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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 Seven: Facebook, LinkedIn and Similar Social Media Sites


Enhances: social interactions online; self-esteem; connectivity beyond geographic boundaries;

Obsolesces: face-to-face interactions; selectivity in making friends; physical photograph albums; privacy;

Retrieves: lost connections; village life; a sense of community.

Reverses or flips into: fake identities; fake friendships; loss of meaningful relationships; misperceptions of others; loss of privacy; keeping up appearance; online stalking; cyber-bullying; misuse of information that compromises democratic elections; government surveillance; targeted advertising based on personal user data; browsing addiction.

We start our study of individual social media sites with Facebook (FB) because it is the social medium with the most users: 2.7 billion and counting. The only online app that rivals FB in terms of the number of users is Google. The Facebook nation has a population that is more than one and a half times China’s population ←65 | 66→of 1.4 Billion people. Being the social media platform that has the largest number of active users in the world, Facebook and its various technical features set the standards for interactive social media platforms and their addiction-inducing designs. Social media sites that gained popularity years after Facebook captured and dominated the social media market—such as Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, to mention a few—achieved their user count for various reasons, some of which were luck, their specialized features like microblogging or video content and their appeal to a specialized audience based on religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Those that succeeded did so in part by incorporating Facebook-like features into their...

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