARPANET, which first came online in 1967, had by the late 1970s developed a rich cultural exchange of non-government/business ideas and communication, as evidenced by the network etiquette (or "netiquette") described in a 1982 handbook on computing at MIT's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. ARPANET evolved into the Internet following the publication of the first TCP specification, RFC 675  (Specification of Internet Transmission Control Program), written by Vint Cerf, Yogen Dalal and Carl Sunshine in 1974. This became the foundation of Usenet, conceived by Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis in 1979 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University, and established in 1980.
A precursor of the electronic bulletin board system (BBS), known as Community Memory, had already appeared by 1973. True electronic bulletin board systems arrived with the Computer Bulletin Board System in Chicago, which first came online on February 16, 1978. Before long, most major cities had more than one BBS running on TRS-80, Apple II, Atari, IBM PC, Commodore 64, Sinclair, and similar personal computers. The IBM PC was introduced in 1981, and subsequent models of both Mac computers and PCs were used throughout the 1980s. Multiple modems, followed by specialized telecommunication hardware, allowed many users to be online simultaneously. Compuserve, Prodigy and AOL were three of the largest BBS companies and were the first to migrate to the Internet in the 1990s. Between the mid-1980s and the mid-1990s, BBSes numbered in the tens of thousands in North America alone. Message forums (a specific structure of social media) arose with the BBS phenomenon throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. When the Internet proliferated with the World Wide Web (WWW) in the mid-1990s, message forums migrated online, becoming Internet forums, primarily due to cheaper per-person access as well as the ability to handle far more people simultaneously than telco modem banks.
An important feature of social media is digital media data compression, due to the impractically high memory and bandwidth requirements of uncompressed media. The most important compression algorithm is the discrete cosine transform (DCT), a lossy compression technique that was first proposed by Nasir Ahmed in 1972. DCT-based compression standards include the H.26x and MPEG video coding standards introduced from 1988 onwards, and the JPEG image compression standard introduced in 1992. JPEG was largely responsible for the proliferation of digital images and digital photos which lie at the heart of social media, and the MPEG standards did the same for digital video content on social media. The JPEG image format is used more than a billion times on social networks every day, as of 2014.
GeoCities was one of the Internet's earliest social networking websites, appearing in November 1994, followed by Classmates in December 1995 and Six Degrees in May 1997. According to CBS news, Six Degrees is "widely considered to be the very first social networking site", as it included "profiles, friends lists and school affiliations" that could be used by registered users. Open Diary was launched in October 1998; LiveJournal in April 1999; Ryze in October 2001; Friendster in March 2002; the corporate and job-oriented site LinkedIn in May 2003; hi5 in June 2003; MySpace in August 2003; Orkut in January 2004; Facebook in February 2004; Yahoo! 360° in March 2005; Bebo in July 2005; the text-based service Twitter, in which posts, called "tweets", were limited to 140 characters, in July 2006; Tumblr in February 2007; and Google+ in July 2011.
Definition and classification
The variety of evolving stand-alone and built-in social media services makes it challenging to define them. However, marketing and social media experts broadly agree that social media includes the following 13 types of social media:
- business networks,
- collaborative projects,
- enterprise social networks,
- photo sharing,
- products/services review,
- social bookmarking,
- social gaming,
- social networks,
- video sharing, and
- virtual worlds.
The idea that social media are defined simply by their ability to bring people together has been seen as too broad, as this would suggest that fundamentally different technologies like the telegraph and telephone are also social media. The terminology is unclear, with some early researchers referring to social media as social networks or social networking services in the mid 2000s. A more recent paper from 2015 reviewed the prominent literature in the area and identified four common features unique to then-current social media services:
In 2019, Merriam-Webster defined "social media" as "forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos)"
The development of social media started off with simple platforms such as sixdegrees.com. Unlike instant messaging clients, such as ICQ and AOL's AIM, or chat clients like IRC, iChat or Chat Television, sixdegrees.com was the first online business that was created for real people, using their real names. The first social networks were short-lived, however, because their users lost interest. The Social Network Revolution has led to the rise of networking sites. Research shows that the audience spends 22% of their time on social networks, thus proving how popular social media platforms have become. This increase is because of the widespread daily use of smartphones. Social media are used to document memories, learn about and explore things, advertise oneself and form friendships as well as the growth of ideas from the creation of blogs, podcasts, videos, and gaming sites. Networked individuals create, edit, and manage content in collaboration with other networked individuals. This way they contribute to expanding knowledge. Wikis are examples of collaborative content creation.
