All from cyber bullying to manipulation of your identity,

All
Media can overall be classified as ‘social’ media. Social media can be defined
as an interactive media base that is established in participatory behaviours,
sharing content, and overall user-created (Argo, 2017). Social media
platforms allow users to have conversations, share information and create web
content across different platforms and in different unique ways. There are many
different types of social media forms such as blogs, wikis, social networking
sites, instant messaging, photo-sharing and video-sharing sites. Social media
predominantly allows users to connect and share with friends, family and
colleagues, learn new things and develop your interests all across the globe at
a click of a button. (Argo, 2017)

 

Professionally,
social media enables you to broaden your knowledge and promote your particular
field of work. Sites like LinkedIn allows you to connect with other companies
and current employees (Argo, 2017). On the other hand,
despite Social Media’s benefits, social media affects each individual in
different ways with not all being beneficial. Although it may seem as a
learning and fun communicative tool, the use of Social Media can lead to a
variety of problems ranging from cyber bullying to manipulation of your
identity, stealing parts of your personal life and interpreting it as their
own, which has been known to cause a different level of problems. Social Media
has also been known to cause psychological problems such as depression and
isolation which has been known to make individuals feel isolated and alone.
This has led to individuals in some cases unfortunately attempting suicide. (Argo, 2017)

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Considering
the great impact and progress social media has made, it is important to narrow
down and decide what the term ‘social media’ truly means and what effects it
has. Some would refer back to the days of what’s known as the early cyber
culture and stress the public domain aspect of these virtual communities. (Lovink, 2013)  This catholic term lost its authority in the
late 90s when start-up firms, backed by venture capital and silly money from
investment banks and pension funds flooded the scene. Looking into social media
it can be seen that they present themselves as the perfect synthesis of 19th
century mass production and are making history (Lovink, 2011). In that sense,
there are not postmodern machines but straightforward modernist products of the
1990’s wave of digital globalization turned mass culture. The increase in use
of social media should not be seen as a resurrection of the social after its
death, Online systems are not designed for people to encounter one another
however remain bonds between friends. (Lovink, 2011)

 

The
main aspect of all this is the focus on the effect social media has on our
lives and the ‘colonization of real time’ (Lovink, 2011)The social element really emerges in
with the context Web 2.0, the second stage of development of the internet, and how
though not all the characteristics of Web 2.0 apply to social media. Web 2.0
has three distinguishing features, it is easy to use, and provides users with
free publishing and production platforms. Users are able to upload content in
different forms this can range from uploading pictures, videos and texts to
sharing life stories and articles from what’s happening around the world (Lovink, 2011). This is down to the
use of free publishing and production platforms across the Medias. (Lovink, 2011) In May 2009, the
introduction of the online, real time collaborative editing platform Google
Wave was established (Lovink, 2011). It merged email,
instant messaging, social networking and feeds of Facebook, Twitter and email
into one real live event one to the screen for different people to view and add
to. (Lovink, 2011)

 

Additionally,
there is a fundamental shift away from the static archive, it is a meta online
tool for real-time communication. Just from looking at your online ‘dashboard’,
metaphorically, Wave looks like you are sitting on the banks of a river, observing
the current. (Winer, 2018) The Internet in general is trying to go real
time in order to become one step closer to real life and the complexities of
reality. However, one step forward into progression of the real time means two
steps backwards in terms of design. Just look at Twitter as example, resembles
ascii email and SMS messages on your 2001 cell phone. (Lovink, 2011) One thing is for sure though, boredom
will soon set in and people will be forced to find new ways to monitor their
lives and stay connected with people.

 

The pacemaker
of the real-time Internet is “microblogging” (Lovink, 2013) Microblogging is a combination
of blogging and instant
messaging that allows users to create
messages that can be posted and shared with an online audience. Social media platforms
such as Twitter and Facebook have become extremely popular forms of blogging,
especially when able to access via your mobile, which makes it so much more convenient
to communicate with people compared to using desktop computers for web browsing
and social interaction. (Lovink, 2013) However,
we can also consider the social networking sites that try to encourage as many real-time data
out of its users as possible, using questions on their feed such as: “What are
you doing?” “What’s on your mind?” This encourages the user to express their
thoughts and expose their impulses. Frequently updated blogs and news sites are
a part of this inclination. The constant evolution of RSS feeds is the driving
technology behind this, which makes it possible to get instant updates of
what’s happening anywhere else on the web. (Lovink, 2011)

