Social media

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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. [1] The variety of stand-alone and built-in social media services currently available introduces challenges of definition; however, there are some common features: [2]

Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is defined as any human communication that occurs through the use of two or more electronic devices. While the term has traditionally referred to those communications that occur via computer-mediated formats, it has also been applied to other forms of text-based interaction such as text messaging. Research on CMC focuses largely on the social effects of different computer-supported communication technologies. Many recent studies involve Internet-based social networking supported by social software.

Information that which informs; the answer to a question of some kind; that from which data and knowledge can be derived

Information is the resolution of uncertainty; it is that which answers the question of "what an entity is" and thus defines both its essence and nature of its characteristics. Information relates to both data and knowledge, as data is meaningful information representing values attributed to parameters, and knowledge signifies understanding of a concept. Information is uncoupled from an observer, which is an entity that can access information and thus discern what it specifies; information exists beyond an event horizon for example. In the case of knowledge, the information itself requires a cognitive observer to be obtained.

A virtual community is a social network of individuals who interact through specific social media, potentially crossing geographical and political boundaries in order to pursue mutual interests or goals. Some of the most pervasive virtual communities are online communities operating under social networking services.

Contents

  1. Social media are interactive Web 2.0 Internet-based applications. [2] [3]
  2. User-generated content, such as text posts or comments, digital photos or videos, and data generated through all online interactions, is the lifeblood of social media. [2] [3]
  3. Users create service-specific profiles for the website or app that are designed and maintained by the social media organization. [2] [4]
  4. Social media facilitate the development of online social networks by connecting a user's profile with those of other individuals or groups. [2] [4]

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 pre-made content posted online.

World Wide Web System of interlinked hypertext documents accessed over the Internet

The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system where documents and other web resources are identified by Uniform Resource Locators, which may be interlinked by hypertext, and are accessible over the Internet. The resources of the WWW may be accessed by users by a software application called a web browser.

Desktop computer personal computer in a form intended for regular use at a single location desk/table

A desktop computer is a personal computer designed for regular use at a single location on or near a desk or table due to its size and power requirements. The most common configuration has a case that houses the power supply, motherboard, disk storage ; a keyboard and mouse for input; and a computer monitor, speakers, and, often, a printer for output. The case may be oriented horizontally or vertically and placed either underneath, beside, or on top of a desk.

Laptop personal computer for mobile use

A laptop computer is a small, portable personal computer (PC) with a "clamshell" form factor, typically having a thin LCD or LED computer screen mounted on the inside of the upper lid of the clamshell and an alphanumeric keyboard on the inside of the lower lid. The clamshell is opened up to use the computer. Laptops are folded shut for transportation, and thus are suitable for mobile use. Its name comes from lap, as it was deemed to be placed on a person's lap when being used. Although originally there was a distinction between laptops and notebooks, as of 2014, there is often no longer any difference. Laptops are commonly used in a variety of settings, such as at work, in education, for playing games, Internet surfing, for personal multimedia, and general home computer use.

Networks formed through social media change the way groups of people interact and communicate or stand with the votes. They "introduce substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities, and individuals." [1] These changes are the focus of the emerging fields of technoself studies. Social media differ from paper-based media (e.g., magazines and newspapers) and traditional electronic media such as TV broadcasting, Radio broadcasting in many ways, including quality, [5] reach, frequency, interactivity, usability, immediacy, and performance. Social media outlets operate in a dialogic transmission system (many sources to many receivers). [6] This is in contrast to traditional media which operates under a mono-logic transmission model (one source to many receivers), such as a newspaper which is delivered to many subscribers, or a radio station which broadcasts the same programs to an entire city. Some of the most popular social media websites, with over 100 million registered users, include Facebook (and its associated Facebook Messenger), YouTube, WeChat, Instagram, QQ, QZone, Weibo, Twitter, Tumblr, Telegram, Reddit, Baidu Tieba, LinkedIn, LINE, Snapchat, Pinterest, Viber, MeWe, and VK.

In the application of statistics to advertising and media analysis, reach refers to the total number of different people or households exposed, at least once, to a medium during a given period. Reach should not be confused with the number of people who will actually be exposed to and consume the advertising, though. It is just the number of people who are exposed to the medium and therefore have an opportunity to see or hear the ad or commercial. Reach may be stated either as an absolute number, or as a fraction of a given population.

Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit of time. It is also referred to as temporal frequency, which emphasizes the contrast to spatial frequency and angular frequency. The period is the duration of time of one cycle in a repeating event, so the period is the reciprocal of the frequency. For example: if a newborn baby's heart beats at a frequency of 120 times a minute, its period—the time interval between beats—is half a second. Frequency is an important parameter used in science and engineering to specify the rate of oscillatory and vibratory phenomena, such as mechanical vibrations, audio signals (sound), radio waves, and light.

Facebook Global online social networking service

Facebook, Inc. is an American online social media and social networking service company based in Menlo Park, California. It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, along with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies along with Amazon, Apple, and Google.

Observers have noted a range of positive and negative impacts of social media use. Social media can help to improve an individual's sense of connectedness with real or online communities, and can be an effective communication (or marketing) tool for corporations, entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, advocacy groups, political parties, and governments.

Marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships. Marketing is the business process of creating relationships with and satisfying customers. With its focus on the customer, marketing is one of the premier components of business management.

History

Front panel of the late-1960s-era ARPANET Interface Message Processor. Interface Message Processor Front Panel.jpg
Front panel of the late-1960s-era ARPANET Interface Message Processor.

Social media may have been influenced by the 1840s introduction of the telegraph in the US, which connected the country. [7] 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 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 notesfile or other application to limit access to a certain set of users, for example, only friends, classmates, or co-workers.

Control Data Corporation defunct supercomputer firm

Control Data Corporation (CDC) was a mainframe and supercomputer firm. CDC was one of the nine major United States computer companies through most of the 1960s; the others were IBM, Burroughs Corporation, DEC, NCR, General Electric, Honeywell, RCA, and UNIVAC. CDC was well-known and highly regarded throughout the industry at the time. For most of the 1960s, Seymour Cray worked at CDC and developed a series of machines that were the fastest computers in the world by far, until Cray left the company to found Cray Research (CRI) in the 1970s. After several years of losses in the early 1980s, in 1988 CDC started to leave the computer manufacturing business and sell the related parts of the company, a process that was completed in 1992 with the creation of Control Data Systems, Inc. The remaining businesses of CDC currently operate as Ceridian.

