I‘m Guo and this is my understanding of social media

Hi, I’m Guo Yang, a second year HCI student. I have a background in Computer science. Social media, as a domain  more inclined to social science, is completely  fresh and intriguing for me. The rising market of social media has emerged for many years and is still developing at a fast pace. This is the reason for me to explore to this domain, and I hope to get a deep understanding on what is social media. How does it affect people’s life?What are the requirements has it satisfied for  people?I’m glad to find answers to these questions together with everyone here. I hope we can have a good time during this course and learn more than we have expected.

If we want to discover what is social media, we should  look back into the concepts of “web 2.0” and User Generated Content (UGC), which are the foundation of social media.

As Kaplan & Haenlein described in  “Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media.”

“Web 2.0 is a term that was first used in 2004 to describe a new way in which software developers and end-users started to utilize the World Wide Web; that is, as a platform whereby content and applications are no longer created and published by individuals, but instead are continuously modified by all users” (Kaplan & Haenlein 2010).

UGC can be seen as all the contribution what users made in social media platform. It needs to fit three basic requirements:

“First, it needs to be published either on a publicly accessible website or on a social networking site accessible to a selected group of people.

Second, it needs to show a certain amount of creative effort.

Third, it needs to have been created outside of professional routines and practices” (Kaplan & Haenlein 2010).

Today, with the development of the hardware and tools for the creation of UGC, the content is showing more complexity and variety than in the early years.

With a basic understanding of Web 2.0 and User Generated Content, we can understand the definition of Social Media from Kaplan & Haenlein:

“Social Media is 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” (Kaplan & Haenlein 2010).

A characteristic of Social Media is that while we can define what kind of content can be considered as UGC, while there is no characterization of how users generated the content. Furthermore, the new platform services give new options to users and help them generate content in new ways. For example, Wikipedia is a representative collaborative project web site. The site quora.com can also be regarded as a collaborative project web site. Still, the way users interact with the web site and each other is fundamentally different for the two sites.



Social Media is full of innovation, which makes it difficult to define and classify different social media applications. New platforms are constantly emerging with new ideas, whereby they attempt to provide users with brand new experiences.


1.Kaplan, Andreas M., and Michael Haenlein. “Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media.” Business horizons 53.1 (2010): 59-68


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