Social Media: Organizations, Corporations, and Movements


In 2013, Netflix, posted on Facebook, that its’ “…streaming-video company had exceeded one billion hours in a month for the first time, sending the firm’s shares higher.” ( declaration caused a stir with The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) who went on to investigate the risk-factors of companies disseminating sensitive information on social media sites and whether that would affect certain investors or shareholders. Fortunately, for the companies seeking to drive the market forward, the SEC ultimately concluded that it would be alright for companies to use social media sites as a form of “news feed” in communicating with their shareholders/investors so long as they knew where to look for those postings. Companies like Dell and eBay (much like Netflix) utilize social media platforms (specifically Twitter) to announce and communicate with their shareholders on earnings and other key financial points. This allows for an open system with their investors/shareholders and facilitates real-time and up-to-date reports that enables them to better understand their customer base and user interactions on social media sites. “An increasing number of public companies are using social media to communicate with their shareholders and the investing public,” the SEC said in its report Tuesday. “We appreciate the value and prevalence of social media channels in contemporary market communications, and the commission supports companies seeking new ways to communicate.” (

It is a smart strategy for companies to announce profit margins and the increase of revenues to the public on social media sites, because from an advertisement standpoint, the message they are sending out to both the public and their investors/shareholders is, “This is who we are, this is what we have to offer, and we’re growing…invest in us.” This increases more revenues. Bottom line (no pun intended).

More so, social media sites can better illustrate and depict a company’s identity, by giving it a voice and a face on our mainstream and contemporary social avenue. When CEO’s of companies leave comments on Twitter, and when users can have access to Facebook company websites, this enables and encourages a user to engage in a relational approach with companies. There are great pay-offs to this; “Not only can a strategic, well-executed social presence lead to increased revenue, new business development opportunities and other ROI-worthy outcomes, research also shows that executives who use social media are viewed as more trustworthy. And the same can probably be said of the companies they lead.” (

Trustworthiness is a key point here, and by having an active social media presence you are inviting the public to be an active participant-observant in the company’s growth and mission…a shared experience. Social media is an inclusive, non-insular world, built on social interactions and social relationships…companies would be hard pressed to succeed outside the social graph. Social media is a contemporary socialization phenomena and it’s far-reaching in scope with its social graph. It’s the marketplace and the companies know this. So a company brand must have a face in the social media world in order to form relations with its target audience and survive.


▪ 14.4% of companies communicate with shareholders via social media.

▪ 23% of Fortune 500 companies have a corporate blog.

▪ 62% of Fortune 500 companies have an active corporate Twitter account and have tweeted in the last              30 days.

▪ Fortune 500 companies with the highest number of Twitter followers include Google, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Southwest Airlines, The Washington Post, Verizon Wireless, Coca-Cola and McDonalds.

▪ 58 percent of Fortune 500 companies have a corporate Facebook page, with Insurance, Specialty Retail (apparel, home, appliances, and furniture) and Food Production, Services and Drug Store categories leading the way.

Furthermore, when organizations like the healthcare industry maintain an active presence online and are integrated in the social media landscape in a significant way; they stand to accomplish communication and information sharing that can benefit clinical outcomes, speed of innovation, and consumer attraction.

Also, in a no less than obvious assertion, as Westerners, we are more than ever reliant on the worldwide web for health information and medical advice than ever before; particularly for those without any medical insurance or the means to have a primary physician. But how much of that information out there is accurate and not misleading? When a medical advice is distributed via Twitter or Facebook, it runs the risk of being unsubstantiated knowledge based merely on a hunch. This is why healthcare organizations are beginning to see the importance of mediating factual and essential medical advice by way of social media as people’s approach to their own health is brought into question. There is also urgency for healthcare organizations to move fast and not wait too long to implement social media initiatives, because of the wealth of conversations among 18 to 24 year olds (the most active age group) regarding healthcare advice that exists on social media sites. Healthcare organizations would benefit to draw that populace into its own hands and steer them in the right direction of sound and viable professional advice and assessments. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota has taken such initiative and measures, by using “…social media to get patients to become better advocates for their own care. Mayo Clinic’s philosophy of its social media is as follows: “Mayo Clinic believes individuals have the right and responsibility to advocate for their own health, and that it is our responsibility to help them use social media tools to get the best information, connect with providers and with each other, and inspire healthy choices.” ( Social media for this hospital helps to aid their organizations larger goals. Mayo clinic also has built a stellar online presence with their use of social media because they take into account the consumer’s needs. They understand the need for trustworthiness and consistency in a consumer. Their brand logo and colors are always consistent and present on all of their social media sites and webpage; and they are always ready to answer questions, which makes them accessible. They have built a value system and a positive rapport with their consumers that has translated into new business with new consumers through social media sites (Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter).

