Social media has a range of uses in political processes and activities. Social media have been championed as allowing anyone with an Internet connection to become a content creator and empowering their users. The role of social media in democratizing media participation, which proponents herald as ushering in a new era of participatory democracy, with all users able to contribute news and comments, may fall short of the ideals. Online media audience members are largely passive consumers, while content creation is dominated by a small number of users who post comments and write new content.:78
In a study examining the potential polarizing effects of social media on the political views of its users, Mihailidis and Viotty suggest that a new way of engaging with social media must occur to avoid polarization. The authors note that media literacies (described as methods which give people skills to critique and create media) are important to using social media in a responsible and productive way, and state that these literacies must be changed further in order to have the most effectiveness. In order to decrease polarization and encourage cooperation among social media users, Mihailidis and Viotty suggest that media literacies must focus on teaching individuals how to connect with other people in a caring way, embrace differences, and understand the ways in which social media has a realistic impact on the political, social, and cultural issues of the society they are a part of.
For Malcolm Gladwell, the role of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, in revolutions and protests is overstated. On one hand, social media make it easier for individuals, and in this case activists, to express themselves. On the other hand, it is harder for that expression to have an impact. Gladwell distinguishes between social media activism and high risk activism, which brings real changes. Activism and especially high-risk activism involves strong-tie relationships, hierarchies, coordination, motivation, exposing oneself to high risks, making sacrifices. Gladwell discusses that social media are built around weak ties and he argues that "social networks are effective at increasing participation — by lessening the level of motivation that participation requires". According to him "Facebook activism succeeds not by motivating people to make a real sacrifice, but by motivating them to do the things that people do when they are not motivated enough to make a real sacrifice".
Checking updates on friends' activities on social media is associated with the "fear of missing out" (FOMO), the "pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent". FOMO is a social anxiety characterized by "a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing". It has negative influences on people's psychological health and well-being because it could contribute to negative mood and depressed feelings.
If you’re a social media influencer and want to start monetizing your influence, here are 9 ways you can start building a revenue from your work. Like any other creative, you should be compensated for your work, especially when it benefits someone else, so employ a range of these strategies to build multiple revenue streams and create your dream job as an influencer.
Social media personalities have been employed by marketers to promote products online. Research shows that digital endorsements seem to be successfully targeting social media users, especially younger consumers who have grown up in the digital age. Celebrities with large social media followings, such as Kylie Jenner, regularly endorse products to their followers on their social media pages. In 2013, the United Kingdom Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) began to advise celebrities and sports stars to make it clear if they had been paid to tweet about a product or service by using the hashtag #spon or #ad within tweets containing endorsements.
Observers have noted a range of positive and negative impacts of social media use. Social media can help to improve an individual's sense of connectedness with real or online communities, and can be an effective communication (or marketing) tool for corporations, entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations, advocacy groups, political parties, and governments. At the same time, concerns have been raised about possible links between heavy social media use and depression, and even the issues of cyberbullying, online harassment and "trolling". Currently, about half of young adults have been cyberbullied, and of those, 20% said that they have been cyberbullied regularly. Another survey in the U.S. applied the Precaution Process Adoption Model to cyberbullying on Facebook among 7th grade students. According to this study, 69% of 7th grade students claim to have experienced cyberbullying, and they also said that it was worse than face-to-face bullying. Both the bully and the victim are negatively affected, and the intensity, duration, and frequency of bullying are the three aspects that increase the negative effects on both of them.