Talkomatic is an online chat system that facilitates real-time text communication among a small group of people. Each participant in Talkomatic has their own section of the screen, broadcasting messages letter-by-letter as they are typed. This interaction is dissimilar from present-day chat systems and is based upon work done in 1973 at the University of Illinois on the PLATO system by Doug Brown and David R. Woolley. This work is part of a conservation effort aimed at preserving historically significant works and their descendants. The original Talkomatic can be seen operating as it did in the 1970s on the CYBIS system operated by cyber1.org.

IMP log for the first message sent over the Internet, using ARPANET. The IMP Log The Very First Message Sent on the Internet (6293913865).jpg
IMP log for the first message sent over the Internet, using ARPANET.

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. [8] ARPANET 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.

ARPANET Early packet switching network that was the first to implement the protocol suite TCP/IP

The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was an early packet-switching network and the first network to implement the TCP/IP protocol suite. Both technologies became the technical foundation of the Internet. The ARPANET was initially founded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the United States Department of Defense.

MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory AI lab at MIT

MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is a research institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology formed by the 2003 merger of the Laboratory for Computer Science and the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Housed within the Stata Center, CSAIL is the largest on-campus laboratory as measured by research scope and membership.

Usenet worldwide distributed Internet discussion system

Usenet is a worldwide distributed discussion system available on computers. It was developed from the general-purpose Unix-to-Unix Copy (UUCP) dial-up network architecture. Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis conceived the idea in 1979, and it was established in 1980. Users read and post messages to one or more categories, known as newsgroups. Usenet resembles a bulletin board system (BBS) in many respects and is the precursor to Internet forums that are widely used today. Discussions are threaded, as with web forums and BBSs, though posts are stored on the server sequentially. The name comes from the term "users network".

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 16 February 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. [9] Message forums (a specific structure of social media) arose with the BBS phenomenon throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. When the Internet proliferated 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.

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. [10] 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. [11] [12] [13]

Definition and classification

The variety of evolving stand-alone and built-in social media services makes it challenging to define them. [2] However, marketing and social media experts broadly agree that social media includes the following 13 types of social media: blogs, business networks, collaborative projects, enterprise social networks, forums, microblogs, photo sharing, products/services review, social bookmarking, social gaming, social networks, video sharing, and virtual worlds. [14]

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. [15] The terminology is unclear, with some early researchers referring to social media as social networks or social networking services in the mid 2000s. [4] A more recent paper from 2015 [2] reviewed the prominent literature in the area and identified four common features unique to then-current social media services:

  1. Social media are Web 2.0 Internet-based applications. [2] [3]
  2. User-generated content (UGC) is the lifeblood of the social media organism. [2] [3]
  3. Users create service-specific profiles for the site or app that are designed and maintained by the social media organization. [2] [4]
  4. Social media facilitate the development of online social networks by connecting a user's profile with those of other individuals or groups. [2] [4]

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)" [16]

Classification of social media and overview of how important different types of social media (e.g. blogs) are for each of a company's operational functions (e.g. marketing) Importance of social media for different corporate functions.png
Classification of social media and overview of how important different types of social media (e.g. blogs) are for each of a company's operational functions (e.g. marketing)

The development of social media started off with simple platforms such as sixdegrees.com. [17] 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 the networking sites. Research [18] 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. [19] 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. [20] Networked individuals create, edit, and manage content in collaboration with other networked individuals. This way they contribute in expanding knowledge. Wikis are examples of collaborative content creation.

Mobile social media

The heavy usage of smartphones among young people relates to the significant percentage of social media users who are from this demographic. Young people texting on smartphones using thumbs.JPG
The heavy usage of smartphones among young people relates to the significant percentage of social media users who are from this demographic.

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. [21] 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: [21]

  1. Space-timers (location and time sensitive): Exchange of messages with relevance mostly for one specific location at one specific point in time (e.g. Facebook Places WhatsApp; Foursquare)
  2. Space-locators (only location sensitive): Exchange of messages, with relevance for one specific location, which is tagged to a certain place and read later by others (e.g. Yelp; Qype, Tumblr, Fishbrain)
  3. Quick-timers (only time sensitive): Transfer of traditional social media applications to mobile devices to increase immediacy (e.g. posting Twitter messages or Facebook status updates)
  4. Slow-timers (neither location nor time sensitive): Transfer of traditional social media applications to mobile devices (e.g. watching a YouTube video or reading/editing a Wikipedia article)

Elements and function

Viral content

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 a 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 is 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. [22] 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.

Bots

Social media can enable companies to get in the form of greater market share and increased audiences. [23] Internet bots have been developed which facilitate social media marketing. Bots are automated programs that run over the Internet. [24] Chatbots and social bots are programmed to mimic natural human interactions such as liking, commenting, following, and unfollowing on social media platforms. [25] A new industry of bot providers has been created. [26] Social bots and chatbots have created an analytical crisis in the marketing industry [27] as they make it difficult to differentiate between human interactions and automated bot interactions. [27] Some bots are negatively affecting their marketing data causing a "digital cannibalism" in social media marketing. Additionally, some bots violate the terms of use on many social mediums such as Instagram, which can result in profiles being taken down and banned. [28]

"Cyborgs", a combination of a human and a bot, [29] [30] are used to spread fake news or create a marketing "buzz". [31] Cyborgs can be bot-assisted humans or human-assisted bots. [32] An example is a human who registers an account for which he sets automated programs to post, for instance, tweets, during his absence. [32] 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. [32] 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.

Patents of social media technology

Number of U.S. social network patent applications published and patents issued per year since 2003. The chart shows that the number of software applications published (the green bars) increased steadily from 2003 to 2007, and then shot up from 2008 to 2010. Soc-net-paten-growth-chart.png
Number of U.S. social network patent applications published and patents issued per year since 2003. The chart shows that the number of software applications published (the green bars) increased steadily from 2003 to 2007, and then shot up from 2008 to 2010.

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. There are now over 2000 published patent applications. [34] As many as 7000 applications may be currently on file including those that haven't been published yet. Only slightly over 100 of these applications have issued as patents, however, largely due to the multi-year backlog in examination of business method patents, patents which outline and claim new methods of doing business. [35]

Statistics on usage and membership

Social media websites are popular on mobile devices such as smartphones. Young people in Hong Kong using smartphones whilst walking.png
Social media websites are popular on mobile devices such as smartphones.

