What is Social Media?


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An introductory presentation for a course titled, "Social Media for Social Change" at the University of Maryland. This presentation is intended for a broad audience - from lay people to experts. It discusses the theory behind what makes social media work.

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What is Social Media?

  1. 1. What is Social Media? From Theoretical Foundations to User Created Content Social Media for Social Change (UNIV 389s) Beyond the Classroom Living-Learning Program Spring 2012
  2. 2. Social Media!?!?!What is the first thing that pops in toyour head when you hear the words“social media?” Graphic courtesy Bosmol.com.
  3. 3. Daunting…Unclear…EVERchanging…•Difficult to find resources, books, definitions.•Establish an understanding of the term for this course.(Graphic courtesy Technorati.com).
  4. 4. Social Media is Permeating our Lives 1969: Tinker vs. Des Moines  Supreme Court rules in favor of students who want to wear black arm bands to protest the Vietnam War.  Declared a freedom of speech issue. So what…? Same justification for rejecting to hear social media related cases.  Students who talked about teachers, peers online  Student who created a faux MySpace account for a teacherKravets, D. (Jan. 17, 2012). Wired.com.
  5. 5.  “A good way to think about social media is that all of this is actually just about being human beings. Sharing ideas, cooperating and collaborating to create art, thinking and commerce, vigorous debate and discourse, finding people who might be good friends, allies and lovers – it’s what our species has built several civilisations on. that’s why it is spreading so quickly, not because it’s great shiny, whizzy new technology, but because it lets us be ourselves – only more so.”  Antony Mayfield  What is Social Media (2008), p. 7
  6. 6.  “A group of internet applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 , and that allow the creation and exchange of user generated content.”  Kaplan & Haenlein  Users of the World Unite! (2009), p. 61. Web 2.0? User Generated Content?
  7. 7. User Generated Content…or user created content “Sum of all ways people make use of social media” 3 Requirements 1. Published publicly (can include social networking site available to a select group) 2. Shows some form of creative effort 3. Created outside professional routines Is NOT: 1. Emails or instant messages 2. Reposted content 3. Content targeted at a commercial market Source: Kaplan and Hanlaen (2009), OECD(2007)
  8. 8. Web 1.0…2.0…3.0? 2.0 The “Social Web” A shift in the way technology is used Content and applications are no longer created by individuals (static), but constantly modified by all users (changing) Enabled by technology and users:  Java, RSS, broadband  “Digital Natives” and “Screenagers” Sources: Mansfiield (2012), Rigby (2009), Kaplan & Haenlein (2009)
  9. 9. Two Sets of TheoryMedia Research Social Process Social Presence Self- Media Richness Presentation Self-Disclosure
  10. 10. Media Research: Social PresenceIntimacy and Immediacy INTIMACY: IMMEDIACY: HIGH HIGH Higher social • Interpersonal – Face to Face • Synchronous – Live Chat presence = Chat LARGER SOCIAL INTIMACY: IMMEDIACY: INFLUENCE LOW LOW • Mediated – • Asynchronous Phone Call – Email
  11. 11. DemonstrationEmail from a woman to her partnerHi,You have been working late a lot lately. Canyou PLEASE make an effort to come home abit earlier? I would like to spend more timewith you.B Intimate? Immediate?
  12. 12. Media Research: Media Richness Resolve ambiguity COMMUNICATION Reduce Uncertainty Richer = more information in a time interval (because this allows resolution of ambiguity and reduction of uncertainly.
  13. 13. Social Process TheorySelf Presentation Self Disclosure In any social interaction  Conscious or unconscious revelation of personal Desire to control information impressions  Influence others (cool babysitter)  Create image consistent with identity (wear suit)
  14. 14. Bringing it All Together: Theory Social Presence / Media Richness Low Medium High Self Virtual SocialPresentation/ High Blogs Social Networking Worlds Self (Second Life) Disclosure Content Virtual Game World Low Wikis Communities (World of Warcraft) (YouTube)