Social media and the networking generation.
Social media is media designed to be
disseminated through social interaction, created using highly
accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media supports
the human need for social interaction, using Internet- and web-based
technologies to transform broadcast media monologues (one to many)
into social media dialogues (many to many). It supports the
democratization of knowledge and information, transforming people
from content consumers into content producers. Andreas Kaplan and
Michael Haenlein define social media as "a group of Internet-based
applications that build on the ideological and technological
foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of
User Generated Content". Social media utilization is believed to be
a driving factor in the idea that the current period in time will be
defined as the Attention Age.
Social media can be said to have three components;
Concept (art, information, or meme).
Media (physical, electronic, or verbal).
Social interface (intimate direct, community engagement, social
viral, electronic broadcast or syndication, or other physical media
such as print).
Common forms of social media;
Concepts, slogans, and statements with a high memory retention
quotient, that excite others to repeat.
Grass-Roots direct action information dissemination such as public
speaking, installations, performance, and demonstrations.
Electronic media with 'sharing', syndication, or search algorithm
technologies (includes internet and mobile devices).
Print media, designed to be re-distributed.
The use of the term "social media" has risen
steadily since July 2006. At that time, this Wikipedia article on
"social media" defined it as a term "used to describe media which
are formed mainly by the public as a group, in a social way, rather
than media produced by journalists, editors and media conglomerates."
Chris Shipley (Co-founder and Global Research Director for Guidewire
Group) is often considered the first person to have coined the term
"social media" as we understand it today. The BlogOn 2004 conference,
July 22-23, 2004, focused on the "business of social media." Shipley
and Guidewire Group used the term "social media" in the months
leading up to that event to discuss the coming together of blogging,
wikis, social networks, and related technologies into a new form of
The term was also used by Tina Sharkey (co-founder of iVillage,
former SVP of AIM and Social Media, and now head of BabyCenter.com)
in 1997 to describe a form of community-driven Internet content; and
by Darrell Berry in 1995 to describe software systems (such as his
multimedia MOO client, Matisse), which facilitate the collaborative
building of community and the subjective experience of shared
"space" via electronic media. He referred to such systems as "social
Social media can take many different forms,
including Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, wikis, podcasts,
pictures, video, rating and bookmarking. Technologies include: blogs,
picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging,
music-sharing, crowdsourcing, and voice over IP, to name a few. Many
of these social media services can be integrated via social network
aggregation platforms like Mybloglog and Plaxo.
Examples of social media software applications include:
Blogs: Blogger, LiveJournal, Open Diary, TypePad, WordPress, Vox,
Micro-blogging / Presence applications: Twitter, Plurk, Tumblr,
Social networking: Bebo, BigTent, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Orkut,
Skyrock, Hi5, Ning, Elgg
Social network aggregation: NutshellMail, FriendFeed
Events: Upcoming, Eventful, Meetup.com
Social networking through the world
- Facebook has almost colonized Europe and
it’s extending its domination with more than 200 millions users
- QQ, leader in China, is the largest social network of the world
(300 millions active accounts)
- MySpace lost its leadership everywhere (except in Guam)
- V Kontakte is the most popular in Russian territories
- Orkut is strong in India and Brazil
- Hi5 is still leading in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and other
scattered countries such as Portugal, Mongolia, Romania
- Odnoklassniki is strong in some former territories of the Soviet
- Maktoob is the most important Arab community/portal
Other country specific social networks:
- Iwiw in Hungary
- Nasza-klasa in Poland
- Cyworld in South Korea
- Friendster in Philippines
- Hyves in Netherlands
- Lidé in Czech Republic
- Mixi in Japan
- One in Lithuania
- Draugiem in Latvia
- Wretch in Taiwan
- Zing in Vietnam
Social Networks as a class topic
"Street corners are not the only habitat of
choice for groups of teenagers. Increasingly, cyberspace is the
place where young people develop their social skills." (BBC Focus,
April 2007). Teenagers used to spend hours talking to their friends
on the phone, but now they send each other instant messages and
short messages called bulletins on social-networking sites. So, it's
now becoming normal to ask people you meet for their networking
profile, rather than for their phone number! Over 50% of teenagers
in the USA use networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Bebo.