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. [36]

The following list of the leading social networks shows the number of active users as of July 2018. [37]

#Network NameNumber of Users

(in millions)

1 Facebook 2,270
2 YouTube 1,900
3 WhatsApp 1,500
4 Facebook Messenger 1,300
5 WeChat 1,040
6 Instagram 1,000
7 QQ 806
8 QZone 563
9 Tik Tok 500
10 Sina Weibo 411
11 Twitter 336
12 Reddit 330
13 Baidu Tieba 300
14 Skype 300
15 LinkedIn 294
16 Viber 260
17 Snapchat 255
18 Line 203
19 Discord 200
20 Pinterest 200
21 Telegram 200
22 Tinder 100

Usage

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. At the same time, younger Americans (especially those ages 18 to 24) stand out for embracing a variety of platforms and using them frequently. Some 78% of 18- to 24-year-olds use Snapchat, and a sizeable majority of these users (71%) visit the platform multiple times per day. Similarly, 71% of Americans in this age group now use Instagram and close to half (45%) are Twitter users. However, Facebook remains the primary platform for most Americans. Roughly two-thirds of U.S. adults (68%) now report that they are Facebook users, and roughly three-quarters of those users access Facebook on a daily basis. With the exception of those 65 and older, a majority of Americans across a wide range of demographic groups now use Facebook. [38] After this rapid growth, the number of new U.S. Facebook accounts created has plateaued, with not much observable growth in the 2016-18 period. [39]

Use by organizations

Use by governments

Governments may use social media to (for example): [40]

Use by businesses

Marketplace actors can use social-media tools for marketing research, communication, sales promotions/discounts, informal employee-learning/organizational development, relationship development/loyalty programs, [21] 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. [41]

Companies are increasingly[ quantify ] 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[ by whom? ] "building social authority". [42] One of the foundation concepts in social media has become[ when? ] 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. [43]

Social media mining

Social media "mining" is a type of data mining, a technique of analyzing data to detect patterns. Social media mining is a process of representing, analyzing, and extracting actionable patterns from data collected from people's activities on social media. Google mines data in many ways including using an algorithm in Gmail to analyze information in emails. This use of information will then affect the type of advertisements shown to the user when they use Gmail. Facebook has partnered with many data mining companies such as Datalogix and BlueKai to use customer information for targeted advertising. [44] Ethical questions of the extent to which a company should be able to utilize a user's information have been called "big data". [44] Users tend to click through Terms of Use agreements when signing up on social media platforms, and they do not know how their information will be used by companies. This leads to questions of privacy and surveillance when user data is recorded. Some social media outlets have added capture time and Geotagging that helps provide information about the context of the data as well as making their data more accurate.

In politics

Social media has a range of uses in political processes and activities. Social media have been championed as allowing anyone with an Internet connection to become a content creator [45] and empowering their users. [46] The role of social media in democratizing media participation, which proponents herald as ushering in a new era of participatory democracy, with all users able to contribute news and comments, may fall short of the ideals. Online media audience members are largely passive consumers, while content creation is dominated by a small number of users who post comments and write new content. [47] :78

Younger generations are becoming more involved in politics due to the increase of political news posted on social media. Due to the heavier use of social media among younger generations, they are exposed to politics more frequently, and in a way that is integrated into their online social lives. Social media was influential in the widespread attention given to the revolutionary outbreaks in the Middle East and North Africa during 2011. [48] [49] [50] During the Tunisian revolution in 2011, people used Facebook to organize meetings and protests. [45] However, there is debate about the extent to which social media facilitated this kind of change. [51]

One challenge is that militant groups have begun to see social media as a major organizing and recruiting tool. [52] 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. [53] 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. [54]

Use in hiring

If a college applicant has posted photos of engaging in activities that are contrary to college rules or values, it could adversely affect their chances of getting in. Smoking Crack.jpg
If a college applicant has posted photos of engaging in activities that are contrary to college rules or values, it could adversely affect their chances of getting in.

Some employers examine job applicants' social media profiles as part of the hiring assessment. This issue raises many ethical questions that some consider an employer's right and others consider discrimination. Many Western European countries have already implemented laws that restrict the regulation of social media in the workplace. States including Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin have passed legislation that protects potential employees and current employees from employers that demand that they provide their usernames and/or passwords for any social media accounts. [55] Use of social media by young people has caused significant problems for some applicants who are active on social media when they try to enter the job market. A survey of 17,000 young people in six countries in 2013 found that 1 in 10 people aged 16 to 34 have been rejected for a job because of online comments they made on social media websites. [56]

Use in school admissions

It is not only an issue in the workplace, but an issue in post-secondary school admissions as well. There have been situations where students have been forced to give up their social media passwords to school administrators. [57] There are inadequate laws to protect a student's social media privacy, and organizations such as the ACLU are pushing for more privacy protection, as it is an invasion. They urge students who are pressured to give up their account information to tell the administrators to contact a parent or lawyer before they take the matter any further. Although they are students, they still have the right to keep their password-protected information private. [58]

Before social media, [59] 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. [60] 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.

Use by law enforcement agencies

Social media have been used to assist in searches for missing persons. When a University of Cincinnati student disappeared in 2014, his friends and family used social media to organize and fund a search effort. [61] [62] [63] when their efforts went viral [61] [64] on Facebook, Twitter, GoFundMe, and The Huffington Post during the week-long search. Dulle's body was eventually found in a building next door to his apartment. [65] [66] [67] [68] [ undue weight? ] Social media was brought up as a strategy to try and help bring together the community and police force. It is a way for the police force to show their progress to the community on issues they are dealing with. [69]

Law enforcement agencies don’t just use social media to convict others of crimes, but also those within the agencies. According to an article on the National Police Foundation called “Social Media Has Become a Critical Part of Law Enforcement” , they had arrested an officer for attempted murder. They decided to broadcast the deputy being escorted to jail on social media to show they are taking accountability and ownership. It also mentions how they use Instagram to interact with their community by posting arrests and memes under hashtags that have messages within them. [70]

Use in court cases

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. After an Apple employee criticized his employer on Facebook, he was fired. When the former employee sued Apple for unfair dismissal, the court, after seeing the man's Facebook posts, found in favour of Apple, as the man's social media comments breached Apple's policies. [71] After a heterosexual couple broke up, the man posted "violent rap lyrics from a song that talked about fantasies of killing the rapper's ex-wife" and made threats against him. The court found him guilty and he was sentenced to jail. [72] In a disability claims case, a woman who fell at work claimed that she was permanently injured; the employer used her social media posts of her travels and activities to counter her claims. [73]

Courts do not always admit social media evidence, in part because screenshots can be faked or tampered with. [74] 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. [74] 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. [74]

Social media marketing

Social media websites can also use "traditional" marketing approaches, as seen in these LinkedIn-branded chocolates. Linkedin Chocolates.jpg
Social media websites can also use "traditional" marketing approaches, as seen in these LinkedIn-branded chocolates.

