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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 Fifteen: Twitter


Enhances: immediate online communication to multiple followers; personal narratives; public participation through the creation of the twitter-verse; commercial promotion;

Obsolesces: email, breaking news on TV; newspaper headlines; interviews;

Retrieves: the telegram and Telex; announcements; polls; PR;

Reverses or flips into: the banal; narcissism; propaganda; unsubstantiated claims; fake news.

Twitter is a social medium in the form of a social networking service that enables users to send and read short 280-character messages called “tweets”. Twitter began as an internal texting medium for a podcasting company called Odeo in 2006, which morphed into Twitter, Inc. a year later. When Twitter first went online in 2007 a tweet only contained 140 characters, but that number was increased to 280 characters in November of 2017. Registered users can read and post tweets, but unregistered users can only read them.←119 | 120→

Twitter is used to help friends keep in touch with each other and to announce things of mutual interest to a group of friends and associates or to promote something to the general public of one’s followers. Twitter is used by politicians to maintain the support of their constituents and to garner public support for policies they wish to enact. It is used by celebrities so their fans/followers can keep track of them and so they can promote their brand. Twitter is used as a medium for advertising by companies and NGOs. It has also been used to alert folks of emergencies. Twitter...

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