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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 Eighteen: Digital Age Monopolies and Social Media

Extract

The interaction of the digital age monopolies and social media is complex. In this chapter we will describe two forms of this interaction, namely

1.the monopolistic character of a number of social media apps including: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tinder, Twitter and YouTube

2.the interaction of a number of digital mega monopolies with social media including Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft

The monopolies in the digital age including those of social media are slightly different than the definition of a monopoly in the pre-digital era. A monopoly is defined as a

market situation where one producer (or a group of producers acting in concert) controls supply of a good or service, and where the entry of a new producer is prevented or highly restricted. Monopolist firms (in their attempt to maximize profits) keep the price high and restrict the output, and show little or no responsiveness to the needs of their customers (http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/monopoly.html accessed on March 2, 2020).

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This is not how monopolies are created in the digital age including social media apps. The reason for this is that the services in the digital age must be able to work with the other users of those services. What happens in the digital age is that the popularity of an operating system or a software package or an app sets a standard and because there is a need for compatibility this leads to an effective monopoly....

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