 

The
miniaturization of hardware and wireless connectivity makes it able for
technology to become an invisible part of our everyday lives. (Carr, 2017) Further
to this, the production of mobile phones plays an important role in
‘mobilizing’ your desktop, social media, photo and video camera, audio device
and eventually the television. Web 2.0 applications respond to this trend and
attempt to extract value out of every situation we find ourselves in. (Lovink, 2011) Social media sites
constantly wants to know what we think, what choices we make, where we go, who
we talk to. In addition, there is no evidence that the world is
becoming more virtual, but the virtual is becoming more real. Social media
sites are encouraging us to answer questions and share our personal thoughts
and feelings online about our lives and social relationships, we are no longer
encouraged to keep up a persona but it encourages us to be “ourselves” and
reflect that online by what we say and ‘like’. (Lovink, 2011)

 

We constantly
login and create profiles on these sites in order to present ourselves on the
global market place of employment, friendship and love. (Lovink, 2011) “We can have
multiple passions but only one certified ID.” (Lovink, 2011) Social media sites
encourages us to perfect polished personalities online which however lacks
empathy and a false interpretation of emotion. Soon, people such as celebrities
will become bored of keeping up with an online persona and reveal their
weaknesses, but also this will mean revealing your true self. Social media encourages
users to administrate and edit their selves online to hide the merely
controversial aspects. (Lovink, 2011) Our online profiles
remain unfinished and imperfect if we do not expose any aspect of our private
lives whether that’s who we are friends with, where we work, what we are doing,
what’s on our mind Otherwise we are considered robots, anonymous members of a
vanishing twentieth century mass culture. It is virtually impossible to differentiate
the explanation and commodification of selfhood from the capacity of the self
to shape and help itself and to engage in deliberation and communication with
others.” (Illoux, 2007)

 

Additionally, Silicon Valley found inspiration in two
projects: the search start-up Google, and the rapidly emerging blog scene, which
soon established around self-publishing platforms such as blogger.com, Blogspot
and LiveJournal.  (Lovink, 2011) Both Google’s search
algorithm and Dave Winer’s RSS invention of the underlying blog technology both
managed to avoid the dotcom rage until they surfaced to
form the duo-core of the Web 2.0 wave. (Winer, 2018) However, blogging
personified the non-profit, and therefore this enabled the aspect of personal
responses categorised around a link., Google developed a technique in order to
stream other people’s content on to your own, otherwise known as, “organizing
the world’s information” (Lovink, 2011) There has been a rise is user-generated
content and this has been operated by the IT industry, not necessarily the
media sector. Google soon discovered they could make profit from free
information on the open Internet, such as anything from unprofessional videos
to unreliable news sites. Additionally, there is no profit made at the level of
production but through distribution channels, such as, Amazon, Apple, Ebay and
Google.  (Winer, 2018)

 

It is
clear to believe that the colonization of real time is a term in which to
describe the frequent up-to-date technology. All social media platforms are
progressing into live feeds that allow us to be kept up to date with reading
news faster via twitter than it is to watch on the television (Lovink, 2011), and to keep updated
with one another’s lives. Social media platforms allow us to share so much of
our lives with each other there’s almost no need for one to one personal interaction.
Sites like Google Wave allows you to access your email, social networks, and
merges sites like Facebook and Twitter. This is a meta online tool for real
time communication. (Lovink, 2011) The internet in general is going ‘real
time’ in an attempt to become one step closer to the real-existing social
world. One way of doing this is to engage the users by asking questions such as
‘What is on your mind?’ “What are you doing?” This is an approach that Facebook
and Twitter uses.  In late 2012, Facebook had more than one billion accounts, which
resulted in the social media site ranking in the top three first destination
sites on the internet worldwide. (Lovink, 2011)

Facebook was predominantly
full of users willingly exhibiting countless amounts of snippets of their
social life and relationships on this site that invests in the play of
exchanging information. This is just an example of the virtual becoming more
real, with social media wanting to map out our real lives onto their database.
A problem that maybe considered due to this, is that we potentially get too
caught up keeping up with our online personas. Social Media encourages us to be
ourselves and to express that through different platforms but are we starting
to care more about how many likes our Instagram post gets than catching up with
friends in person? Additionally, there is no evidence that the world is
becoming more virtual, however the virtual is becoming more real. (Lovink, 2011)