Social media marketing has increased due to the growing active user rates on social media sites. For example, Facebook currently has 2.2 billion users, Twitter has 330 million active users and Instagram has 800 million users. [75] One of the main uses is to interact with audiences to create awareness of their brand or service, with the main idea of creating a two-way communication system where the audience and/or customers can interact back; providing feedback as just one example. [76] Social media can be used to advertise; placing an advert on Facebook's Newsfeed, for example, can allow a vast number of people to see it or targeting specific audiences from their usage to encourage awareness of the product or brand. Users of social media are then able to like, share and comment on the advert, becoming message senders as they can keep passing the advert's message on to their friends and onwards. [77] The use of new media put consumers on the position of spreading opinions, sharing experience, and has shift power from organization to consumers for it allows transparency and different opinions to be heard. [78] media marketing has to keep up with all the different platforms. They also have to keep up with the ongoing trends that are set by big influencers and draw many peoples attention. The type of audience a business is going for will determine the social media site they use. [3]

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, [79] especially younger consumers who have grown up in the digital age. [80] Celebrities with large social media followings, such as Kylie Jenner, regularly endorse products to their followers on their social media pages. [81] 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. [82]

An example of social media marketing can be seen with Wendy’s taking a humorous approach to beat out the competition. According to the article “Wendy’s Roasts its Way to Social Media Stardom” by Kevin Hardy, it shows tweets Wendy’s made to poke fun of their competitors like Mcdonald’s and Burger King. “From Apple to Werewolf: A content analysis of marketing for e-liquids on Instagram” by Linnea Laestadius refers to the infamous Juul brand that has been accused of targeting younger crowds. According to the article, their appeal to their younger audience includes taste, pleasurable physical and emotional effects, and the aesthetic. A lot of Instagram posts regarding Juul’s have the hashtag #vapingsavedmylife, this clearly glorifies the use of the product and the posts are used as an aesthetic or “edgy/cool”. [83] [84]

On social media, consumers are exposed to purchasing practices though peer sent, written messages. Learning through social media includes strategies such as "modeling, reinforcement, and social interaction mechanisms" all at the same time. A study, that focused on peer communication through social media, has revealed that communication between peers through social media is positively related to purchase intentions in a couple ways. First, is a direct impact through conformity. Second, is an indirect impact by stressing product engagement. Lastly, from this study, we learned that consumer-related communication between peers on social media has a positive relationship with product engagement. [85]

Use in science

Signals from social media are used to assess academic publications, [86] as well as for evaluation of the quality of the Wikipedia articles and their sources. [87] 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. [88] Another study found that most of the health science students acquiring academic materials from others through social media. [89] Massive amounts of data from social platforms allows scientists and machine learning researchers to extract insights and build product features. [90] Using social media can help to shape patterns of deception in resumes. [91]

Use by individuals

As a news source

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. According to CNN, in 2010 75% of people got their news forwarded through e-mail or social media posts, whereas 37% of people shared a news item via Facebook or Twitter. [92] Facebook and Twitter make news a more participatory experience than before as people share news articles and comment on other people's posts. Rainie and Wellman have argued that media making now has become a participation work, [93] which changes communication systems. However, 27% of respondents worry about the accuracy of a story on a blog. [47]

Effects on individual and collective memory

News media and television journalism have been a key feature in the shaping of American collective memory for much of the twentieth century. [94] [95] 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. [96] 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. [97] [98] 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.

Interpersonal relationships

Modern day teenagers interacting Social media team.jpeg
Modern day teenagers interacting

Social media is used to fulfill perceived social needs, but not all needs can be fulfilled by social media. [99] For example, lonely individuals are more likely to use the Internet for emotional support than those who are not lonely. [100] 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. [101]

Although social media has made connecting with people easier, it is also the breeding ground for catfish. Catfish are people who go online and pretend to be someone they aren’t, usually when they are seeking romantic partners. It has become easier for people to catfish others especially on social media platforms Facebook and Tinder. According to the Choices and Connections textbook, cat-fishing is a relationship based off deception. These online relationships formed with people they have never met face to face with before can go to some extreme places. Extremities can go as far as supplying the catfish with money to support them and it is actually very common as seen in the tv series Catfish. Signs of a catfish are when they make excuses every time you try to meet in person, webcam/phone camera doesn’t ever work, their profile pictures can be found on other accounts, etc. So although social media is an easy, convenient way to meet people, not everyone has good intentions. [102]

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. Turkle also speculates that people are beginning to prefer texting to face-to-face communication, which can contribute to feelings of loneliness. [103] Some researchers have also found that exchanges that involved direct communication and reciprocation of messages correlated with less feelings of loneliness. However, passively using social media without sending or receiving messages does not make people feel less lonely unless they were lonely to begin with. [104]

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". [105] FOMO is a social anxiety [106] characterized by "a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing". [105] It has negative influences on people's psychological health and well-being because it could contribute to negative mood and depressed feelings. [107]

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. [108] 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. [108] 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. [109]

According to research from UCLA, teenage brains' reward circuits were more active when teenager's photos were liked by more peers. This has both positive and negative features. Teenagers and young adults befriend people online whom they don't know well. This opens the possibility of a child being influenced by people who engage in risk-taking behavior. When children have several hundred online connections there is no way for parents to know who they are. [110]

Self-presentation

The more time people spend on Facebook, the less satisfied they feel about their life. [111] Self-presentational theory explains that people will consciously manage their self-image or identity related information in social contexts. When people are not accepted or are criticized online they feel emotional pain. [112] This may lead to some form of online retaliation such as online bullying. [113] Trudy Hui Hui Chua and Leanne Chang's article, "Follow Me and Like My Beautiful Selfies: Singapore Teenage Girls' Engagement in Self-Presentation and Peer Comparison on Social Media" [114] states that teenage girls manipulate their self-presentation on social media to achieve a sense of beauty that is projected by their peers. These authors also discovered that teenage girls compare themselves to their peers on social media and present themselves in certain ways in effort to earn regard and acceptance, which can actually lead to problems with self-confidence and self-satisfaction. [114]

Health improvement and behavior reinforcement

Social media might 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. [115] 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 [116] 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. [117] [118] [119]

Social impact

Disparity

People who live in poverty, such as homeless people, have low levels of access to computers and Internet or a lack of familiarity with these technologies. This means that these marginalized people are not able to use social media tools to find information, jobs, housing, and other necessities. Sleeping in a Parking Lot.jpg
People who live in poverty, such as homeless people, have low levels of access to computers and Internet or a lack of familiarity with these technologies. This means that these marginalized people are not able to use social media tools to find information, jobs, housing, and other necessities.