Healthcare organizations have also used social media to enhance their marketing tactics, branding, and recruitment purposes. Not to mention, it is also used by hospitals to communicate with patients form the past, present, and future. But most importantly, they have been utilized to have a presence.

“Many oncologists now have a presence on Twitter. They share valuable and credible information on cancer news and clinical trials. They also make themselves available to answer questions and provide general guidance to the public. Many participate in discussion forums that include patients and advocates that attract millions of impressions. Doctors are also teaming up with professional foundations to moderate Twitter “chats” to answer questions from the public.” (


▪ More than 40% of consumers say that information found via social media affects the way they deal with their health.

▪ 18 to 24 year olds are twice more likely than 45 to 54 year olds to use social media for health-related discussions.

▪ Parents are more likely to seek medical answers online, 22% use Facebook and 20% use YouTube. Of non-parents, 14% use Facebook and 12% use YouTube to search for health care related topics.

▪ The most accessed online resources for health related information are: 56% searched WebMD, 31% on Wikipedia, 29% on health magazine websites, 17% used Facebook, 15% used YouTube, 13% used a blog or multiple blogs, 12% used patient communities, 6% used Twitter and 27% used none of the above.

▪ 26% of all hospitals in the US participate in social media.

▪ 41% of people said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility.


Lastly, social media has become a powerful tool for social movement. It has become an entity of sorts, an eyewitness account, a representative of the people, and a judicial voice of truth. When a user creates content as simple as an IPhone recording of say a police brutality on the streets, this raises a social consciousness in the social media sphere for those who have accessed this uploaded video. Recently circulating in the news and in the social media sphere, was the case of Michael Brown, a resident of the state of Missouri who was executed by a cop in the suburbs of St. Louis. He was unarmed when he was shot to death. Traditional media in this instance, addressed the incident with less than passionate details of the events. They reported that non-lethal firing of pellets were administered to protestors, yet pictures taken and uploaded to Twitter by bystanders, illustrated a different story of pepper balls and wooden pellets that caused a bloody scene. One local educator at the scene posted a picture unto her Twitter account and “…wrote on Twitter that she was “devastated” by the use of “tanks, tear gas, rubber bullets, hand launchers, and sheer intimidation of county police.” (

The benefits of social media as a medium to translate real-time events like this incident, is that it holds a candle to truth, a transparency that can initiate an effort to right the wrongs of society and hold those responsible for wrong doing, accountable for their actions. It also helps to bring to question the integrity of traditional media outlets like broadcast news that often takes the low road and presents the accounts of an incident with half-truths or downgrade its severity and gravity. News outlets for instance, posted pictures of Brown holding a sign where some audience members thought of it as a peace sign, while others felt it looked more like a gang sign. This distortion of meaning by traditional media outlets only confuses those viewing and in some cases paints in the minds of viewers a narrative that black people in America are gang affiliated.

“In a recent Guardian column Newsnight economic editor Paul Mason argued that: “With Facebook, Twitter and Yfrog truth travels faster than lies, [sic] and propaganda is inflammable.” (

“Gordon Brown seized upon the communicative potential of the Internet as something that would rehabilitate the doctrine of humanitarian intervention, telling the Guardian in 2009: “You cannot have Rwanda again because information would come out far more quickly about what is actually going on and the public opinion would grow to the point where action would need to be taken”.” (

So, social media sites like Twitter for example, allows organizers and activists to combat these social issues. They also facilitate a means for activists and supporters to communicate the events of a protest and belay any potential issues that would allow them to reassess or reorganize efforts. Social media sites also provide a means to strengthen relationships among activists and supporters of the cause, reinforcing the need for the struggle and standing by it. It inspires and rejuvenates a centralization and solidarity; a push factor for continual mobilization.


Social Media Relationships and Interactions and Their Downsides


Is social media “dumbing down” society? Think about it.


The only thing I see in their relationship to each other, is that they share a common interest in their cell phones and their disregard for each other. Isolated and self-involved, wouldn’t they just be better off being alone with themselves? So much art around them, you think it may have inspired some thread of discussion. They might be sitting near each other in proximity but there is no obvious human contact.


Social media, no doubt, has helped to exacerbate the existing status quo that is associated with the modernity of Western Civilization family dynamics. What was once a commonality, a binding thread of the proverbial “sit down dinner”, with the gathering of a family unit and the sharing of their daily events; it now seems something of the past. Within the framework of “quality time”, the values of familial solidarity and the reinforcement of kinship from dinner gathering, has lost its social value in this present age. Although a generalization to some extent, everything now is about being on the go, on the run, about the self. Technologies with social media on the helm have only reinforced and aided this truth, while undermining the benefits of traditional socialization.

As part of my endeavor to better understand the influence of social media on interactions, relationships, and family dynamics, I sought the opinions of fellow co-workers (Cater Waiters at The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx) who represent a wide range of ethnic, religious, and sexual orientations and are of various age groups, in order to get a more global/ holistic perspective. With that said, I have chosen to give them pseudonyms in order to preserve a state of anonymity when quoting them in this blog.

