Social Media

At the heart of social media are social networks. Boyd & Ellison describe social networks as "web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.” (Boyd & Ellison 2007, p.211). In addition, social media is extensively related to ‘Web 2.0’ (see relevant term definition in the glossary) and the rise of user-generated content, ie. users in all shapes and sizes are posting their own information to the social networks and social media in the form of text, images, etc. Social media is associated with all aspects of modern life, from politics to business, from friendships to family.

In the area of policy making and e-participation, social media can be a powerful tool in the hands of citizens to express ideas, report problems and create on-line communities. Also politicians and local and central government representatives are enabled to connect with citizens through social media.

Related terms: Social Network, Social Network Analysis (SNA), Web 2.0


    Boyd, D. & Ellison, N. 2007. Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 13, 1, 210-230

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