The digital divide is a measure of disparity in the level of access to technology between households, socioeconomic levels or other demographic categories. [120] [121] 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, [122] [123] which could be a result of disparities in the education system where only some teachers integrate technology into the classroom and teach critical thinking. [124] While social media has differences among age groups, a 2010 study in the United States found no racial divide. [125] 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" [126] 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. [127]

Eric Ehrmann contends that social media in the form of public diplomacy create a patina of inclusiveness that covers [128] 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.

Political polarization

According to the Pew Research Center, a majority of Americans at least occasionally receive news from social media. [129] 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. [130] 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. [130] 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. [130]

Efforts to combat selective exposure in social media may also cause an increase in political polarization. [131] 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. [131] 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. [131]

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. [132] [133] 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. [132] In particular, those using social media as a means to receive their news were the most likely to have their political beliefs changed. [132] 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. [132] 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. [133] 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. [133] 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. [133]

Research has also shown that social media use may not have an effect on polarization at all. [134] 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. [134]

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. [135] 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. [135] 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. [135]

Stereotyping

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. [136] Three researchers at Blanquerna University, Spain, examined how adolescents interact with social media and specifically Facebook. They suggest that interactions on the website encourage representing oneself in the traditional gender constructs, which helps maintain gender stereotypes. [137] The authors noted that girls generally show more emotion in their posts and more frequently change their profile pictures, which according to some psychologists can lead to self-objectification. [138] On the other hand, the researchers found that boys prefer to portray themselves as strong, independent, and powerful. [139] For example, men often post pictures of objects and not themselves, and rarely change their profile pictures; using the pages more for entertainment and pragmatic reasons. In contrast girls generally post more images that include themselves, friends and things they have emotional ties to, which the researchers attributed that to the higher emotional intelligence of girls at a younger age. The authors sampled over 632 girls and boys from the ages of 12–16 from Spain in an effort to confirm their beliefs. The researchers concluded that masculinity is more commonly associated with a positive psychological well-being, while femininity displays less psychological well-being. [140] Furthermore, the researchers discovered that people tend not to completely conform to either stereotype, and encompass desirable parts of both. Users of Facebook generally use their profile to reflect that they are a "normal" person. Social media was found to uphold gender stereotypes both feminine and masculine. The researchers also noted that the traditional stereotypes are often upheld by boys more so than girls. The authors described how neither stereotype was entirely positive, but most people viewed masculine values as more positive.

Cognition and memory

According to writer Christine Rosen in "Virtual Friendship, and the New Narcissism," many social media sites encourage status-seeking. [141] According to Rosen, the practice and definition of "friendship" changes in virtuality. Friendship "in these virtual spaces is thoroughly different from real-world friendship. In its traditional sense, friendship is a relationship which, broadly speaking, involves the sharing of mutual interests, reciprocity, trust, and the revelation of intimate details over time and within specific social (and cultural) contexts. Because friendship depends on mutual revelations that are concealed from the rest of the world, it can only flourish within the boundaries of privacy; the idea of public friendship is an oxymoron." Rosen also cites Brigham Young University researchers who "recently surveyed 184 users of social networking sites and found that heavy users 'feel less socially involved with the community around them.'" Critic Nicholas G. Carr in "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" questions how technology affects cognition and memory. [142] "The kind of deep reading that a sequence of printed pages promotes is valuable not just for the knowledge we acquire from the author's words but for the intellectual vibrations those words set off within our own minds. In the quiet spaces opened up by the sustained, undistracted reading of a book, or by any other act of contemplation, for that matter, we make our own associations, draw our own inferences and analogies, foster our own ideas... If we lose those quiet spaces, or fill them up with "content," we will sacrifice something important not only in ourselves but in our culture."

Physical and mental health

There are several negative effects to social media which receive criticism, for example regarding privacy issues, [143] information overload [144] 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. [145] 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. [146] 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" [147] 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. People are motivated to portray themselves in a way that is appropriate to the situation and serves their best interest. Often the things posted online are the positive aspects of people's lives, making other people question why their own lives are not as exciting or fulfilling. This can lead to depression and other self-esteem issues as well as decrease their satisfaction of life as they feel if their life is not exciting enough to put online it is not as good as their friends or family. [148]

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. [149] Social media has both a practical usage- to connect us with others, but also can lead to fulfillment of gratification. [150] 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". [151] 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. [152] 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. [153]

Bo Han, a social media researcher at Texas A&M University-Commerce, finds that users are likely to experience the "social media burnout" issue. [154] Ambivalence, emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization are usually the main symptoms if a user experiences social media burnout. Ambivalence refers to a user's confusion about the benefits she can get from using a social media site. Emotional exhaustion refers to the stress a user has when using a social media site. Depersonalization refers to the emotional detachment from a social media site a user experiences. The three burnout factors can all negatively influence the user's social media continuance. This study provides an instrument to measure the burnout a user can experience, when his or her social media "friends" are generating an overwhelming amount of useless information (e.g., "what I had for dinner", "where I am now").