Moving on, there is a significant loss of meaning within Western culture that has been promulgated by the advances of social media platforms into our daily activities. I remember a time for example, not long ago, when eating dinner as a family unit or going camping, was a ritual practice that promoted the idea of unity and the value that we placed on the importance of human interaction. This in turn, would require a reciprocal exchange of a shared experience; an openness to allow another in and give of one’s time in return. Unfortunately, with the emergence and integration of social media there has been a real rift and pulling away from these “notions of the past”. It seems social media has redefined the laws of interaction in our modern Western culture; as the edicts of socialization are now predicated on whether or not you are linked or connected to a global network. Since the advent of social media, there has been an infringement on the traditional ways of relational human interaction; and under the pressure of this new competing ideology of e-relational human interaction, the modernity of Western culture is now undergoing a rapid transformation. I could speak at length of all the things knowable that suggest and verify the benefits of social media, such as real time Skype human interaction with relatives that are on another continent or the rekindling of lost loved ones by way of Facebook, or even the gains made by an expanded social graph that pay great dividends to career placement and advancements by virtue of networking, or at most basic; the gathering and distribution of information. But what I like to turn my focus to, are the more negative implications of social media and its impact on family dynamics and socialization through e-relations.

At this present moment I sit here at a café in The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, typing away on this blog, only to be distracted by a middle aged father, a grandmother, and a young boy (who I assume is no more than seven years old), sit together in silence as they feast on their lunch. The grandmother with an air of humility and quiet resolution eats her salad, but nonetheless is an attentive mother to her son when on rare occasion he engages in “speak”. But this real presence and reality of shared experience in my eyes, is really juxtaposed by the overt display of the son’s engagement and interaction between him and his android. Fixed on his cartoon there is a real sense of displaced emotions and a “hollowness” that permeates the family dynamics in this scenario. I see the “hollowness” mostly emanating from the grandmother, who seems fixed or obligated to accommodate the needs of her grandchild and her son. “Plugged in” and “connected”, the grandchild is adrift into that wonderland of the SELF, which is something of a norm now in our culture today, but when it is mirrored by the meaning of something more substantial like a grandmother who brings the whole of herself into the picture; with life experiences that can be shared and passed unto her grandchild, one cannot help but to feel the gravity of the loss of meaning and the demise of the grandmother’s status within her own family, who by virtue of time and technology has become her undoing. Cater HK stated, that whenever she has her grandchildren come over for a visit, and she goes to answer the door, they march right pass her with their eyes fixated on their gadgets or phones without really taking her in and saying “hello”. She has dealt with feelings of inadequacy, and a sense of lost. Whenever she tries to engage in the lives of her grandchildren they are more apt to disengage and quickly turn to their relations formed with those on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. She also stated she’s felt undignified and disrespected by the lack of reciprocal exchange associated with the etiquettes and courtesies of traditional human relationships, that she feels is devoid in her grandchildren. As a direct result of this, she is now faced with a sense of hopelessness and lack of purpose. Traditional human relational interactions once dictated that our elders held a level of respectability and authority (a reverence of sorts) for their ability to impart wisdom on others, but now that status has diminished in scope. “Anyone who wants to communicate in person is fast becoming a minority. More people love their machines than they do other people. These devices are a convenient moat separating people from human contact. Machines help them escape into a world where they feel safe and where other humans increasingly play a secondary role. Human contact in today’s world is fast becoming a memory.” (

Social media in many ways has been pivotal in enhancing the ego of the user at hand; it inflates a sense of worth and it enables the user to forge an identity or reinvent one in lieu of being themselves, and caught up in that world where they are accepted by the many likes they receive on Facebook or the friending of another, they become easily attached to social media in general. Their reality and their sense of identity is shaped by the platforms of social media and not molded by the traditional human interactions that would have been afforded them if they were not wholly engaged in social media for approval, guidance, or the bonding of commonalities through a social network. Cater BB stated, “It’s an easy way out from the expectations we are born into.” Perhaps this is a truly insightful statement to consider. Are many of us resorting to social media as a means to defy the expectations of what our parents or society deems as appropriate behavior or social etiquettes? Is social media a way to really paint a world more closely related to our desires which can in turn as some horror stories have shown, deviate from the social norms into areas of taboo that satisfy our need for complete abandonment without any repercussions? There was a case in which a couple of victims befell a great tragedy at a hands of a predator who according to prosecutors, “…Melchert-Dinkel met two alleged victims in online chat rooms where he posed as a concerned female nurse, using such pseudonyms as “Li Dao” or “Cami.” Melchert-Dinkel allegedly struck suicide pacts with his correspondents, who then followed through.” (