Mobile social media refer to the use of social media on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. Mobile social media are a useful application of mobile marketing because the creation, exchange, and circulation of user-generated content can assist companies with marketing research, communication, and relationship development. Mobile social media differ from others because they incorporate the current location of the user (location-sensitivity) or the time delay between sending and receiving messages (time-sensitivity). According to Andreas Kaplan, mobile social media applications can be differentiated among four types:
Elements and function
Some social media sites have potential for content posted there to spread virally over social networks. The term is an analogy to the concept of viral infections, which can spread rapidly from person to person. In a social media context, content or websites that are "viral" (or which "go viral") are those with a greater likelihood that users will reshare content posted (by another user) to their social network, leading to further sharing. In some cases, posts containing popular content or fast-breaking news have been rapidly shared and reshared by a huge number of users. Many social media sites provide specific functionality to help users reshare content, such as Twitter's retweet button, Pinterest's pin function, Facebook's share option or Tumblr's reblog function. Businesses have a particular interest in viral marketing tactics because a viral campaign can achieve widespread advertising coverage (particularly if the viral reposting itself makes the news) for a fraction of the cost of a traditional marketing campaign, which typically uses printed materials, like newspapers, magazines, mailings, and billboards, and television and radio commercials. Nonprofit organizations and activists may have similar interests in posting content on social media sites with the aim of it going viral. A popular component and feature of Twitter are retweeting. Twitter allows other people to keep up with important events, stay connected with their peers, and can contribute in various ways throughout social media. When certain posts become popular, they start to get retweeted over and over again, becoming viral. Hashtags can be used in tweets, and can also be used to take count of how many people have used that hashtag.
"Cyborgs", a combination of a human and a bot, are used to spread fake news or create a marketing "buzz". Cyborgs can be bot-assisted humans or human-assisted bots. An example is a human who registers an account for which they set automated programs to post, for instance, tweets, during their absence.<, From time to time, the human participates to tweet and interact with friends. Cyborgs make it easier to spread fake news, as it blends automated activity with human input. When the automated accounts are publicly identified, the human part of the cyborg is able to take over and could protest that the account has been used manually all along. Such accounts try to pose as real people; in particular, the number of their friends or followers should be resembling that of a real person.
There has been rapid growth in the number of U.S. patent applications that cover new technologies related to social media, and the number of them that are published has been growing rapidly over the past five years.
Statistics on usage and membership
According to Statista, in 2019, it is estimated that there will be around 2.77 billion social media users around the globe, up from 2.46 billion in 2017.
The following list of the leading social networks shows the number of active users as of July 2019.
According to a survey conducted by Pew Research in 2018, Facebook and YouTube dominate the social media landscape, as notable majorities of U.S. adults use each of these sites.
Use by organizations
Governments may use social media to (for example):
- interact with citizens
- foster citizen participation
- further open government
- analyze/monitor public opinion and activities
Marketplace actors can use social-media tools for marketing research, communication, sales promotions/discounts, informal employee-learning/organizational development, relationship development/loyalty programs, and e-Commerce. Often social media can become a good source of information and/or explanation of industry trends for a business to embrace change. Trends in social-media technology and usage change rapidly, making it crucial for businesses to have a set of guidelines that can apply to many social media platforms.
Companies are increasingly using social-media monitoring tools to monitor, track, and analyze online conversations on the Web about their brand or products or about related topics of interest. This can prove useful in public relations management and advertising-campaign tracking, allowing analysts to measure return on investment for their social media ad spending, competitor-auditing, and for public engagement. Tools range from free, basic applications to subscription-based, more in-depth tools.
Social media becomes effective through a process called "building social authority". One of the foundation concepts in social media has become that one cannot completely control one's message through social media but rather one can simply begin to participate in the "conversation" expecting that one can achieve a significant influence in that conversation.
Social media has a range of uses in political processes and activities.
Younger generations are becoming more involved in politics due to the increase of political news posted on social media.
