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However, it is not only the habits and the media diet of consumers that change. The birth of social media – with all the associated dynamics – has revolutionized many of the many aspects that characterize our society. Not only the practical and technological ones, but also the communicative paradigms , the social dynamics up to the single balances of power that have been upset by the entry of new subjects that flank – and in some cases replace – the traditional ones. Two new subjects have become an active part of power by adding to that held by traditional institutions: the non-institutional agencies that operate on the Internet and the users themselves hyper-connected protagonists of these new balances.
Which, associated with the high accessibility, the speed of dissemination of information and the decidedly low costs, has led to a real democratization of the medium itself. The emergence of new technologies within everyone’s reach and an accessible Internet network, in fact, has transformed users from mere content users to active producers of the same: everyone can create new content that anyone can modify, share and distribute as they wish. .
To date, the best-known definition is the one proposed by Experts! The challenges and opportunities of social media “. The authors define social media as a group of internet-based applications which constitute the ideological and technological foundations of web 2.0 and which allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content. The main feature is therefore their horizontality in the creation and diffusion of contents, which is opposed to the verticality of the classic mass media.
Unlike traditional media, in fact, in social media all the subjects are at the same level. The companies themselves no longer have power or control over the content produced by users, but constitute a node of a larger network. With the advent of social media, not only the classic roles of communication change, but also the methods of communication: we no longer speak of a one-sided message of the “one to many” or “broadcasting” type, but of a multidirectional message of the type “Many to many” or “peer to peer”. The “monologue” becomes a “dialogue” between users, media and companies, sender and receiver alternate in a continuous flow of roles, but without hierarchies.
Social media are not just platforms through which to share posts on Instagram or follow influencers and celebrities, but they are also communities for creating content, virtual meeting places, discussion forums, as well as tools to be used within a broader marketing and advertising strategy.
When it comes to social media screening, the most common association is certainly the one with social networks. In reality, social networks are only a part of the vast universe of social media made up of many different platforms. This is because, if it is true that a social network is certainly a social medium, the opposite is not always true: social networks, in fact, are not only a means through which to share and create content but a real network of people , connected, organized among themselves and united by common interests of various kinds. In short, the difference between social media and social networks is not as subtle as one might mistakenly think. In summary, social media are means through which to share content, while a social network is a particular type of medium within which a community is born and grows based on a common interest.
Virtual world: Users can interact with each other taking the form of an avatar in a simulated world and are divided into “virtual game world and virtual social world” in these platforms. As an example, think of the well-known Fortnight video game or the virtual world of Second Life.