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The effects of Social Media 

Section One : The Rise of Social Media 

What is Social Media?

The best way to describe Social Media is to take the two words and break them down to their basic meanings. Social, in it's purest form, means anything that is relating to society or its organisation. A social gathering would be a gathering organized by the members of a particular group within society. Media is the main means of mass communication (television, radio, and newspapers) regarded collectively and referred to as one. When these two come together, Social Media is created. When reffering to Social Media across web platforms, it is website or application that doesn't just give you information, but interacts with you while giving you that information. Regular media is anything that you watch , see or read which is one way; directed to you, whereas Social Media givesyou the chance to communicate too, it's a two way conversation.

What is a Social Network?
A Social Networking Service is an online service, platform, or site that focuses on building  social networks or social relations among people who, for example, share interests, activities, backgrounds, or real-life connections. A Social Network often consists of a profile where the user can frequently upload information about themselves to form an 'online identity' which can be used to interact with other people on that network. Most networks are used to connect people via email and instant messaging services. Networks also allow users to share pictures, ideas, interests and events with whoever else they feel needs to know. 


Facebook is the largest social network in the world with 950 million active users of whom 50% log in on a daily basis. So, there is no doubt that this online institution is an integral part of our lives and something that ultimately has effects on our 'off-line' lives. Some of the effects might be bigger than first presumed. 


Facebook StatisticsData
Total number of active Facebook users900 million
Total number of minutes spent on Facebook each month700 billion
Percent of all Facebook users who log on in any given day50 %
Percent of 18-34 year olds who check Facebook when they wake up48 %
Percent of 18-34 year olds who check Facebook before they get out of bed28 %
Average number of friends per facebook user130
Average number of pages, groups, and events a user is connected to80
Average number of photos uploaded per day250
Global Facebook Reach Statistics
Number of languages available on the Facebook site70
Percent of Facebook users who are outside the United States75 %
Number of users who helped translate Facebook300,000
Facebook Platform Statistics
Average number of aps installed on Facebook each day20 million
Total number of apps and websites integrated with Facebook7 million
Facebook Mobile Phone Statistics
Number of Facebook users who access the site through a mobile device350 million
Every 20 Minutes on Facebook
Links shared1 million
Friends requested2 million
Messages sent3 million

  • Worldwide, there are over 950 million Facebook users.(Source: Facebook)  What this means for you: In case you had any lingering doubts, statistically, Facebook is too big to ignore.
  • 500 million people log onto Facebook daily, which represents a 48% increase from 2010 to 2011. (Source: The Social Skinny 2012)  The Implication: A huge and vastly growing number of Facebook users are active and consistent in their visits to the site, making them a promising audience for your marketing efforts.
  • In Europe, over 223 million people are on Facebook.(Source: Search Engine Journal)  The Takeaway: This isn’t just a U.S. phenomenon – a worldwide market is available via Facebook.
  • Age 25 to 34, at 29.7% of users, is the most common age demographic. (Source:Emarketer 2012)  What this eans for you: This is the prime target demographic for many businesses’ marketing efforts, and you have the change to engage these key consumers on Facebook.
  • Five new profiles are created every second. (Source: ALLFacebook 2012)  The Implication: Your potential audience on Facebook is growing exponentially.
  • Facebook users are 53% female and 47% male. (Source: Emarketer)  The Takeaway: Since this isn’t a large statistical difference, you should be able to effectively reach both genders on Facebook.
  • Highest traffic occurs mid-week between 1 to 3 pm. (Source: blog)  How this can help you: Since you have the potential to reach more consumers and drive higher traffic to your site during peak usage times, consider this statistic in determining when todo more frequent or important status updates, offers and other posts.
  • On Thursdays and Fridays, engagement is 18% higher. (Source: blog)  The Implication: Again, use this information to determine when to post in order to optimize your social media marketing efforts.
  • There are 83 million fake profiles. (Source: CNN)  The Takeaway: Nothing is perfect, so always remain thoughtful and strategic in your efforts. Also, fake or not, these are still potential consumers. There are various reasons for fake profiles, including professionals doing testing and research, and people who want to segment their Facebook use more than is possible with one account.
  • Photo uploads total 300 million per day. (Source: Gizmodo)  The Implication: Again, this is an indication of engaged users; also, it is an indication that there are a lot of photos, as well as other information, competing for users’ attention, so target your efforts strategically.
  • Average time spent per Facebook visit is 20 minutes. (Source: Infodocket)  What this means for you: You could have a short time period to make your impression, so use it wisely with relevant, interesting and unique posts and offers in order to get the most return on your efforts.
  • Every 60 seconds on Facebook: 510 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded. (Source: The Social Skinny)  The Implication: Again, there are a lot of engaged and active users, but also a huge amount of information competing for their attention, so quality and strategy on your part matter.
  • 50% of 18-24 year-olds go on Facebook when they wake up. (Source: The Social Skinny)  What this means for you: Facebook is important to these users, and potentially, if done correctly, so is the content you post on it.
  • One in five page views in the United States occurs on Facebook. (Source: Infodocket 2012)  How this helps you: This is a huge market on the web; if you use social media marketing efforts on Facebook well, you could have huge returns to show for it.
    • 42% of marketers report that Facebook is critical or important to their business. (Source: State of Inbound Marketing 2012  The Takeaway: This is a crowded marketplace, but you can’t afford to sit it out, because odds are fairly high that your competition is there. The key is to use Facebook marketing correctly and make sure that your efforts stand out from the crowd.