One challenge is that militant groups have begun to see social media as a major organizing and recruiting tool. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIL, ISIS, and Daesh, has used social media to promote its cause. ISIS produces an online magazine named the Islamic State Report to recruit more fighters. Social media platforms have been weaponized by state-sponsored cyber groups to attack governments in the United States, European Union, and Middle East. Although phishing attacks via email are the most commonly used tactic to breach government networks, phishing attacks on social media rose 500% in 2016.
Some employers examine job applicants' social media profiles as part of the hiring assessment.
It is not only an issue in the workplace but an issue in post-secondary school admissions as well.
Before social media, admissions officials in the United States used SAT and other standardized test scores, extra-curricular activities, letters of recommendation, and high school report cards to determine whether to accept or deny an applicant. In the 2010s, while colleges and universities still use these traditional methods to evaluate applicants, these institutions are increasingly accessing applicants' social media profiles to learn about their character and activities. According to Kaplan, Inc, a corporation that provides higher education preparation, in 2012 27% of admissions officers used Google to learn more about an applicant, with 26% checking Facebook. Students whose social media pages include offensive jokes or photos, racist or homophobic comments, photos depicting the applicant engaging in illegal drug use or drunkenness, and so on, may be screened out from admission processes.
Social media have been used to assist in searches for missing persons.
Social media comments and images are being used in a range of court cases including employment law, child custody/child support and insurance disability claims.
Courts do not always admit social media evidence, in part because screenshots can be faked or tampered with. Judges are taking emojis into account to assess statements made on social media; in one Michigan case where a person alleged that another person had defamed them in an online comment, the judge disagreed, noting that there was an emoji after the comment which indicated that it was a joke. In a 2014 case in Ontario against a police officer regarding alleged assault of a protester during the G20 summit, the court rejected the Crown's application to use a digital photo of the protest that was anonymously posted online, because there was no metadata proving when the photo was taken and it could have been digitally altered.
Social media marketing has increased due to the growing active user rates on social media sites.
Social media personalities have been employed by marketers to promote products online. Research shows that digital endorsements seem to be successfully targeting social media users, especially younger consumers who have grown up in the digital age. Celebrities with large social media followings, such as Kylie Jenner, regularly endorse products to their followers on their social media pages. In 2013, the United Kingdom Advertising Standards Authority ( ASA) began to advise celebrities and sports stars to make it clear if they had been paid to tweet about a product or service by using the hashtag #spon or #ad within tweets containing endorsements. The practice of harnessing social media personalities to market or promote a product or service to their following is commonly referred to as Influencer Marketing. The Cambridge Dictionary defines an "influencer" as any person (personality, blogger, journalist, celebrity) who has the ability to affect the opinions, behaviors, or purchases of others through the use of social media.
Companies such as fast food franchise Wendy's have used humor to advertise their products by poking fun at competitors such as McDonald's and Burger King. Other companies such as Juul have used hashtags to promote themselves and their products.
On social media, consumers are exposed to the purchasing practices of peers through messages from a peer's account, which may be peer-written.
Signals from social media are used to assess academic publications, as well as for evaluation of the quality of the Wikipedia articles and their sources. Data from social media can be also used for different scientific approaches. One of the studies examined how millions of users interact with socially shared news and show that individuals’ choices played a stronger role in limiting exposure to cross-cutting content. Another study found that most of the health science students acquiring academic materials from others through social media. Massive amounts of data from social platforms allows scientists and machine learning researchers to extract insights and build product features. Using social media can help to shape patterns of deception in resumes.
Use by individuals
In the United States, 81% of look online for news of the weather, first and foremost, with the percentage seeking national news at 73%, 52% for sports news, and 41% for entertainment or celebrity news.
News media and television journalism have been a key feature in the shaping of American collective memory for much of the twentieth century. Indeed, since the United States' colonial era, news media has influenced collective memory and discourse about national development and trauma. In many ways, mainstream journalists have maintained an authoritative voice as the storytellers of the American past. Their documentary style narratives, detailed exposes, and their positions in the present make them prime sources for public memory. Specifically, news media journalists have shaped collective memory on nearly every major national event – from the deaths of social and political figures to the progression of political hopefuls. Journalists provide elaborate descriptions of commemorative events in U.S. history and contemporary popular cultural sensations. Many Americans learn the significance of historical events and political issues through news media, as they are presented on popular news stations. However, journalistic influence is growing less important, whereas social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, provide a constant supply of alternative news sources for users.