MySpace, for example, was created in January 2004 and two years
later had over 40 million members. So what do young people put on
their pages? Basically, they write about themselves, adding photos,
music and videos. Some young people even produce their own art work
and write poetry. By the process of "friending", young people make
hundreds of friends from all over the world, most of whom they never
meet in person. To quote Time magazine (December 2006/January 2007):
"social-networking sites can create and maintain relationships that
wouldn't have existed otherwise." And studies have shown that these
sites may even help young people to improve their communication
You Tube suitable for young people?
One of the most popular sites with young people is YouTube. On this
site, there are literally millions of videos to watch, and you can
share your own videos by uploading them on to the site. If you
become a registered user of the site, you can upload as many videos
as you like. Everyday, over 60,000 new videos are uploaded on to
this site, and it is difficult to check the contents of them all.
For this reason, many people are worried that it is easy for
teenagers to access violent and other kinds of offensive videos.
Some countries, such as Brazil, Turkey, and India have even banned
Answer these questions.
1. What do you use the Internet for?
2. Do you know anything about social-networking?
3. What are some of the problems connected with Internet use?
Read the passages and answer the questions.
1. How has teenage communication changed in recent years? 2. What
exactly is social-networking?
3. What does a networking profile consist of?
4. How can a site like MySpace be good for teenagers? 5. What
exactly is YouTube?
6. Why have some countries banned this site?
Answer the following questions.
1. What are your favourite Internet sites?
2. Do you use social-networking sites? If you do, how often? 3. Have
you ever watched a video on YouTube? 4. Have you ever uploaded a
video on to YouTube? 5. Do you think that there should be stricter
controls of sites
When dealing with this topic with younger students, it is also
important to highlight the dangers associated with the use of the
Internet. As this use increases, so do the risks connected to it,
and not enough emphasis can be placed on the darker sides of the
Web. As well as promoting the use of the Internet, teachers need to
make students aware of the fact that the net is not always safe.
This is the aim of the following passage and associated writing
activity, which clearly serve both a linguistic and a general
THE NET ALWAYS SAFE (from New Culture Lab)
There are lots of Internet sites which are fun
for young people. You can watch videos, listen to music, play games
and make new friends. There are also sites which can help you with
your homework: you can look for information about many different
things and have exchanges with students from schools in other
countries. But... be careful! The Internet can also be a very
dangerous place. Anyone can create websites, and some of these
contain violent or pornographic material, or encourage racism. It is
also difficult to check the contents of all the videos on YouTube.
There are people called hackers, who create viruses and damage other
people's computers. Some hackers are vandals; others are criminals
who want to steal data, money or confidential information. Many
governments are now trying to make the Internet safe for children,
but there are some things that you can do:
- get a good virus protector;
- keep your password secret and don't give private information to
people you don't know;
- don't trust everybody you meet in social-networking sites and only
meet new friends if your parents can be present; - never accept
presents from people you meet in cyberspace;
- be very careful when you download pictures or videos;
- don't open files from people you don't know - they may contain
viruses; - tell your parents if you find violent or pornographic
And don't get angry with your parents if they want to know what you
are doing on the net. They just want to protect you and to make sure
that the net is a safe place for you and your friends!
Write a list of all the risks of the Internet. Then compare your
list with your classmates' lists.
This article has merely touched on a few of the implications of
Internet use in cultural studies teaching, but it illustrates some
of the many ways in which teachers can make use of the Internet as a
resource. Yet we have also attempted to show how we can encourage
students to reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of the Web,
and thus adopt a more critical attitude towards this aspect of their
own daily lives.