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Understanding Social Media

Extensions of Their Users


Robert K. Logan and Mira Rawady

The purpose of this book is to understand the nature of social media and the impact they are having on almost all aspects of modern-day existence from family life and social interactions to education and commerce. Just as fish are unaware of the water they swim in and we humans are unaware of the air that we breathe so it is that the users of social media are unaware of the effects of these media and take their existence as a natural part of their environment. The authors make use of Marshall McLuhan’s media ecology approach to understanding media in order to reveal the effects of social media on their users, how they are changing the nature of our social interactions and how we through our interaction with social media have become actual extensions of our social media, the reverse of McLuhan’s notion that media are extensions of mankind.

The authors analyze the major social media apps including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tinder, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter and blogs as well as examining the Splinternet and the social media scene in Russia, China, North Korea, Vietnam and the Islamic world. Understanding Social Media studies the impacts of social media monopolies, the nature of advertising and branding in social media apps and the social media front in cyberwarfare and concludes with an analysis of the social media counter revolution waged by players who actually helped to create social media.

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Chapter Two: The Impacts of Digital Computing


Enhances: control and manipulation of information and processes;

Obsolesces: the mechanical;

Retrieves: customization;

Reverses or flips into: information overload and “anarchy via the overlay of bureaucracy (McLuhan & McLuhan 1988, 189)”.

In this chapter we will survey the impact of digital computing or computers. Before recounting the story of digital computing or computers that emerged in the 1940s, we will first survey the many techniques of non-digital computation that preceded this development after which we will examine the impacts of digital computing or computers including main frame computers (including supercomputers and cloud server computers), mini computers and personal computers ranging from desktop to laptop to notebooks to tablets. Although smart phones are basically computers we will not analyze their impacts until we deal with them in Chapter Four.←11 | 12→

The most ancient form of computing or accounting took place in pre-historic times with the appearance of tallies, which are basically notches carved on an animal bone or an antler. Three examples include the Lebombo bone found in the Lebombo mountains located between South Africa and Swaziland that is estimated to be between 44,200 and 43,000 years old; the Wolf bone which was excavated in Moravia and thought to be 30,000 years old; and the Ishango bone circa 19,000 BC found in the Belgian Congo. Tallies do not indicate what is being enumerated but they indicate early forms of human computation and numerosity. Other forms of...

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