As social networking becomes more popular among older and younger generations, sites such as Facebook and YouTube, gradually undermine the traditionally authoritative voices of news media. For example, American citizens contest media coverage of various social and political events as they see fit, inserting their voices into the narratives about America's past and present and shaping their own collective memories. An example of this is the public explosion of the Trayvon Martin shooting in Sanford, Florida. News media coverage of the incident was minimal until social media users made the story recognizable through their constant discussion of the case. Approximately one month after the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, its online coverage by everyday Americans garnered national attention from mainstream media journalists, in turn exemplifying media activism. In some ways, the spread of this tragic event through alternative news sources parallels that of Emmitt Till – whose murder by lynching in 1955 became a national story after it was circulated in African-American and Communist newspapers.
Social media is used to fulfill perceived social needs, but not all needs can be fulfilled by social media. For example, lonely individuals are more likely to use the Internet for emotional support than those who are not lonely. Sherry Turkle explores these issues in her book Alone Together as she discusses how people confuse social media usage with authentic communication. She posits that people tend to act differently online and are less afraid to hurt each other's feelings. Additionally, studies on who interacts on the internet have shown that extraversion and openness have a positive relationship with social media, while emotional stability has a negative sloping relationship with social media.
Some online behaviors can cause stress and anxiety, due to the permanence of online posts, the fear of being hacked, or of universities and employers exploring social media pages.
Checking updates on friends' activities on social media is associated with the "fear of missing out" (FOMO), the "pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent". FOMO is a social anxiety characterized by "a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing". It has negative influences on people's psychological health and well-being because it could contribute to negative mood and depressed feelings.
Concerns have been raised about online "stalking" or "creeping" of people on social media, which means looking at the person's "timeline, status updates, tweets, and online bios" to find information about them and their activities. While social media creeping is common, it is considered to be poor form to admit to a new acquaintance or new date that you have looked through his or her social media posts, particularly older posts, as this will indicate that you were going through their old history. A sub-category of creeping is creeping ex-partners' social media posts after a breakup to investigate if there is a new partner or new dating; this can lead to preoccupation with the ex, rumination and negative feelings, all of which postpone recovery and increase feelings of loss. Catfishing has become more prevalent since the advent of social media. Relationships formed with catfish can lead to actions such as supporting them with money and catfish will typically make excuses as to why they cannot meet up or be viewed on camera.
According to research from UCLA, teenage brains' reward circuits were more active when teenager's photos were liked by more peers.
The more time people spend on Facebook, the less satisfied they feel about their life. Self-presentational theory explains that people will consciously manage their self-image or identity related information in social contexts.
Users also tend to segment their audiences based on the image they want to present, pseudonymity and use of multiple accounts across the same platform remain popular ways to negotiate platform expectations and segment audiences.
Social media can also function as a supportive system for adolescents' health, because by using social media, adolescents are able to mobilize around health issues that they themselves deem relevant. For example, in a clinical study among adolescent patients undergoing treatment for obesity, the participants' expressed that through social media, they could find personalized weight-loss content as well as social support among other adolescents with obesity The same authors also found that as with other types of online information, the adolescents need to possess necessary skills to evaluate and identify reliable health information, competencies commonly known as health literacy.
Other social media, such as pro-anorexia sites, have been found in studies to cause significant risk of harm by reinforcing negative health-related behaviors through social networking, especially in adolescents.
The digital divide is a measure of disparity in the level of access to technology between households, socioeconomic levels or other demographic categories. People who are homeless, living in poverty, elderly people and those living in rural or remote communities may have little or no access to computers and the Internet; in contrast, middle class and upper-class people in urban areas have very high rates of computer and Internet access. Other models argue that within a modern information society, some individuals produce Internet content while others only consume it, which could be a result of disparities in the education system where only some teachers integrate technology into the classroom and teach critical thinking. While social media has differences among age groups, a 2010 study in the United States found no racial divide. Some zero-rating programs offer subsidized data access to certain websites on low-cost plans. Critics say that this is an anti-competitive program that undermines net neutrality and creates a "walled garden" for platforms like Facebook Zero. A 2015 study found that 65% of Nigerians, 61% of Indonesians, and 58% of Indians agree with the statement that "Facebook is the Internet" compared with only 5% in the US.
