Social Media and Social Networks Social Media

Social media (SM) are one of the spinoffs resulting from the unbundling of the medium and the message in the media industry. SM are the platforms via which communication takes place and the content is derived from the consumers in social networks (SNs) through person-to-person communication, for the exchange of information and general socialization. In distinguishing the two, I want to draw attention to the difference between the organization or medium (SM) that manages the network ofindividuals and the network itself which produces the content.

The revenue model for SM is advertising based. Consumers spent 25 % of their time on mobile versus 22 % on desktop in 2015, but advertisers allocated only 12 % of their ad budget to mobile compared with 23 % to desktop advertising, so there is enormous growth potential [73]. In a prescient business move, in the third quarter of 2015, when the number of monthly active users on Facebook was 1.65 billion and 54 % of them were mobile users, Facebooks’ mobile advertising accounted for 78 % of advertising revenue during this same quarter [74].16

SN engagement as measured by reach and digital audience penetration shows that Facebook dominates both average monthly minutes per visitor (over 1000 minutes) and percent reach among eighteen to thirty-four year olds (close to 100 %), with Snapchat and Instagram equal in engagement but Instagram ahead with more than 60 % reach. The leaders in messaging are WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat [75].

SM have enabled the development of granularity in the CIME industries by addressing content issues such as (1) information, and voice to any individual, thereby enabling granularity in information provision, (2) entertainment, and (3) collective action facilitators, as in the political arena. SN satisfy individual social imperatives such as (4) engagement, (5) empowerment and (6) immediacy. The consequence is a (vii) global citizen. I discuss each of these in turn.

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