You are on page 1of 14

Institutions Analysis:

SOCIAL MEDIA

ALYSSA CAPILI
HISTORY

Evolution of social media has been largely tied to


advancements in technology

1930s: the very beginning of social media in offline


form
Notificators: robot message boards installed in public places
in London
For a small fee, one could post a message that would be
displayed on a window for a few hours so that the intended
person would have time to see it
http://blog.modernmechanix.com/robot-messenger-displays-person-to-person-notes-in-public/
HISTORY

1950s: social media evolves on [telephone] line


Hackers of telephone lines use corporate voicemail systems to host
blogs and podcasts
Late 1970s early 1980s: social media transitions online
Online discussions born that created online news

1990s: birth of social media as we know it today


1991: World Wide Web becomes publicly available on August 6
1997: SixDegrees, the first modern social network, launches
2000s: many social media sites we used to use or still use
today are created
Friendster, LinkedIn, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.
Social Media Today

Now at the tips of everyones


fingers
Anyone with a smart device and a
Twitter account can post news
online
Sensationalized news

People are drawn to exciting and over exaggerated headlines, causing a


positive feedback loop wherein news sources create sensationalized news to
gain viewers
Unchanged features:
Intent on getting information out where it is more accessible to large
groups of people
Focus on facilitating communication between people
Perceptions of Social Media
Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Clay Shirky, consultant and
Facebook teacher on social and economic
No one has done a study on this, as effect of Internet technologies
far as I can tell, but I think Facebook
might be the first place where a large
Our social tools are not an
number of people have come out. improvement to modern society,
We didnt create thatsociety was they are a challenge to it.
generally ready for that. I think this
is just part of the general trend that
we talked about, about society being
more open, and I think thats good.
Perceptions of Social Media

Despite any negative views society may have about


social media, 78% of the U.S. population has a social
media profile, which means majority must find value
in it
Percentage of U.S. population with a social network
profile from 2008 to 2016

https://www.statista.com/statistics/273476/percentage-of-us-population-with-a-social-network-profile/
SOCIOLOGICAL ANALYSES

FUNCTIONALIST THEORY
CONFLICT THEORY
Functionalist Theory

Functionalists would focus on social medias


function in society
Throughout the years, social media has
evolved to serve a variety of functions within
society, introducing a new means of social
interaction
Communication, information spreading,
newsgathering, entertainment, etc.
Functionalist Theory

Through the functionalist perspective, sociologists


would view social media as helping society to better
function with a more efficient means of
communication
Conflict Theory

Conflict theorists would look at the power struggle


created by social media with an emphasis on the
media aspect of social media
The elite have control over the media and what
information is distributed on social media
They use this control to
underreport issues that
are unimportant to them
Conflict Perspective

Media bias bias of journalists and news produces


within the mass media in the selection of events and
stories that are reported and how they are covered
Despite society as a whole being more diversified, much of our
news centers around what is interesting to the white middle- to
upper-class majority
Example: In the news, white men are often referred to as
gunmen in cases where they do the same exact things as
Muslim men deemed terrorists
This often imperceptible bias in the media creates a larger-scale
bias in our societys perception of Muslim men vs. white men
Conclusion

Both the Functionalist Theory and the Conflict Theory bring to light
important benefits and drawbacks of social media as a social institution.
While the media aspect of it does serve some populations better than
others, focusing on news that caters to the white majority of viewers and
perpetuates biases of society, the social aspect of social media gives
everyone a voice. This is especially relevant now, with a president who has
declared war on the media and its attempt to reports the facts. Examples
of both media bias but also social progress and action as a result happen
almost daily. Just as quickly as some attempt to defend alternative facts,
others are taking to social media and even to the streets to protest the
oppressive government.

This is social media working in the eyes of both theories, moving us


[hopefully] towards change for a better society.
Works Cited

Percentage of U.S. population with a social network profile from 2008 to 2016. Statista The Statistics Portal. Web.
<https://www.statista.com/statistics/273476/percentage-of-us-population-with-a-social-network-profile/>. Accessed
03 Feb. 2017.
Raskoff, Sally. Harrys Law, The Girls, and the Media Marketplace. Web log post. Everyday Sociology Blog. W. W.
Norton & Company, Inc., 16 Jan, 2017. Web. 26 Jan, 2017.
Sternheimer, Karen. New Media Revolution. Web log post. Everyday Sociology Blog. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.,
16 Jan, 2017. Web. 26 Jan, 2017.
Vargas, Jose A. "The Face of Facebook." The New Yorker. 20 Sept. 2010. Web.
<http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/09/20/the-face-of-facebook>. Accessed 03 Feb. 2017.
Waskey, Andrew J. "Evolution of Social Media." Encyclopedia of Social Media and Politics, edited by Kerric Harvey, vol.
1, SAGE Reference, 2014, pp. 481-486. Gale Virtual Reference Library, <login.ezp.pasadena.edu/login?
url=http://go.galegroup.com.ezp.pasadena.edu/ps/i.do?p=GVRL&sw=w&u=pasa19871&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE
%7CCX3708500202&asid=2f04cc28e3e7046937091afd6399a4cf>. Accessed 31 Jan. 2017.
Weaver, Lauren. "The Impact of Social Media." Phys.org - News and Articles on Science and Technology. N.p., 24 Sept.
2014. Web. <https://phys.org/news/2014-09-impact-social-media.html>. Accessed 03 Feb. 2017.
Why White Men Are Gunmen and Muslim Men Are Terrorists. The Huffington Post. 02 Dec. 2016. Web.
<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/craig-considine/why-white-men-are-gunmen-_b_8704740.html>. Accessed 03 Feb.
2017.
Wynn, Jonathan. "Sociology, Science, and Fake News." Web log post. Everyday Sociology Blog. W. W. Norton &
Company, Inc., 16 Jan. 2017. Web. 26 Jan. 2017.
Zhang, Weiwu, and Sherice Gearhart. "Social Capital." Encyclopedia of Social Media and Politics, edited by Kerric
Harvey, vol. 3, SAGE Reference, 2014, pp. 1138-1141. Gale Virtual Reference Library, login.ezp.pasadena.edu/login?
url=http://go.galegroup.com.ezp.pasadena.edu/ps/i.do?p=GVRL&sw=w&u=pasa19871&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE
%7CCX3708500492&asid=29960e53a0d649a161e542215acf2915. Accessed 31 Jan. 2017.