    Facebook Stalking

    A new phrase has started to become popular among the modern generation of Facebook users and this is 'Facebook Stalking'. This all might seem like fun, you can add a new person, who you might or might not know in real life, onto your list of friends and you can delve deep into their lives to find out every little thing about them. It might even become a hobby. You tell your friends you've been Facebook stalking a girl and its a very normal conversation.

    However, in February 2011, the term 'Facebook Stalking' was taken to a whole new level when a 49 year old woman called Lorna Smith was found in the bedroom of her dingle flat face down in a pool of her own blood. Her throat had been slit but her ex-husband after she told him that they needed a break.

    The 49 year old man began tracking her on Facebook after they split up and he created numerous fake profiles in depth with information and photographs to make it look realistic. He managed to find out the new location of his ex-wife and pretty easily and after finding pictures of his love with another man, it didn't take long for the term 'Facebook Stalking' to lose its joke.

    While this case is extreme, people need to be aware about the serious effects of stalking through social media websites. Just because it's over Facebook, there isn't a lot of difference between visiting somebodies page a hundred times a day than standing outside of their bedroom window.

    Section 2 : The Psychology of Facebook

    With the global sensation that is Facebook growing bigger and bigger every day, one can't help but wonder what makes is such a popular Social Networking website and why is it so alluring to the masses. By looking into the Psychology behind Facebook, we can start to reveal what it is that makes it so appealing. This can be achieved by theoretically unpicking the most common activities that occur daily on the website. There is an element of Satisfaction that makes us almost addicted to Social Media, and the satisfaction comes from the approval of others... 

    Updating the Status

    The Facebook Status is one of the most common occurrences within the network with 293,000 status' being updated every 60 seconds worldwide. A status is a short line of text which is generally used to tell the world how you are feeling or what you are doing but can be used to 'shout out' anything you want to. This will then appear on the 'newsfeed' of all the people who are connected to you, within the Network. 

    You may wonder why anyone would even care about what you are doing or how you're feeling? But as social beings, we all have natural tendencies to crave connection with the rest of the world. When we send out a status, we are doing it with the knowledge that numerous people are going to acknowledge it and possibly even approve of it, which causes a heightened sense of satisfaction, even if this is all done subconsciously. Deep down, we know that our 'friends' will see whatever is written and it is this awareness that makes us want to get as much approval as possible in order to make us feel more secure in ourselves. 