Eric Ehrmann contends that social media in the form of public diplomacy create a patina of inclusiveness that covers traditional economic interests that are structured to ensure that wealth is pumped up to the top of the economic pyramid, perpetuating the digital divide and post Marxian class conflict. He also voices concern over the trend that finds social utilities operating in a quasi-libertarian global environment of oligopoly that requires users in economically challenged nations to spend high percentages of annual income to pay for devices and services to participate in the social media lifestyle. Neil Postman also contends that social media will increase an information disparity between "winners" – who are able to use the social media actively – and "losers" – who are not familiar with modern technologies or who do not have access to them. People with high social media skills may have better access to information about job opportunities, potential new friends, and social activities in their area, which may enable them to improve their standard of living and their quality of life.
According to the Pew Research Center, a majority of Americans at least occasionally receive news from social media. Because of algorithms on social media which filter and display news content which are likely to match their users’ political preferences, a potential impact of receiving news from social media includes an increase in political polarization due to selective exposure. Political polarization refers to when an individual's stance on a topic is more likely to be strictly defined by their identification with a specific political party or ideology than on other factors. Selective exposure occurs when an individual favors information which supports their beliefs and avoids information which conflicts with their beliefs. A study by Hayat and Samuel-Azran conducted during the 2016 U.S. presidential election observed an “echo chamber” effect of selective exposure among 27,811 Twitter users following the content of cable news shows. The Twitter users observed in the study were found to have little interaction with users and content whose beliefs were different from their own, possibly heightening polarization effects.
Efforts to combat selective exposure in social media may also cause an increase in political polarization. A study examining Twitter activity conducted by Bail et al. paid Democrat and Republican participants to follow Twitter handles whose content was different from their political beliefs (Republicans received liberal content and Democrats received conservative content) over a six-week period. At the end of the study, both Democrat and Republican participants were found to have increased political polarization in favor of their own parties, though only Republican participants had an increase that was statistically significant.
Though research has shown evidence that social media plays a role in increasing political polarization, it has also shown evidence that social media use leads to a persuasion of political beliefs. An online survey consisting of 1,024 U.S. participants was conducted by Diehl, Weeks, and Gil de Zuñiga, which found that individuals who use social media were more likely to have their political beliefs persuaded than those who did not. In particular, those using social media as a means to receive their news were the most likely to have their political beliefs changed. Diehl et al. found that the persuasion reported by participants was influenced by the exposure to diverse viewpoints they experienced, both in the content they saw as well as the political discussions they participated in. Similarly, a study by Hardy and colleagues conducted with 189 students from a Midwestern state university examined the persuasive effect of watching a political comedy video on Facebook. Hardy et al. found that after watching a Facebook video of the comedian/political commentator John Oliver performing a segment on his show, participants were likely to be persuaded to change their viewpoint on the topic they watched (either payday lending or the Ferguson protests) to one that was closer to the opinion expressed by Oliver. Furthermore, the persuasion experienced by the participants was found to be reduced if they viewed comments by Facebook users which contradicted the arguments made by Oliver.
Research has also shown that social media use may not have an effect on polarization at all. A U.S. national survey of 1,032 participants conducted by Lee et al. found that participants who used social media were more likely to be exposed to a diverse number of people and amount of opinion than those who did not, although using social media was not correlated with a change in political polarization for these participants.
In a study examining the potential polarizing effects of social media on the political views of its users, Mihailidis and Viotty suggest that a new way of engaging with social media must occur to avoid polarization. The authors note that media literacies (described as methods which give people skills to critique and create media) are important to using social media in a responsible and productive way, and state that these literacies must be changed further in order to have the most effectiveness. In order to decrease polarization and encourage cooperation among social media users, Mihailidis and Viotty suggest that media literacies must focus on teaching individuals how to connect with other people in a caring way, embrace differences, and understand the ways in which social media has a realistic impact on the political, social, and cultural issues of the society they are a part of.
Recent research has demonstrated that social media, and media in general, have the power to increase the scope of stereotypes not only in children but people all ages. Three researchers at Blanquerna University, Spain, examined how adolescents interact with social media and specifically Facebook.