Here is a sad case, where relations formed on social media can be life threatening and how people manipulate their identity to live out sick fantasies. Cyber bullying is another example of social media as implement of transference of hate and harm. How much of social media content is being regulated? When cases like these exist, how can we not concede to a system of monitoring activities on social media platforms? People put great emotional stock into the relationships formed online and in a way like animism, the projecting of a soul unto inanimate objects and material; social media platforms and technologies have reached a high level of religiosity among their users who can spend hours upon hours on their sites in a single day and who judge their presence (validity of existence) in the world by their ability to be constantly “linked”, “in the loop”, or “connected” (the irony of this is lol) to the world, and not “missing out” by their constant interaction with those platforms. Cater XX stated, “My boyfriend, gets upset when he loses a follower.” His boyfriend who has over two thousand followers is intrinsically attached to his Facebook, religiously, and it holds value to him, that his self-worth should be measured by it. To me, it seems that social media has become exploited and integrated into the family social dynamics to such a degree that it has stymied the flow of communication and bonding that is relevant for forming substantial relationships based on the principle that the presence of life and living beings in conjunction with interaction is highly important and valuable. It disrupts that flow and makes one to internalize their feelings rather than to be in the present moment.


According to Cater XX: When he was hospitalized and undergoing chemotherapy for the treatment of cancer, he got a Facebook message sent to him, by those he loved, instead of a visit or a phone call. He said, what he needed most was for them to show up in person and comfort him. “With social media it has become so easy to keep your distance and act like you’re in touch, when you are not-it’s impersonal.”(Cater XX) Have we lost meaning with one another?

Cater YY: A mother of three, with Christian values, and a sense of tradition, explained to me that one of her young boys over dinner, said “lol mom”, in response to something he thought funny. When she asked him, what he meant by lol, he said, “laugh out loud, duh”. She in turn, dismayed by his lack of expression, retorted by saying to him, “When you think something is funny, you laugh, you don’t say lol.” Does she have point? Have we substituted are ability to share in the human expressions of laughter, which according to Cater YY, is the best source of medicine, for hollow responses? Are we allowing ourselves to shorten our ability to exchange deep and meaningful interactions by developing acronyms in order to drive the point across? Are we not essentially curtailing the other from full engagement and self-expression in the physical patterns that is explicit say in the “belly laughter”, because we have opted to express laughter as lol. In my opinion Lol is (loss of laughter). Actual laughter when shared draws people together, it gives it a meaningful shared experience. “…there are people of Y-generation who have spoken less but typed more, who have express less but used emoticons more to replace there [sic] emotions. Technology has surpassed our human interactions.” (

What is alarming is that statistics and research suggest that children are being deferred to by parents on what technologies to purchase. They drive the market. They are raising themselves. And do kids know what is good for them? Are they not misguided by media sources? “This is a world in which kids are very much in control of consumption,” said Stacey Matthias, founder of New York-based research firm Insight Strategy Group, speaking at the Launch Kids conference at Digital Book World 2014 in New York.

Parents are deferring to children more often when it comes to media purchase decisions, according to Matthias. Four years after the introduction of the iPad, children now have access to multiple devices in the home and they are more connected with each other through social media than any time in history. Through that access and connectivity, they share a tremendous amount of information on what they want to do what they’re always doing, according to Matthias, “Kids are always doing the work of growing up.”( Are we not essentially allowing our children to re-educate our minds, and alter our culture when we bestow the reigns for them to do so. Have we lost responsibility on this matter; on our kids? Kids now wield greater power than they ever did before because of their early initiation and integration with modern technology and the information highway that comes with it. Of course we cannot hide things from our children but shouldn’t parents and elders be better informed about the benefits and “not so” benefits of the influence of technologies and social media before their children are indoctrinated into that world? There needs to be constant research, monitoring, detection, and awareness of advancements and trends, before parents lose all power and control to children that can lose their way. If we aren’t too late already.



Economics of Social Media


Social media platforms in conjunction with economics is about the relationship between social media platforms and their users content with the companies that maximize the access of user’s personal information in order to shape, modify, and adapt their brand strategy to turn a profit. Recently, Facebook signed a controversial deal with WhatsApp, a company that has a large, young, and loyal user membership base, and in which, comparatively speaking; stands alone as unique and novel than any other social media platform because of its text messaging, picture and video sending services that are offered for free. Is this a smart investment on the part of Facebook? Does it hold any economic value? It seems to me that it does. Since companies are about branding their ideas and selling their concepts to a target audience, and ad targeting is the mechanism by which they accomplish this task, then it would behoove them to allocate a link that would supply them with concrete data that can discern the “wants” and “needs” of its potential target audience and thus drive their brand forward in the most effective and cost-effective manner. WhatsApp, a mecca for data information through text messaging, is exactly this. It is a marketing/advertising firm’s dream for its gateway to the “knowable” of existing trends and the imaginings of a material culture. WhatsApp processes 50 billion messages a day, and with that comes a plethora of information that can be useful to companies in order to strategize their ad content and effectively sell their ideas to its potential target audience. Although WhatsApp deletes messages once they have been delivered because of it privacy issues, Facebook, which already operates anonymously in accumulating data information that offers insights and trends to brands could potentially circumvent this issue by scanning the information before it is deleted and then attaching it a user’s persona page for ads targeting. To quote Mark Schaefer, “Let’s say a new movie preview comes out and the studio pays Facebook for an analysis of the buzz coming through WhatsApp text messages. Facebook scans the messages for volume and sentiment before deleting them and delivers a real-time report to the studio before the moviegoers have even reached their cars to go home.” (