Adolescents

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. Research has continued to demonstrate that long hours spent on mobile devices have shown a positive relationship with an increase in teenagers' BMI and a lack of physical activity. Moreover, excessive internet usage has been linked to lower grades compared to users who don't spend an excessive amount of time online, even with a control over age, gender, race, parent education and personal contentment factors that may affect the study. [155] In a recent study, it was found that time spent on Facebook has a strong negative relationship with overall GPA. [156] The use of multiple social media platforms is more strongly associated with depression and anxiety among young adults than time spent online. The analysis showed that people who reported using the most platforms (7 to 11) had more than three times the risk of depression and anxiety than people who used the fewest (0 to 2). [157] Social media addiction and its sub-dimensions have a high positive correlation. The more the participants are addicted to social media, the less satisfied they are with life. [158]

Sleep disturbances

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'". [159] 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 amount of 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. [160]

Changes in mood

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. Social media has generated a phenomenon known as " Facebook depression", which is a type of depression that affects adolescents who spend too much of their free time engaging with social media sites. "Facebook depression" leads to problems such as reclusiveness which can negatively damage ones health by creating feelings of loneliness and low self-esteem among young people. [161] At the same time, a 2017 shown that there is a link between social media addiction and negative mental health effects. In this study, almost 6,000 adolescent students were examined using the Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale. 4.5% of these students were found to be "at risk" of social media addiction. Furthermore, this same 4.5% reported low self-esteem and high levels of depressive symptoms. [162]

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." [163]

Effects on youth communication

Social media has allowed for mass cultural exchange and intercultural communication. As different cultures have different value systems,[ vague ] cultural themes, grammar, and world views, they also communicate differently.[ citation needed ] The emergence of social media platforms fused together different cultures and their communication methods, blending together various cultural thinking patterns and expression styles.[ citation needed ]

Social media has affected the way youth communicate, by introducing new forms of language. Abbreviations have been introduced to cut down on the time it takes to respond online. The commonly known "LOL" has become globally recognized as the abbreviation for "laugh out loud" thanks to social media.

Another trend that influences the way youth communicates is (through) the use of hashtags. With the introduction of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, the hashtag was created to easily organize and search for information. Hashtags can be used when people want to advocate for a movement, store content or tweets from a movement for future use, and allow other social media users to contribute to a discussion about a certain movement by using existing hashtags. Using hashtags as a way to advocate for something online makes it easier and more accessible for more people to acknowledge it around the world. [164] As hashtags such as #tbt ("throwback Thursday") become a part of online communication, it influenced the way in which youth share and communicate in their daily lives. Because of these changes in linguistics and communication etiquette, researchers of media semiotics[ who? ] have found that this has altered youth's communications habits and more.[ vague ][ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ] 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.[ citation needed ] 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. [165]

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, [166] the impact of social media use on an individual's concentration, [167] 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. [168] However, it is also argued that social media have positive effects such as allowing the democratization of the Internet [169] while also allowing individuals to advertise themselves and form friendships. [45] Others [170] 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. [171] Social media may expose children to images of alcohol, tobacco, and sexual behaviors[ relevant? ]. [172] 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. [173]

Twitter is increasingly a target of heavy activity of marketers. Their actions, focused on gaining massive numbers of followers, include use of advanced scripts and manipulation techniques that distort the prime idea of social media by abusing human trustfulness. [174] British-American entrepreneur and author Andrew Keen criticizes social media in his book The Cult of the Amateur , writing, "Out of this anarchy, it suddenly became clear that what was governing the infinite monkeys now inputting away on the Internet was the law of digital Darwinism, the survival of the loudest and most opinionated. Under these rules, the only way to intellectually prevail is by infinite filibustering." [175] This is also relative to the issue "justice" in the social network. For example, the phenomenon "Human flesh search engine" in Asia raised the discussion of "private-law" brought by social network platform. Comparative media professor José van Dijck contends in her book "The Culture of Connectivity" (2013) that to understand the full weight of social media, their technological dimensions should be connected to the social and the cultural. She critically describes six social media platforms. One of her findings is the way Facebook had been successful in framing the term 'sharing' in such a way that third party use of user data is neglected in favour of intra-user connectedness.

Essena O'Neill attracted international coverage when she explicitly left social media. [176]

Trustworthiness and reliability

There is speculation that social media is becoming perceived as a trustworthy source of information by a large number of people. The continuous interpersonal connectivity on social media has led to people regarding peer recommendations as a reliable source of information. However, this trust can be exploited by marketers, who can utilise consumer-created content about brands and products to influence public perceptions. [177] [178]

Evgeny Morozov, 2009–2010 Yahoo fellow at Georgetown University, contends that the information uploaded to Twitter may have little relevance to the rest of the people who do not use Twitter. In the article "Iran: Downside to the "Twitter Revolution"" in the magazine Dissent , [179] he says:

"Twitter only adds to the noise: it's simply impossible to pack much context into its 140 characters. All other biases are present as well: in a country like Iran it's mostly pro-Western, technology-friendly and iPod-carrying young people who are the natural and most frequent users of Twitter. They are a tiny and, most important, extremely untypical segment of the Iranian population (the number of Twitter users in Iran — a country of more than seventy million people.)"

Even in the United States, the birth-country of Twitter, currently in 2015 the social network has 306 million accounts. [180] Because there are likely to be many multi-account users, and the United States in 2012 had a population of 314.7 million, [181] the adoption of Twitter is somewhat limited. 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." [182]

Criticism of data harvesting on Facebook

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. [183]

Critique of activism

For Malcolm Gladwell, the role of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, in revolutions and protests is overstated. [184] 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. [184] 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. [184] 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". [184] 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". [184]

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. [185]

Ownership of content

Social media content is generated through social media interactions done by the users through the site. There has always been a huge debate on the ownership of the content on social media platforms because it is generated by the users and hosted by the company. Added to this is the danger to security of information, which can be leaked to third parties with economic interests in the platform, or parasites who comb the data for their own databases. [186] The author of Social Media Is Bullshit, Brandon Mendelson, claims that the "true" owners of content created on social media sites only benefits the large corporations who own those sites and rarely the users that created them. [187]

Privacy

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, [182] by social media intelligence using data mining techniques. [186] 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. [188] 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. Others argue, however, that people are still very concerned about their privacy, but are being ignored by the companies running these social networks, who can sometimes make a profit off of sharing someone's personal information. There is also a disconnect between social media user's words and their actions. Studies suggest that surveys show that people want to keep their lives private, but their actions on social media suggest otherwise. Another factor is ignorance of how accessible social media posts are. Some social media users who have been criticized for inappropriate comments stated that they did not realize that anyone outside their circle of friends would read their post; in fact, on some social media sites, unless a user selects higher privacy settings, their content is shared with a wide audience.

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. [189] 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. [190] 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. [191]

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. [192]

Criticism of commercialization

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 such, value-creating activities also increase the value of a specific product, which could, according to the marketing professors Bernad Cova and Daniele Dalli, lead to what they refer to as "double exploitation". [193] Companies are getting consumers to create content for the companies' websites for which the consumers are not paid.

