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Understanding Social Media

Extensions of Their Users

Series:

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 Five: Online Communication Channels: E-mail, IM, Texting, VoIP, and Online Meeting Apps

Extract

Enhance: personal communication, planning or scheduling;

Obsolesce: phone calls, letters, snail mail, fax, greeting cards, formal invitations;

Retrieve: postal service, telephone, telegrams and the town crier;

Reverse or flip into: spam with email, information overload, a time waster.

In this chapter we will review the online communication channels that are part of the social media ecosystem just as we reviewed in the previous chapters the role and contribution of computing, the Internet, the Web and smartphones. The specific channels we will survey include email, instant messaging (IM), texting, VoIP (voice over IP) and group meeting apps. Missing from this list is Twitter, which is technically a communication channel but so are all social media in the sense that one can leave comments, likes and other messages. We shall treat Twitter (in Chapter Fifteen) as a social media app because all the communications of an account are generated by a single individual and hence reflects the personality and the persona of the tweeter just like standard social media apps like Facebook or ←41 | 42→Instagram does for those that post using these apps. We have also classified You Tube as a social media app rather than a communication channel for the same reason.

Enhance: personal communication,

Obsolesce: fax, personal letters

Retrieve: the postal service, and

Reverse and flip into: spam.

Email, instant messaging (IM), texting (short message service or SMS) and VoIP (voice...

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