It’s a relationship built on mutual economic interests; whereby one hand feeds the other. It’s a win-win situation. In utilizing WhatsApp data information, Facebook not only potentially increases revenue for advertising companies but it also becomes the model for successful advertising. Thus they are sought after for ad placements by major companies, and increasing their revenue pool. Bret Holmes, the director of Money Morning E-Commerce, stated in an article (How Do Social Media Companies Make Money?) written by Tara Clarke on, that,”… the key to unlocking value for social media companies is successful advertising models. Social media companies are legitimate advertising websites, no different than, say, Google or Yahoo. The same way Google made its money is the same way Twitter and Facebook will make their money”. (

With Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp it will become this successful model for advertisement, because of what WhatsApp could do for them through its vast user network and the incredible personal data of information that can potentially be related to companies that are willing to pay for that information. But it’s a two way street, as the rise of revenues in the billions show, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter rely on revenues from ad placements linked to their newsfeeds or on individual posts for the fruition of their company’s growth and sustainability in the global market. Which is why it is no big surprise these social media empires are quick to jump on “golden” opportunities (i.e. WhatsApp) to build on the strategic points on which the economics of social media is built on, as asserted by Mark Schaefer: “1) Obtaining more users, and then increasing the amount of personal information collected about those users that can be turned into targeted ads, and 2) Getting users to spend increasing amounts of time on these platforms so they can see more ads.” (

As a side note, companies who are engaged with social media have proven that there is a direct correlation between profit and social media. In a 2009 report of the 2008 Business Week/Interbrand Top 100 brands that were studied, indicated that social media had an impact on their profit making (bottom line). Engagement is a key to success! Brands that sought out the avenue for ad targeting on social media platforms were more than likely to squash their competition who did not utilize social media as a tool to meet their bottom line. The report also showed that during recession, ad targeting on social media still brought in significant revenue, and brands saw increase of revenue by 18% over a year’s growth while those least engaged saw revenues losses of 6%. (

To me the most successful and inspiring of stories are the companies who build on a concept of emotional capital as a means to gain success with social media. There is an honesty and integrity for building on a communication base between community and brand. The economic value for such a relationship can be staggering, as exemplified by Stein Ove Fenne, President of U.S and Canada Tupperware Brands Corporation; who used Facebook in a personal and intimate way to showcase his personality and brand in a relatable and authentic way. He was building on the notion of emotional capital—an investment of sorts. “Emotional capital is the aggregate feeling of goodwill that people have towards their community,” said Shipilov. “Authenticity is the feeling of trust that people have towards the leader of the community that is being organized through social media technology.” (

How did he do this? Well, he went about using “soccer moms’ as his consultants for his Tupperware brand, and then conceptualized and developed a radio show program titled “The Tupperware Radio Show” (webcast programs) that showcased these soccer moms who participated and post comments on Facebook, while hosted the program. By doing this, he essentially formed a trusting and open relationship with his target audience and consequently during the weekend of his broadcast show his brand began generating great revenues.



What is a Social Graph?



The social graph is a concept. It is not a traditional graph so to speak, but a data structure. According to Mark Zuckerberg the CEO of Facebook, “It draws an edge between you and the people, places, and things you interact with online.” (

For example, if two or more individuals enjoy skydiving, then this common interest forms a network among those who share the passion for the sport, forming an “edge” or as I like to refer to it, “the spark” between you and other people who share this special interest. On Facebook, to “like” something is the connection point that forms the edge, which ultimately bridges you to people, places, and other things of shared interests.

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In 2011, Facebook developers expanded on their social graph by implementing The Open Social Graph into their social media networking site. The concept is rather simple, the Open Social Graph as a program through the mechanism of Facebook’s API, connects other outside websites and blogs with that of Facebook, and “It does this by seeing you as a user, identifying an action (whatever you are doing), and then publishing it as an object.” (


Basically, everything you do online is now identified on Facebook and in turn it is opening the possibility for more “network” connections and associations by the integration of all social graphs on one platform. This way when you like a Facebook page or a website that has a Facebook “like” icon, you have now opened yourself up to be associated with other users who have liked those particular websites. New associations are created and your social network has expanded!



