Social Media

Authored by: Gabriel Pérez Salazar

The Routledge Handbook to the Culture and Media of the Americas

Print publication date:  March  2020
Online publication date:  March  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138479821
eBook ISBN: 9781351064705
Adobe ISBN:


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The term social media refers to the group of internet-based platforms in which a user creates a public or semi-public profile (Boyd and Ellison 2007) which is then used to establish a diversity of relationships with other users. These info-communicative relationships are made possible thanks to resources for interaction and incorporated hypertext language built into the platform itself (→ Telecommunications, III/42). One of their principal characteristics resides in the fact that practically all of the content that circulates within it is generated by users themselves. This means that the service provider tends to be limited to design, maintenance, operation and the commercial exploitation of its technological infrastructure. As studies by the PEW Internet Project Life (Lenhart et al. 2010; Perrin 2015), Torre and Vaillard (2012), and Statista (2018a) show, social media use in the Americas varies little from country to country. By studying the platforms which have the highest penetration in the region, it is possible to observe habits having to do with socialization, business, information (→ Journalism, III/32), social mobilization (→ Social Movements, I/41), communication (→ Political Communication, II/42), and education (→ I/24) to name just a few. Researchers in the Americas who study these types of online services emphasize the economic-political structures to which they belong as well as their potential for the development of strategies of communication in the realms of business and politics. These patterns too, are similar from country to country.

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