Social Media

Social Media refers to interactive, internet enabled web services and mobile apps that facilitate the creation and sharing of ideas, information, interests, and other forms of expression via online communities and networks.1

  • Social media is considered part of Web 2.02
  • Users profiles on the website or app are created by users and service-specific.
  • Social media facilitates the development of online social networks by connecting a user’s profile with those of other individuals or groups.
  • Users typically 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).
  • User-generated content, such as text posts or comments, digital photos, videos, and data generated through all online interactions, distinguishes social media.

As users engage with these electronic services, they create highly interactive platforms through which individuals, communities, and organizations can share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content or pre-made content posted online.

Some of the most popular social media websites, with over 100 million registered users, include Facebook (and its associated app Facebook Messenger), Baidu Tieba, Instagram, Myspace, LinkedIn, Medium, Tik Tok Pinterest, Quora, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, Viber, VK, WeChat, Weibo, YouTube, Wikia, and Reddit.

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, nonprofit organizations, advocacy groups, political parties, and governments. 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”.


  1. Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media↩︎
  2. Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media↩︎
Last updated byseobrien on March 10, 2020
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