4.1 Social Media Defined

Social media includes online services and applications that allow individuals to create, share and seek information, to communicate and collaborate with friends and to exchange content (Chen et al., 2015). Across the world, there are an unimaginable amount of social media networks and sites, each defined by various characteristics and attributes. For our purposes, social media refers to any site that allows individuals to engage with one another. This includes: blogs, social network sites (Facebook), news sites (Reddit), knowledge bases that allow comments (Wikipedia), sharing services (Instagram, YouTube), and social apps (WhatsApp). Although we will focus on the platforms popular in the Western world (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok), they are few among many (Chen et al., 2015). As each platform has evolved, systems for building friendships and staying connected online have shifted towards an online market economy. Many sites now include various functions, such as live streaming, marketplace applications, and social audio features which appeal to business users looking to advertise (Wong, 2021). Various websites exist to aid businesses in making decisions related to social media, including building followings and developing marketing strategies. This means that individuals who are on social media are being presented with a flurry of information for a multitude of reasons, people trying to sell, people trying to advertise, people trying to manipulate (Wong, 2021).



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