According to writer Christine Rosen in "Virtual Friendship, and the New Narcissism," many social media sites encourage status-seeking. According to Rosen, the practice and definition of "friendship" changes in virtuality.
There are several negative effects to social media which receive criticism, for example regarding privacy issues, information overload and Internet fraud. Social media can also have negative social effects on users. Angry or emotional conversations can lead to real-world interactions outside of the Internet, which can get users into dangerous situations. Some users have experienced threats of violence online and have feared these threats manifesting themselves offline. At the same time, concerns have been raised about possible links between heavy social media use and depression, and even the issues of cyberbullying, online harassment and "trolling". According to cyber bullying statistics from the i-Safe Foundation, over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying. Both the bully and the victim are negatively affected, and the intensity, duration, and frequency of bullying are the three aspects that increase the negative effects on both of them. Studies also show that social media have negative effects on peoples' self-esteem and self-worth. The authors of "Who Compares and Despairs? The Effect of Social Comparison Orientation on Social Media Use and its Outcomes" found that people with a higher social comparison orientation appear to use social media more heavily than people with low social comparison orientation. This finding was consistent with other studies that found people with high social comparison orientation make more social comparisons once on social media.
People compare their own lives to the lives of their friends through their friends' posts.
Studies have shown that self comparison on social media can have dire effects on physical and mental health because they give us the ability to seek approval and compare ourselves. Social media has both a practical usage- to connect us with others, but also can lead to fulfillment of gratification. In fact, one study suggests that because a critical aspect of social networking sites involve spending hours, if not months customizing a personal profile, and encourage a sort of social currency based on likes, followers and comments- they provide a forum for persistent "appearance conversations". These appearance centered conversations that forums like Facebook, Instagram among others provide can lead to feelings of disappointment in looks and personality when not enough likes or comments are achieved. In addition, social media use can lead to detrimental physical health effects. A large body of literature associates body image and disordered eating with social networking platforms. Specifically, literature suggests that social media can breed a negative feedback loop of viewing and uploading photos, self comparison, feelings of disappointment when perceived social success is not achieved, and disordered body perception. In fact, one study shows that the microblogging platform, Pinterest is directly associated with disordered dieting behavior, indicating that for those who frequently look at exercise or dieting "pins" there is a greater chance that they will engage in extreme weight-loss and dieting behavior.
Bo Han, a social media researcher at Texas A&M University-Commerce, finds that users are likely to experience the "social media burnout" issue. Ambivalence, emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization are usually the main symptoms if a user experiences social media burnout.
Excessive use of digital technology, like social media, by adolescents can cause disruptions in their physical and mental health, in sleeping patterns, their weight and levels of exercise and notably in their academic performance.
According to a study released in 2017 by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, the link between sleep disturbance and the use of social media was clear. It concluded that blue light had a part to play—and how often they logged on, rather than time spent on social media sites, was a higher predictor of disturbed sleep, suggesting "an obsessive 'checking'". The strong relationship of social media use and sleep disturbance has significant clinical ramifications for a young adults health and well-being. In a recent study, we have learned that people in the highest quartile for social media use per week report the most sleep disturbance. The median number of minutes of social media use per day is 61 minutes. Lastly, we have learned that females are more inclined to experience high levels of sleep disturbance than males.
Many teenagers suffer from sleep deprivation as they spend long hours at night on their phones, and this, in turn, could affect grades as they will be tired and unfocused in school.
UK researchers used a data set of more than 800 million Twitter messages to evaluate how collective mood changes over the course of 24 hours and across the seasons. The research team collected 800 million anonymous Tweets from 33,576 time points over four years, to examine anger and sadness and compare them with fatigue. The "research revealed strong circadian patterns for both positive and negative moods. The profiles of anger and fatigue were found remarkably stable across the seasons or between the weekdays/weekend." The "positive emotions and sadness showed more variability in response to these changing conditions and higher levels of interaction with the onset of sunlight exposure."
Social media has allowed for mass cultural exchange and intercultural communication.
Social media has affected the way youth communicate, by introducing new forms of language.
Another trend that influences the way youth communicates is (through) the use of hashtags.