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. [194] 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. [195] As social media becomes commercialized, this process have been shown to create novel forms of value networks stretching between consumer and producer [196] in which a combination of personal, private and commercial contents are created. [197]

Debate over addiction

As one of the biggest preoccupations among adolescents is social media usage, researchers have begun using the term "F.A.D.," or "Facebook addiction disorder," a form of internet addiction disorder. [198] FAD is characterized by a compulsive use of the social networking site Facebook, which generally results in physical or psychological complications. The disorder, although not classified in the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) or by the World Health Organization, has been the subject of several studies focusing on the negative effects on the psyche. One German study, published in 2017, investigated a correlation between extensive use of the social networking site and narcissism; the results were published in the journal PLoS One. According to the findings: "FAD was significantly positively related to the personality trait narcissism and to negative mental health variables (depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms)." [199] While these issues regarding social media addiction are continuous and increasing, there are ways to help reduce and curb one's social media obsessions. Turning off notifications (temporary or long-term) is one solution that is deemed beneficial in attempts to lessen social media addiction by resolving issues of distraction, for those who struggle with the habit of constantly refreshing social media platforms and checking for new notifications. [200]

Debate over use in academic settings

Having social media in the classroom was a controversial topic in the 2010s. Many parents and educators have been fearful of the repercussions of having social media in the classroom. [201] There are concerns that social media tools can be misused for cyberbullying or sharing inappropriate content. As result, cell phones have been banned from some classrooms, and some schools have blocked many popular social media websites. Many schools have realized that they need to loosen restrictions, teach digital citizenship skills, and even incorporate these tools into classrooms. Some schools permit students to use smartphones or tablet computers in class, as long as the students are using these devices for academic purposes, such as doing research. Using Facebook in class allows for integration of multimodal content such as student-created photographs and video and URLs to other texts, in a platform that many students are already familiar with. Twitter can be used to enhance communication building and critical thinking and it provides students with an informal "back channel"), and extend discussion outside of class time.

Censorship by governments

Banner in Bangkok, observed on the 30th of June 2014, informing the Thai public that 'like' or 'share' activity on social media may land them in jail Thai-coup-detat-2014-social-media-banner.jpg
Banner in Bangkok, observed on the 30th of June 2014, informing the Thai public that 'like' or 'share' activity on social media may land them in jail

Social media often features in political struggles to control public perception and online activity. In some countries, Internet police or secret police monitor or control citizens' use of social media. For example, in 2013 some social media was banned in Turkey after the Taksim Gezi Park protests. Both Twitter and YouTube were temporarily suspended in the country by a court's decision. A new law, passed by Turkish Parliament, has granted immunity to Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) personnel. The TİB was also given the authority to block access to specific websites without the need for a court order. [202] Yet TİB's 2014 blocking of Twitter was ruled by the constitutional court to violate free speech. [203] More recently, in the 2014 Thai coup d'état, the public was explicitly instructed not to 'share' or 'like' dissenting views on social media or face prison. In July of that same year, in response to WikiLeaks' release of a secret suppression order made by the Victorian Supreme Court, media lawyers were quoted in the Australian media to the effect that "anyone who tweets a link to the Wikileaks report, posts it on Facebook, or shares it in any way online could also face charges". [204]

Self-censorship by social media platforms

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. [205] As early as 2015, platforms such as Reddit began to enforce selective bans based, for example, on terms of service that prohibit "hate speech". [206] According to technology journalist Declan McCullagh, "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." [207]

Law professor Glenn Reynolds dubbed 2018 the "Year of Deplatforming", in an August 2018 article in The Wall Street Journal . [205] 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." [205] 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." [205]

See also

Related Research Articles

Internet privacy right or mandate of personal privacy concerning the storing, repurposing, provision to third parties, and displaying of information pertaining to oneself via of the Internet; a subset of data privacy

Internet privacy involves the right or mandate of personal privacy concerning the storing, repurposing, provision to third parties, and displaying of information pertaining to oneself via the Internet. Internet privacy is a subset of data privacy. Privacy concerns have been articulated from the beginnings of large-scale computer sharing.

Online advertising, also called online marketing or Internet advertising or web advertising, is a form of marketing and advertising which uses the Internet to deliver promotional marketing messages to consumers. Many consumers find online advertising disruptive and have increasingly turned to ad blocking for a variety of reasons. When software is used to do the purchasing, it is known as programmatic advertising.

In marketing, promotion refers to any type of marketing communication used to inform or persuade target audiences of the relative merits of a product, service, brand or issue. The aim of promotion is to increase awareness, create interest, generate sales or create brand loyalty. It is one of the basic elements of the market mix, which includes the four Ps, i.e., product, price, place, and promotion.

A social networking service is an online platform which people use to build social networks or social relationship with other people who share similar personal or career interests, activities, backgrounds or real-life connections.

User-generated content Online content created by users

User-generated content (UGC), alternatively known as user-created content (UCC), is any form of content, such as images, videos, text and audio, that have been posted by users on online platforms such as social media and wikis. The term "user-generated content" and the concept it refers to entered mainstream usage in the mid-2000s, having arisen in web publishing and new media content production circles. The BBC adopted a user-generated content platform for its websites in 2005, and TIME Magazine named "You" as the Person of the Year in 2006, referring to the rise in the production of UGC on Web 2.0 platforms. CNN also invested in developed a similar user generated content platform, known as iReport. There are several other examples of news channels implementing similar protocols, especially in the immediate aftermath of a catastrophe or terrorist attack. Social media users are able to provide key eye witness content and information that may otherwise have been inaccessible. Due to new media and technology affordances, such as low cost and low barriers to entry, the Internet is an easy platform to create and dispense user generated content, allowing the dissemination of information at a rapid pace in the wake an event taking place. However, UGC is not solely limited to mainstream news or media.

Digital marketing is the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium.

Microblogging is an online broadcast medium that exists as a specific form of blogging. A microblog differs from a traditional blog in that its content is typically smaller in both actual and aggregated file size. Microblogs "allow users to exchange small elements of content such as short sentences, individual images, or video links", which may be the major reason for their popularity. These small messages are sometimes called microposts.

Content creation is the contribution of information to any media and most especially to digital media for an end-user/audience in specific contexts. Content is "something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing or any of various arts" for self-expression, distribution, marketing and/or publication. Typical forms of content creation include maintaining and updating web sites, blogging, photography, videography, online commentary, the maintenance of social media accounts, and editing and distribution of digital media. A Pew survey described content creation as the creation of "the material people contribute to the online world."

Social commerce is a subset of electronic commerce that involves social media, online media that supports social interaction, and user contributions to assist online buying and selling of products and services.