    Comments & Liking

    It was found in a recent study, that the single most common activity on Facebook is commenting  on and liking other people's statuses. (

    A reason for this, could be the fact that we crave this feedback on our own status' so much, that this subconsciously makes us like what other people have to say as a sign of goodwill, knowing and hoping that this will probably be returned in some way. This is very much linking to Reciprocity, which is a common behaviour within social networks. This works in two ways; in response to friendly actions, people are generally much nicer an a lot more co-operative than initially and conversely, when hostile actions are brought upon them, they become much more brutal with their re-actions. 

    There are times when you may think that you are liking somebodies status because you genuinely found it amusing, witty or interesting, but you never know that the main reason could be on a subconscious level 


    Checking in refers to the action that a user takes when revealing their location throughout the day on a social networking site such as Facebook. This is becoming more a more popular with the rise of Smart Phones and the  on-the-go culture which means that Facebook is only a click away, no matter where our location. 

    Even though we know that our privacy is at stake, many users are willing to compromise this in order to let people aware of our location. This action is generally used in an attempt to show off to other friends that might see it online. It proves that you are doing something better than what they might be doing, again causing an unconscious constant battle. As checking-in is something that you are physically doing as well as online, it causes a sense of achievement, but also means that the user is running a risk of, in extreme cases, stalking. 

    Posting Photos

    There are over 300 million photo uploads every day and there is no better way to express and show yourself than through photographs. If we look at checking-in as a better representation of yourself than a like or status, then a photograph is the next step up. Words can be said by anybody, but a photograph is showing other users what type of person you are in the most believable sense; you can't really hide anything...

    Or can you?  Revealing photographs of ourselves, for example, in a profile image, means that we have made a conscious and very deliberate decision of how we want people to perceive us and in most cases, this is to get people to like us. We might want others to view us an intelligent, cool or humorous and we manipulate this by choosing what and what isn't shown on our profile. Even to the extent that the photographs of us online isn't a clear representation 

    The Selfie

    The 'selfie' is a term used to describe a self-portrait photograph that is often taken with an outstretched arm pointing towards yourself from an 'interesting' angle. This is then usually shared through social networking sites in order to gain the same recognition and in turn satisfaction that a status or check-in would. 

    Self-image is important, and not always in a narcissistic way. It's how we define ourselves, and present for others to see. We rely on others' perceptions, judgments and appraisals to develop our social self.

    Technology is adapting, providing us with better tools to present our self-image and the selfie allows us to manipulate the image we present of ourselves to as far as an extent as we want to.

    The profile picture or avatar is a way for people to present a certain side of themselves. It also puts the person in control of their own image.

    "I'd certainly rather post a photo I took as opposed to one someone else took most of the time,"

    Has that single chosen image become the most important representation of our online identity? It is the first place the eye is drawn to on a Facebook profile. Studies have shown that the comments on your Facebook profile picture strongly affect your level of perceived physical, social and professional attractiveness.

    One of the differences between our self-image in real life and online is more ability to change our look, and also mask our identity. Even when a person posts a photo of you on social media, you can untag, delete or modify the photo to keep social presence more consistent with the self-image you want others to see.

    Instagram is another example. Filters make any photo look more appealing than what the image actually looks like, let alone what the naked eye would've seen. There has been limited psychological study on the app, but one in particular showed active users were concerned with both personal production and social reception. A combined search of various hashtags, such as #selfie, #self and #selfportrait, will produce millions of results.


    Social Media : A website or application that doesn't just give you information, but interacts with you while giving you that information.

    Social Network :  An online service, platform, or site that focuses on building  social networks or social relations among people who, for example, share interests, activities, backgrounds, or real-life connections.

    Selfie : a self-portrait photograph that is usually taken with one outstretched hand, pointing the camera towards yourself.

    Facebook :  The largest social network in the world, with 950 million active users.

    Facebook Status : a short line of text which is generally used to tell the world how you are feeling or what you are doing but can be used to 'shout out' anything you want to. 

    Checking-in : Revelling the physical location you are in the world on a social networking website. 

    Reciprocity : A behaviour within Social Networks  :  In response to friendly actions, people are generally much nicer an a lot more co-operative than initially and conversely, when hostile actions are brought upon them, they become much more brutal with their re-actions. 

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