Although to me, however way you dice it, you are to some degree sacrificing your own person and forfeiting more of your privacy as a citizen. With the integration of all your online activity into an Open Social Graph, you are inadvertently creating a unique but rather explicit profile of your identity as a person. Essentially you become an “open book” on this more expansive social graph that labels your identity and illustrates your personality with more precision then the conventional relational graph that exists. Should we not reserve ourselves? Are we not positioning a target on our backs for more prodding and solicitation by marketers, surveyors, and government officials that we don’t know about? How much information are you willing to put out there? My worry for my society is, that we have become too complacent with giving away much of ourselves to others, that eventually there will be nothing left to call our own because some entity or another now “OWNS THE RIGHTS TO US”…so to speak.

Below is a link to an article titled: 7 Big Privacy Concerns for New Facebook and the Open Graph, which I found very telling and insightful.

Yet to be frank, in some ways I am conflicted, because I also understand the modern world I live in and the status quo of a society that for the moment, has me bound by it. To explain my point, if I want to advance myself and have the opportunities to further my education, career, and world experience, then in many ways I have to compromise with a majority of the world that is “interconnected” through a rapidly growing technological web and make peace with it. It is likely, in the future, I could have a request by a potential employer for a link to my Facebook page which exposes my Social Graph that is linked to many more content and associations through the Open Social Graph program and that makes me a transparent candidate. So is this so bad? Probably to some extent, but not all the way through I guess. So yes I am conflicted, because I also see the benefits of the Open Social Graph as pointed by Jeff Korhan, on, “Social networks are all about context. Whom you associate with tells a great deal about you. Context not only tells us who you are, but by associations and comparisons, who you are not. You may be very similar to colleagues you associate with, but there is enough data to discern a difference. That association may be what helps you to be discovered, but it is the distinction that will get you hired.” You have the ability to distinguish yourself from competition and attract the attention of future employer. (

I also see the benefits it affords businesses , like marketing, when it comes to relating a particular product or brand with a target consumer. The Open Social Graph exposes a “Speaking Consciousness” which can illustrate to a marketer the emerging trends and the wants and dislikes of the consumer they are surveying on social media platforms. With the aid of the Open Social Graph, businesses can therefore eliminate the clutter of guessing or surmising the interests of a group or individual solely on one social graph. By virtue of this, a brand developer across the board, doesn’t need to spend as much money on advertising, because they now achieved a three dimensional aspect in their research through the use of the Open Social Graph, of their potential target consumer. For businesses, the Open Social Graph can be a cost effective and an economically sound base system, which aid their efforts.

As it is common in the culture of technology, new forms of facilitating information through transcription and transference is always on the precipice of innovation and change. It was no surprise therefore, for the developers of Facebook and their engineers to have adapted and “…shifted away from a relational database model to one more supportive of a graph that needs to stay consistent and support tons of reads.” ( To reference Emil Eifrem, the founder of Neo4j and CEO of Neo Technology, models for relational databases more or less behaved like columns and rows that represented different variables, whereas now, models for graph databases can be seen as “nodes” that share a relationship and key value properties linked to those nodes, which in turn builds a network.

And because Facebook’s previous infrastructure for storing and accessing users’ data was then supported by Memcached for in-memory caching and MySQL for continual storage were no longer an efficient method of functionality, they switched gears from a relational database that was MySQL to a graph database that is now TAO (The Associations and Objects). This new transitioning meant the ability to have more storage space and to quote dan1111,“…Storing all of the relationships at the individual-record level only makes sense if there is going to be a lot of variation in the relationships; otherwise you are just duplicating the same things over and over. This means that graph databases are well-suited to irregular, complex structures.” ( The TAO system is a multi-petabyte data store for its social graph and it runs on thousands of machines. It can deal with over a billion reads per second across a data set of many petabytes and according to Facebook, Tao was designed to better link together data kept in its main data store (MySQL) and caching layer (memcache), while being able to deal with unpredictable queries on objects. So, it basically deals with the workload Facebook experiences. Another thing of note: Facebook still operates with the 1800 servers dedicated to MySQL and 805 servers dedicated to memcache, as the TAO system works in tangent with it.

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Who Uses Social Media?


