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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 Four: Impacts of the Smartphone and Their Apps


Enhances: the mobility of access to the Internet and telephone communication;

Obsolesces: the cell phone and the landline;

Retrieves: nomadic existence;

Reverses or flips into: obsession, loss of contact with the real world and a lack of privacy.

The story of the smartphone begins with the invention of the telephone and then the mobile phone. The first version of mobile phones were car phones which were radio-based telephones that allowed mobile telephone communication within the confines of one’s automobile. They first appeared in 1946 using equipment developed by Motorola and were used on the Bell Telephone service as early as 1946.

The second version of mobile phones were cordless telephones using the regular telephone infrastructure but in which a radio signal from the cordless telephones communicated with the docking station of the cordless telephone, which in turn ←29 | 30→is connected with the regular telephone network. They were first developed and commercialized in the mid to late 1960s but the area of mobility was limited to the distance at which the cordless phone could communicate with the docking station, which was the living or working space of the user.

The first truly mobile portable hand-held phone was invented by Dr. Martin Cooper, a researcher at Motorola in 1973. He made the first mobile phone call that did not originate in an automobile. It was not until 1983, however, that portable hand-held phones were available for use by the...

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