Social Media (SM) research is a relatively new area of academic inquiry; thus, it finds itself in constant flux. Researchers have primarily centered their efforts on learning more about what SM is as a phenomenon. Researchers have also aimed to understand the specific features and characteristics SM users may have, such as their socioeconomic status or the link between individual personality traits and SM use. A growing section of the literature addresses the historic background and definitions of social network sites, as well as the specific features of microblogging (i.e., Twitter) as a media platform. This article also addresses particular differences found in the literature dealing with blogs and citizen journalism, SM and various communication theories, and finally SM and its relationship with modern democracies. Overall, there is a paucity of SM literature explaining all its potential and plausible effects. Nevertheless, the proportion of papers published revolving around these issues in the last few years is a fair reflection of their growing importance, as it indicates how well received this type of research has been among academics from different disciplines. Likewise, the growth of literature in this area should be expected to remain steady for quite some time. SM has emerged as a prolific and important area of research that affects many aspects of citizens’ daily lives, ranging from citizen-to-citizen communication to the ways people consume products and information and to larger media effects over citizens (i.e., political and civic behaviors).
Article. 6778 words.
Subjects: Communication Studies
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