Who uses social media?
Since its conception, social media has imploded into a massive global phenomena utilized by billions. The pandemic effect of this technological social tool is far-reaching in scope. It is by no means limited to a certain class of people based on gender, ethnicity, or social class. No, in fact, almost every geographical region and its population thereof are associated, linked to, or know of social media. In my opinion, I liken social media to that of a “brand representative” or an “agency” so to speak, with its members as its clients. Social media serves a purpose and can hold many functions to its members, and members who seek that service (“platform”) to achieve their agenda. In naming a few examples of institutions and the type of individual or group who utilize the many forms of social media, I like to point out that social media is not exclusive to just “sharing” photos and networking. It is not limited or boxed in any capacity, it is pervasive in nature.
An example of those who use social media as a marketing tool:
Artists are beginning to capitalize on the immediacy and efficiency of social media as a forum to advocate and promote their craft, reaching millions of their followers in an instant. As stated by Jeff Bullas in an article he wrote on his website, “One of the world’s biggest music stars ignored the traditional mass media product launching process. She bypassed the “normal” mass media release of a radio campaign, multiple TV appearances and retail and consumer brand promotions. Instead she announced it on Instagram to her 8 million followers with the word “Surprise” and proceeded to launch the 14 songs and accompanying 17 videos on iTunes. It was a success and it exceeded the album downloads of the previous album which had used the traditional marketing model.”(
In my opinion, this is a revelatory testimony. It attests to the American (or perhaps more precisely, Euro-American) culture of looking toward alternative means to save time…to be more efficient and productive, by circumventing the loopholes that “eat up” our time. Like the saying goes, “it’s not working harder, but smarter.” Or in the case of social media, “let social media represent you and do the work for you”. The artist did not have to go into the world to promote her album…the world via social media was brought to her.
An example of people of from all walks of the social strata represented by social media:
Prisoners have access to mobile devices in the prisons and jail houses of both the United States and United Kingdom which allows them to link onto social media forums like Facebook. In actuality, and to the determent of others, they can still (to some extent) from the confines of their cell freely express themselves and have “contact” with the outside world. According to an article James Rush on Mail Online, he stated “Javed Khan, chief executive of charity Victim Support, said: ‘If offenders are able to access Facebook from prison it makes a mockery of the idea that they are being punished and can be hugely distressing for the victims of their crimes. ‘We know some criminals have used social media to taunt their victims and attempt to intimidate witnesses, and it is essential that this kind of activity is prevented.’”(
On this site, you can actually be a pen pal with prison inmates. In fact, this is what their website has to say about their services:
“Prison Inmates Online is a directory that connects people through social networks along with inmates in US prisons. A prisoner & family support & information network. It’s a great place to find prison pen pals or write a prisoner. Sure you can write a prisoner here, lots of them in fact. But Prison Inmates Online is so much more. It’s a whole social community for family, friends, and pen pals of inmates to come and share their knowledge and experiences. Is a great place for people just getting started to educate themselves as well. Here are some fun things you can do here, create events, post in the inmate forums or prison forums about general prison talk, view inmate ads or inmate profiles, be an inmate advocate, write inmate letters, find pen pals, read other prison voices, and be a part of the PIO and PVO community.” (
In my opinion social media can raise a lot of questions as it sometimes has both social and political implications. In the case of prisoners accessing social media, are they really locked up from “freedom” away from society or are they just as connected as they were before? Or more? Do they now have a larger pool to prey from? Is this really a tool for the purpose of rehabilitation? How are the victims and survivors coping with this, do you think? Is it in their alienable rights for inmates to have certain privileges or were they forfeited once they committed a crime? It seems to me that the lines are blurred here in relation to social media and the prisoners who utilize it.
An example through statistics of social media used by all ages and its lack of ageism.
Every age is represented on social media platforms. What once use to be a space for the young has quickly diminished and evolved to be more inclusive of all bodies of people irrespective of their age. As a matter of fact the margin of younger vs. older users is a narrow one. Statistics now show that 18-29 year olds have an 89% usage rate of social media, while those of 30-49 years of age are at 72%, and the 50-60 year olds 60%, while 43% of 65 and plus individuals are present on social media. (
In my opinion, the margin will eventually just close, I think. The “tech babies”, those who were born into this culture of social media and other technological advances in our modern day society, will eventually become the forbearer of social media. I believe everyone because of their proximity to those engaged in social media and the exposure to the exploitation of it in all forms of mass media and advertising will eventually become well versed and exposed in the language of social media, until something new encroaches on it.
An example how social media is used as a means to promulgate a political or religious message:
Terrorists have acculturated to the technological advances of the modern world. Arming themselves with a new type of weapon for social control and influence, they have framed their social agenda to facilitate the use of social media as a means to an end in exacting their plans. According to Laura Ryan, she stated in the National Journal, “Terrorist groups around the world have quickly learned how to manipulate the Web and social media, an invention of the West, against the West, and it is reshaping the war on terror.” She also quotes Weimann, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center and a professor at Haifa University in Israel, for what he stated in his published report called “New Terrorism and New Media, “… terrorist groups are using social-media sites—including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Flickr—to spread their propaganda and raise funds, as well as to recruit and train new members.
How many use social media?
To address this question I simply share the statistics on this from the graph and data I have gleaned over. It has become apparent to me though, that the real underlining question is, “How many don’t use social media?” Seems almost everyone or every facet of society somehow fashion themselves or capitalize on the use of social media.
Social Network Statistics Data
On, it states that “Worldwide Social Network Users: 2013 Forecast and Comparative Estimates,” nearly one in four people worldwide will use social networks in 2013. The number of social network users around the world will rise from 1.47 billion in 2012 to 1.73 billion this year, an 18% increase. By 2017, the global social network audience will total 2.55 billion.” (


WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA? My Opinion and What I Have Discovered.


