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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 Fourteen: TikTok: The New Wave of Content

Extract

Enhances: humor;

Obsolesces: Snapchat;

Retrieves: karaoke;

Reverses or flips into: addiction.

Being the most recently popular social media platform, TikTok is an interesting social media platform to observe from its recent birth. Some compare it to Vine, because of its short content duration (each video is 15–60 seconds long), others talk about it like it is the most unique innovation to date. Just like Facebook and Instagram were at their start, TikTok is fresh, new, and never-been-done-before. All social media are unique until they are not. At some point, everything integrates. Influencers start posting content there in addition to their other social media platforms, celebrities try to stay relevant by creating a TikTok account and dancing, and businesses start marketing by integrating ads into TikTok’s For You feeds. Platforms follow similar paths in growth and evolution in the digital world. ←115 | 116→Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok—they’re all different but fundamentally the same. Whenever a new social medium pops up, users are quick to engage, post, and attempt to become influencers. It’s the new career dream in the digital age. And why shouldn’t it be? It’s money-generating and gives people the opportunity to pursue their passion and share it with others at the click of a button.

There are two versions of TikTok, the version that the readers of this book are familiar with and a version in China that goes by the name Douyin which was the...

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