Social Media and Me

Hi, first of all, thanks for reading. My name is Gong Liang. I am from Wuhan of China, a city that has a larger population than the whole Sweden. Right now, I am a second year student in the program of Human-Computer Interaction in Uppsala University. Before I came to Sweden, I have a background in computer science and have worked in a Sino-French joint venture, an automobile company for 3 years as an IT engineer.

I would like to first share my own experience of social media. The term social media first came to my mind was the year 2005, which is the beginning of my undergraduate studies. That was the time when social network sites (SNSs) like Facebook, Xiaonei (Chinese facebook) became big. As a result, for me social media simply means those kinds of SNSs. At least before this social media course, I have never tried to give a definition to this terminology. I only know from that time onwards, my friends and I spent more and more time on those SNSs. And it not only became part of our lives, but also an important part of our lives. Then the trend switched to the so called microblog like Twitter, Weibo (Chinese twitter), just like when people switched from BBS to Blog and then from Blog to SNSs as the technologies that support the service are constantly developing.

The term of social media is evolving with the rapid changing technologies; I believe it is not easy to give an accurate and precise definition for the term social media. That is why you will find many different versions of definitions for the term social media, for example, 30 Social Media Definitions (Cohen 2011). According to Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein (2010, 61), social media is defined as

a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.”

While Boyd et al. (2007) focus more on SNSs:

We define social network sites as web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site.”

I would now consider social media as a platform, that utilize the information technologies to meet the basic needs we humans have to connect with other humans and enable us to be around and included in groups of similar like-minded people with whom we can sharing our thoughts, ideas and experience.

I am looking forward to have a deeper understanding about social media in the coming weeks.


Cohen, Heidi. 2011. “30 Social Media Definitions.”

Kaplan, Andreas, and Haenlein, Michael. 2010. “Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media”. Business Horizons 53: 59-68.

Boyd, Danah M. and  Nicole B. Ellison. 2007. “Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 13(1):210-230


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