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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 Twenty-Two: The Social Media Counter Revolution

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Many of the very people who created the social media digital revolution are in revolt opposing the very environment they helped to create. The counter revolutionaries are for the most part not the gazillionaire owners of the social media companies that they founded, but rather they are the engineers, programmers, and designers that created the addicting features of social media and in some cases were early investors and champions of these social media apps. In this chapter we will for the most part bring you the very words of these social/digital media rebels who have spoken out against the very problems they helped to create. We quote them in full because paraphrasing them would not have the same impact as sharing their eloquent critiques. We have also quoted extensively from journalists who have written about these rebels for much the same reason. We conclude the chapter and hence the book with a discussion of whether or not social media should be regulated and, if so, to what extent.

Justin Rosenstein who created the ‘like’ feature of Facebook that has become the ubiquitous feature of so many other social media apps is critical of his own ‘like’ ←187 | 188→feature. In his defense for creating ‘likes’ Rosenstein said: “It is very common for humans to develop things with the best of intentions and for them to have unintended, negative consequences (P. Lewis 2017).”

Justin Rosenstein has taken steps to limit his own exposure to social media. He...

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