Targeted advertising type of advertising

Targeted advertising is a form of online advertising that is directed towards audiences with certain traits, based on the product or person the advertiser is promoting. These traits can either be demographic which are focused on race, economic status, sex, age, the level of education, income level and employment or they can be psychographic focused which are based on the consumer's values, personality, attitudes, opinions, lifestyles and interests. They can also be behavioral variables, such as browser history, purchase history, and other recent activity. Targeted advertising is focused on certain traits and the consumers who are likely to have a strong preference will receive the message instead of those who have no interest and whose preferences do not match a product's attribute. This eliminates wastage.

Social media measurement or 'social media monitoring' is a way of computing popularity of a brand or company by extracting information from social media channels, such as blogs, wikis, news sites, micro-blogs such as Twitter, social networking sites, video/photo sharing websites, forums, message boards and user-generated content from time to time. In other words, this is the way to caliber success of social media marketing strategies used by a company or a brand. It is also used by companies to gauge current trends in the industry. The process first gathers data from different websites and then performs analysis based on different metrics like time spent on the page, click through rate, content share, comments, text analytics to identify positive or negative emotions about the brand.

Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms and websites to promote a product or service. Although the terms e-marketing and digital marketing are still dominant in academia, social media marketing is becoming more popular for both practitioners and researchers. Most social media platforms have built-in data analytics tools, which enable companies to track the progress, success, and engagement of ad campaigns. Companies address a range of stakeholders through social media marketing, including current and potential customers, current and potential employees, journalists, bloggers, and the general public. On a strategic level, social media marketing includes the management of a marketing campaign, governance, setting the scope and the establishment of a firm's desired social media "culture" and "tone."

Social learning tools are tools used for pedagogical and andragogical purposes that utilize social software and/or social media in order to facilitate learning through interactions between individuals and systems. The idea of setting up "social learning tools" is to make education more convenient and widespread. It also allows an interaction between users and/or the software which can bring a different aspect to learning. People can acquire knowledge by distance learning tools, for instance, Facebook, Twitter, Khan Academy and so on. Social learning tools may mediate in formal or informal learning environments to help create connections between learners, instructors and information. These connections form dynamic knowledge networks. Social learning tools are used in schools for teaching/learning and in businesses for training. Within a school environment, the use of social learning tools can affect not only the user (student) but his/her caretaker as well as his/her instructor. It brings a different approach to the traditional way of learning which affects the student and his/her support circle. Companies also use social learning tools. They used them to improve knowledge transfer within departments and across teams. Businesses use a variety of these tools to create a social learning environment. They are also used in company settings to help improve team work, problem solving, and performance in stressful situations.

Tribe (internet) slang for an unofficial community of people who share a common interest

The term tribe or digital tribe is used as a slang term for an unofficial community of people who share a common interest, and usually who are loosely affiliated with each other through social media or other Internet mechanisms. The term is related to "tribe", which traditionally refers to people closely associated in both geography and genealogy. Nowadays, it looks more like a virtual community or a personal network and it is often called global digital tribe. Most anthropologists agree that a tribe is a (small) society that practices its own customs and culture, and that these define the tribe. The tribes are divided into clans, with their own customs and cultural values that differentiate them from activities that occur in 'real life' contexts. People feel more inclined to share and defend their ideas on social networks than they would dare to say to someone face to face. For example, it would be ridiculous to 'poke' someone in real life.

The social data revolution is the shift in human communication patterns towards increased personal information sharing and its related implications, made possible by the rise of social networks in the early 2000s. This phenomenon has resulted in the accumulation of unprecedented amounts of public data.

Since the arrival of early social networking sites in the early 2000s, online social networking platforms have expanded exponentially, with the biggest names in social media in the mid-2010s being Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and SnapChat. The massive influx of personal information that has become available online and stored in the cloud has put user privacy at the forefront of discussion regarding the database's ability to safely store such personal information. The extent to which users and social media platform administrators can access user profiles has become a new topic of ethical consideration, and the legality, awareness, and boundaries of subsequent privacy violations are critical concerns in advance of the technological age.

Social media and television

Social media and television broadcasting have a number of connections and interrelationships. In the 2010s, social media technologies and websites allow for television shows to be accessed online on a range of desktop and mobile computer devices, smartphones and smart TVs. As well, online users can use social media websites to share digital video clips or excerpts from TV shows with fellow fans or even share an entire show online. Many social media websites enable users to post online comments on the programs—both negative and positive—in a variety of ways. Viewers can actively participate while watching a TV program by posting comments online, and have their interactions viewed and responded to in real time by other viewers. Technologies such as smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers allow viewers to watch downloaded digital files of TV shows or "stream" digital files of TV shows on a range of devices, both in the home and while on the go. In the 2010s, some television producers and broadcasters are encouraging active social media participation by viewers by posting "hashtags" on the TV screen during shows; these hashtags enable viewers to post online comments about the show, which may either be read by other social media users, or even, in some cases, displayed on the screen.

Social profiling is the process of constructing a user's profile using his or her publicly and voluntarily shared social data. In general, profiling refers to the data science process of generating a person's profile with computerized algorithms and technology. There are many mediums and platforms for sharing these information with the help of the increasing number of successful social networks, including but not limited to LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and Twitter etc.

Social media use in politics refers to the use of online social media platforms in political processes and activities. Social media platforms encompass websites such as Facebook, YouTube, WeChat, Instagram, QQ, QZone, Weibo, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, Baidu Tieba, LinkedIn, LINE, Snapchat, Pinterest, Viber, and VK.

Social media use in education refers to the use of online social media platforms in academic settings ranging from elementary and secondary school to post-secondary education. Having social media in the classroom was a controversial topic in the 2010s. Many parents and educators have been fearful of the repercussions of having social media in the classroom. There are concerns that social media tools can be misused for cyberbullying or sharing inappropriate content. As result, cell phones have been banned from some classrooms, and some schools have blocked many popular social media websites. However, despite apprehensions, students in industrialized countries are active social media users. As a result, many schools have realized that they need to loosen restrictions, teach digital citizenship skills, and even incorporate these tools into classrooms. The Peel District School Board (PDSB) in Ontario is one of many school boards that has begun to accept the use of social media in the classroom. In 2013, the PDSB introduced a "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) policy and have unblocked many social media sites. Fewkes and McCabe (2012) have researched about the benefits of using Facebook in the classroom. Some schools permit students to use smartphones or tablet computers in class, as long as the students are using these devices for academic purposes, such as doing research.

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Further reading