Social Media

  1. definition
  2. examples and/or illustrations
  3. other useful sources
  4. bibliography


Social Media has been defined as a form of electronic communication, whether it may be websites for social networking and micro blogging, in which users can create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages and other content (as videos or personal preference information such as videos (Merriam-Webster,2014)


Another way Social Media is defined is that it is the means of interaction among people in which they create, share and or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks (Tufts University,2014).


An alternative way in defining social media through General MacArthur of the Army would be “the way that information is passed across societies and around the world. The rapid spread of blogs, social networking sites and media-sharing technology (such as YouTube), aided by the proliferation of mobile technology (Mayfield, 2011)


Smith defines Social Media as Social technologies that have enabled a revolution in user generated content, global community and the publishing of consumer opinion (Smith, 2009).


A unique definition by Sheila Allison has defined social media as young people, popular culture and digital technology now have strong associations through MP3 Players, games, the internet, digital film and television, mobile phones and apps. These commercial connections, however can go beyond passive consumption and creation of entertainment and move towards expressions of and demand for, societal and political change (Allison,2013).


Examples and/or Illustrations

We have already seen a degree of this in the use of social media during the “Arab spring” movements of 2011, but nowhere is the demographic strength of this generational potential more obvious than in China. (Allison, 2013, pg.69).

This particular example is emphasizing the debate around the Arab Springs and how social Media became heavily involved.  The Arab Springs to clarify is a term used for the revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests, riots and civil war that began around 2010.

The Arab Spring issue was considered the first collective movement after the internet and social media revolution that were seen to portray future movements by the Arab Springs. During revolutions it is a big deal for information to be spread around the world so when factors of Social Media started affecting public opinion, wide spread messaging started to occur and the fact that individuals could receive information globally. Incidents like violent protests and movements always get glamorized in a way in the media that make them more attractable to the average citizen to listen too and develop an opinion about.

Just as machine guns, tanks, and aircraft changed the nature of conflicts, so did the telegraph, radio television, and eventually the Internet. The advances today in the information world, specifically with the advent of social media and new media, may prove as profound as any of these inventions.

As mentioned before, the way information travels the world and lets people know of conflict happening around the globe, just the way machine guns, tanks and aircraft are changing the way conflict is being held, social media is going to constantly change the way this conflict is portrayed with the different technologies being introduced such as the internet. Changes in technology all play a part in warfare because of communication going global and for technology getting more competitive.

Social Media is about conversations, community, connecting with the audience and building relationships. It is not just a broadcast channel or a sales or marketing tool.

Many people think that the media just stops at television or the news; however the media is all around us, what we engage in, what we engage with and what we see on a daily basis. The media now slowly is all about communication and how the world transports information to each othe via different mediums, and we need to understand that conversation and connecting with the public is the most important in todays day and area, whether it is regarding a severe event or something small.

Social media include popular examples such as: Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit,cp24.com,Google

An online social media presence can be an integral part of understanding the issues and attitudes in a neighborhood or community. An online presence can play a major role in living among the people in a society that has a significant online community. Social media would certainly not be the only tool used by commander, however they could enable commanders, to understand environments and allow them to have better situational awareness of these environments (Mayfield, 2011, pg. 69),

The importance of establishing an online community is really important in today’s day and era because establishing connections, and establishing those norms and values with people online is not only self fulfilling but important to have an audience nowadays to publish your personal information and communication for. Social media can give access to information for people that may not have that access on a normal basis and information depending on what you’re looking for (statistics, warfare, and general country knowledge) can all be used by people globally.


Other Useful Sources

Fiske, J. 2009, ‘The popular economy’, in Cultural theory and popular culture: A reader, 4th edn, ed. J. Storey, Pearson Education, Essex, pp.564-80. Retrieved from http://books.google.ca/books?hl=en&lr=&id=LZ7mHdAVajYC&oi=fnd&pg=PA55&ots=ej56LqjFVQ&sig=0qTVAy_ncVeZSVcgU2nLBcxJbsU#v=onepage&q&f=false

Storck, M. 2011, ‘The role of social media in political mobilization: A case study of the January 2011 Egyptian uprising’, MA thesis, University of St Andrews, Scotland, December. Retrieved from http://www.culturaldiplomacy.org/academy/content/pdf/participant-papers/2012-02-bifef/The_Role_of_Social_Media_in_Political_Mobilisation_-_Madeline_Storck.pdf

Heather,Kelly (2012,August 30th). Police embrace social media as crime-fighting tool. CNN Tech. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/30/tech/social-media/fighting-crime-      social-media/

Greer, Chris.2007, News Media, Victims and Crime. Sage Publications.Pages 21-45. Retrieved from http://www.uk.sagepub.com/stout/greer_news_media%20-%20vic_crime_soc.pdf



ALLISON, S. (2013). Youth and the (potential) power of social media. Youth Studies Australia32(3), 69-75.

Hess, K., & Waller, L. (2014). The digital pillory: media shaming of ‘ordinary’ people for minor crimes. Continuum: Journal Of Media & Cultural Studies28(1), 101-111. doi:10.1080/10304312.2013.854868

Mayfield,Thomas. (2011). A commanders strategy for Social Media. Joint Doctorine,pgs79-83. Retrieved from http://www.info-opseurope.com/uploadedFiles/EventRedesign/UK/2012/June/11591006/Assets/A-            Commander’s Strategy-for-Social-Media—By-Thomas-D.-Mayfield-III.pdf

Not Available.(2014).What is social media. Retrieved from http://webcomm.tufts.edu/social-media-            overview13/

Smith, Tom. (2009). The Social Media Revolution. International Journal of Market Research Vol.51 Issue 4. Pgs 559-561

Social Media. (n.d.) In Merriam-Webster online. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/social%20media

Other related terms

Moral Panic- An intense feeling shared by a group or a population about an issue that threatens the social order of a society (e.g. Muslim war on terror)

Cyber Crime- Also referred to as Computer crime is any  crime that involves mainly a computer or a large network

Stereotyping- Taking thoughts about certain assumptions of a particular group and applying it towards them, these thoughts however may not always be right or realistic

Terrorism- a consistent use of violence as a means of coercion for political purposes, violent acts that are supposed to inflict fear or terror to people

Case law

Unfortunately because of how broad and abstract the term Social Media is, it is quite difficult  and unrealistic to examine Social Media that has been implemented or reinforced in Canadian history because of its continuing evolution.