Social media has offered a new platform for peer pressure with both positive and negative communication. From Facebook comments to likes on Instagram, how the youth communicate and what is socially acceptable is now heavily based on social media. Social media does make kids and young adults more susceptible to peer pressure. The American Academy of Pediatrics has also shown that bullying, the making of non-inclusive friend groups, and sexual experimentation have increased situations related to cyberbullying, issues with privacy, and the act of sending sexual images or messages to someone's mobile device. On the other hand, social media also benefits the youth and how they communicate. Through the use of social media, kids and young adults are able to keep in touch with friends and family, make more friends, participate in community engagement activities and services, expand on certain ideas with like-minded individuals, and many other countless tasks.
Criticism, debate and controversy
Criticisms of social media range from criticisms of the ease of use of specific platforms and their capabilities, disparity of information available, issues with trustworthiness and reliability of information presented, the impact of social media use on an individual's concentration, ownership of media content, and the meaning of interactions created by social media. Although some social media platforms offer users the opportunity to cross-post simultaneously, some social network platforms have been criticized for poor interoperability between platforms, which leads to the creation of information silos, viz. isolated pockets of data contained in one social media platform. However, it is also argued that social media have positive effects such as allowing the democratization of the Internet while also allowing individuals to advertise themselves and form friendships. Others have noted that the term "social" cannot account for technological features of a platform alone, hence the level of sociability should be determined by the actual performances of its users. There has been a dramatic decrease in face-to-face interactions as more and more social media platforms have been introduced with the threat of cyber-bullying and online sexual predators being more prevalent. Social media may expose children to images of alcohol, tobacco, and sexual behaviors. In regards to cyber-bullying, it has been proven that individuals who have no experience with cyber-bullying often have a better well-being than individuals who have been bullied online.
Twitter is increasingly a target of heavy activity of marketers.
Essena O'Neill attracted international coverage when she explicitly left social media.
There has been speculation that social media has become perceived as a trustworthy source of information by a large number of people.
Evgeny Morozov, a 2009–2010 Yahoo fellow at Georgetown University, contended that information uploaded to Twitter may have little relevance to the masses of people who do not use Twitter. In an article for the magazine Dissent
In contrast, in the United States (where Twitter originated), the social network had 306 million accounts as of 2012. The number of accounts, though sizable in proportion to the U.S. population of 314.7 million in 2012, may not be fairly comparable, since an undisclosed number of Twitter users operate multiple accounts.
Professor Matthew Auer of Bates College casts doubt on the conventional wisdom that social media are open and participatory. He also speculates on the emergence of "anti-social media" used as "instruments of pure control."
On April 10, 2018, in a hearing held in response to revelations of data harvesting by Cambridge Analytica, Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook chief executive, faced questions from senators on a variety of issues, from privacy to the company's business model and the company's mishandling of data. This was Mr. Zuckerberg's first appearance before Congress, prompted by the revelation that Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm linked to the Trump campaign, harvested the data of an estimated 87 million Facebook users to psychologically profile voters during the 2016 election. Zuckerburg was pressed to account for how third-party partners could take data without users’ knowledge. Lawmakers grilled the 33-year-old executive on the proliferation of so-called fake news on Facebook, Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election and censorship of conservative media.
For Malcolm Gladwell, the role of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, in revolutions and protests is overstated. On one hand, social media make it easier for individuals, and in this case activists, to express themselves. On the other hand, it is harder for that expression to have an impact. Gladwell distinguishes between social media activism and high risk activism, which brings real changes. Activism and especially high-risk activism involves strong-tie relationships, hierarchies, coordination, motivation, exposing oneself to high risks, making sacrifices. Gladwell discusses that social media are built around weak ties and he argues that "social networks are effective at increasing participation — by lessening the level of motivation that participation requires". According to him "Facebook activism succeeds not by motivating people to make a real sacrifice, but by motivating them to do the things that people do when they are not motivated enough to make a real sacrifice".
Disputing Gladwell's theory, in the study "Perceptions of Social Media for Politics: Testing the Slacktivism Hypothesis," Kwak and colleagues conducted a survey which found that people who are politically expressive on social media are also more likely to participate in offline political activity.
Social media content is generated through social media interactions done by the users through the site.