In my opinion social media is a dynamic and evolutionary digital information and communication technology that serves to engage a massive community of participants. It is a cultural invention that has been utilized and infused into many areas of political, cultural, and religious life…let alone social relations. It’s a community and a “universal think tank”- with the gathering of a universal or collective intelligence. It’s a meeting place like Facebook or Twitter where ideas, thoughts, and concepts can be shared and exchanged among a vast network of individuals. It differs from traditional media like television, radio, or newspapers for example; in that, it is not limited to a “closed system”. Andrew Chow made a few interesting distinctions in his blog between social media and traditional media and to highlight one example; is the power of influence it wields on its viewers or participants. He pointed out that the powers of traditional media (i.e. newspaper publications) which spin and report its stories does not facilitate for a space for dialogue. Whereas YouTube as a social media, which allows for an upload of a broadcast or newsreel as an example, serves the purpose of exchanging and sharing of information that will facilitate and encourage an “open system” among its massive audience. There is a dialogue (an exchange) that can be had among its viewers. To me social media is a space (a community hub) that has the potential for the limitless collaboration and exchange of ideas, expression, and concepts among a vast network of people. It’s a two way street, an “open system”, and it’s engaging, which is why I would not constitute emails as a social media. According to Anthony J. Bradley in his blog post, “I believe that difference primarily centers around [sic] e-mail as a distribution mechanism v. social media as a collective mechanism.” I agree with this statement, because email in one way is limited to contacts you may know with information only being related to a small community rather than the transfer and sharing of information on a massive scale. In other words, it doesn’t have an extensive reach. It is not a forum where you are linked to a vast network of interconnected people that are representative of a wide spectrum of geographical, social, and political standing and the exchanges and sharing of ideas thereof.
Another example I would not consider as social media is Wikipedia. According to Wikipedia, it is a community for gathering information only and it does not promote an exchange of dialogue among is viewers despite the exchanges and sharing of ideas and information on its site. This is because it does not operate as a forum or open network where conversations with the global inquisitors of the site can be had amongst each other.
Here are a couple of links where I came to a more informed opinion to the questions for this week’s topic.

Introducing: Light Seeker


Hello and salutations. I go by Light Seeker. I am a 30 something returning transfer student from the state of California, in pursuit of my BA in Sociology here at NYU SPS. As a fresh arrival to New York, I look forward to venturing the streets and boroughs of this great state and the heart of its metropolis in search for a deeper understanding and insight into the cross-cultural mesh of its populace. Hopefully, the merit of doing this will allow me to gain a new found knowledge and cultural acuity that will inform and cultivate my world view. In doing so, lies the potential I seek, to open my eyes to things unseen by the blinders of my own “learned” experiences.
I have varied intellectual and topical interests such as: religion and current affairs, exploration and nature, and the philosophies of man and his identity to the self, universe, and God. I must admit, I am both relieved and inspired to have finally arrived at the point of creating a personal blog. I’ve been mulling over the idea of creating one, long before enrolling into this Social Media course. I guess I finally got the push I needed! As part of the curriculum, I really have no other choice in the matter but to embrace and exercise this new type of medium…and I tell you, I’m glad for it!
I believe this course will endow me with a respective introduction to the skills and tools necessary for me to navigate and utilize the social media forums as a way to apply, express, and discover my voice through the use of the World Wide Web. Although, I would be remiss not to say, that at first I had my reservations about treading into the Social Media realm and sharing my personal thoughts. Who knows what lies out there…it’s an unpredictable animal constantly; and to some degree you are exposed. But at this point in my life, I have a stronger need to explore, to say something, to share, and to learn from others… so I am ready to dive in! Besides, I think with the reality of a fast evolving Earth whose interconnectedness is mostly dependent on technology and globalization, it is better to be adaptive to this new world language, then to suffer our ability to evolve within the new global culture, because of our own ignorance. Change is constant and the use of technology in its many facets and forms is an all too real budding landscape of our current civilization. With that said, my only experience of social media up to this point, has been my seldom appearances and use of my Facebook account and the development of an educational project video that was posted on YouTube. So I look forward in this course, to channeling the use of some of these social media forums as a way to have an open dialogue with a global community that could potentially heighten and enrich my personal outlook and lifestyle, while aiding my efforts to better understand this global phenomenon, known as social media and how I can benefit from it.