Privacy rights advocates warn users on social media about the collection of their personal data. Some information is captured without the user's knowledge or consent through electronic tracking and third party applications. Data may also be collected for law enforcement and governmental purposes, by social media intelligence using data mining techniques. Data and information may also be collected for third party use. When information is shared on social media, that information is no longer private. There have been many cases in which young persons especially, share personal information, which can attract predators. It is very important to monitor what you share, and to be aware of who you could potentially be sharing that information with. Teens especially share significantly more information on the internet now than they have in the past. Teens are much more likely to share their personal information, such as email address, phone number, and school names. Studies suggest that teens are not aware of what they are posting and how much of that information can be accessed by third parties.
There are arguments that "privacy is dead" and that with social media growing more and more, some heavy social media users appear to have become quite unconcerned with privacy.
According to a 2016 article diving into the topic of sharing privately and the effect social media has on expectations of privacy, "1.18 billion people will log into their Facebook accounts, 500 million tweets will be sent, and there will be 95 million photos and videos posted on Instagram" in a day. Much of the privacy concerns individuals face stem from their own posts on a form of social network. Users have the choice to share voluntarily, and has been ingrained into society as routine and normative. Social media is a snapshot of our lives; a community we have created on the behaviors of sharing, posting, liking, and communicating. Sharing has become a phenomenon which social media and networks have uprooted and introduced to the world. The idea of privacy is redundant; once something is posted, its accessibility remains constant even if we select who is potentially able to view it. People desire privacy in some shape or form, yet also contribute to social media, which makes it difficult to maintain privacy. Mills offers options for reform which include copyright and the application of the law of confidence; more radically, a change to the concept of privacy itself.
A 2014 Pew Research Center survey found that 91% of Americans "agree" or "strongly agree" that people have lost control over how personal information is collected and used by all kinds of entities. Some 80% of social media users said they were concerned about advertisers and businesses accessing the data they share on social media platforms, and 64% said the government should do more to regulate advertisers.
According to the wall street journal published on February 17, 2019 According to the UK law, Facebook did not protect certain aspects of the user data.
The commercial development of social media has been criticized as the actions of consumers in these settings has become increasingly value-creating, for example when consumers contribute to the marketing and branding of specific products by posting positive reviews.
As social media usage has become increasingly widespread, social media has to a large extent come to be subjected to commercialization by marketing companies and advertising agencies. Christofer Laurell, a digital marketing researcher, suggested that the social media landscape currently consists of three types of places because of this development: consumer-dominated places, professionally dominated places and places undergoing commercialization. As social media becomes commercialized, this process have been shown to create novel forms of value networks stretching between consumer and producer in which a combination of personal, private and commercial contents are created.
As one of the biggest preoccupations among adolescents is social media usage, researchers have begun using the term "F.A.D.,"
Having social media in the classroom was a controversial topic in the 2010s.
Social media often features in political struggles to control public perception and online activity.
Deplatforming is a form of Internet censorship in which controversial speakers or speech are suspended, banned, or otherwise shut down by social media platforms and other service providers that normally provide a venue for free expression. As early as 2015, platforms such as Reddit began to enforce selective bans based, for example, on terms of service that prohibit "hate speech". According to technology journalist Declan McCullagh, [[LINK|lang_"en|Silicon_Valley|Silicon Valley']] s efforts to pull the plug on dissenting opinions" have included, as of 2018, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube "devising excuses to suspend ideologically disfavored accounts."
Law professor Glenn Reynolds dubbed 2018 the "Year of Deplatforming", in an August 2018 article in The Wall Street Journal. According to Reynolds, in 2018 "the internet giants decided to slam the gates on a number of people and ideas they don't like. If you rely on someone else's platform to express unpopular ideas, especially ideas on the right, you're now at risk." Reynolds cited Alex Jones, Gavin McInnes and Dennis Prager as prominent 2018 victims of deplatforming based on their political views, noting, "Extremists and controversialists on the left have been relatively safe from deplatforming."
- Arab Spring § Social media
- Augmented reality
- Citizen media
- Coke Zero Facial Profiler
- Connectivism (learning theory)
- Connectivity (media)
- Culture jamming
- Human impact of Internet use
- Internet politics
- List of photo sharing websites
- List of video sharing websites
- List of social bookmarking websites
- List of social networking websites
- Media psychology
- Metcalfe's law
- Networked learning
- New media
- Online presence management
- Online research community
- Participatory media
- Social media marketing
- Social media mining
- Social media optimization
- Social media surgery
- Social media detoxification