Hello, everyone, my name is Xinrui Lu. I come from China. I am a student at the master program “Social Sciences in Digital Media & Society” at Uppsala University. I received my bachelor degree in communication from University of China, which is one of the top universities in the communication and media field in China. Although my bachelor major is Swedish, I have studied theory of communication and media at the university. There are several reasons why I choose the course in Social Media. First, the course is related to my master program. Second, my background in language makes me interested in studying the relationship between discourse and social media. I believe that discourse plays an important role in social media. It does not only reflect the underlying culture, but also has a huge influence on both online and offline societies. People’s ideas, behaviours and lives can to different extent be affected by the discourse on social media. In order to get a better understanding of the relationship, I want to gain more knowledge about social media.
Before I officially begin the course, I would like to share my own definition on social media with you.
My previous teacher of my master program is Christian Fuchs, who has done great work in critical studies of the relationship between the media and society. In order to define social media, I think it is important to stress the developing trend of social media.
According to Fuchs, “today the Internet is such a global system of information and communication, which represent a symbolic and communicative level of mechanisms of competition, but also poses new opportunities for ‘suspending the old standpoint'”(1). The so called old standpoint refers to the “cooperation based view of sociality, which based on the notion of community and co-operation, as elaborate by Tönnies and Marx. Tönnies’ and Marx’s notions of the social have in common the idea that humans work together in order to produce new qualities of society (immaterial ones, i.e. shared feelings, in the case of Tönnies and material ones, economic goods, in the case of Marx) “(1). It is obvious that Ferdinand Tönnies and Marx did not speak of the Internet in mid-19th century. However, Fuchs finds that their theories are still useful in today’s world-widely networked information system. In other words, to build a co-operated community, where people share feelings or produce new economic goods, is also the trend in social media in virtue world.
However, how to build such a co-operated community in social media? According to Fuchs, “in order to co-operate people need to communicate, and in order to communicate people need to cognise” (1). It can be seen that there are progressive relationships among cognition, communication and co-operation. When combining these relationships with Web, Fuchs suggests that “Web 1.0 is a computer-based networked system of human cognition, Web 2.0 is a computer-based networked system of human communication, Web 3.0 is a computer-based networked system of human co-operation” (1). Two examples of Web 3.0 are Wikis and Wikipedia. Both Wikis and Wikipedia are many to many relationships social media enabled by network technologies. And Wikipedia is also like a knowledge communities. Hence, in order to fulfil the goal of establishing co-operated community, we need to reach Web 3.0 both on technology and ideology.
In addition, in my opinion, online social media is closely related to our offline society. First, it is a real person who is sitting at the computer and contributing online. It is quite common for people to post offline news or activities online. It is also common for people to write about their true emotions online. Second, the discourses online also have an influence on the offline world. People’s attitude towards something or some events may be strongly affected by comments from a web celebrity. This way, attitudes gained online can affect people’s offline behavior. That’s why I think online social media is closely related to offline world.
Hence, in my view, Social Media is an globally networked platform, which aimed at establishing a co-operated community based on the technology and ideology of Web 3.0, and it is also closely related to offline society.
1, Christian Fuchs. “Social Software and Web 2.0: Their Sociological Foundations and Implications”. Handbook of Research on Web 2.0, 3.0, and X.0: Technologies, Business, and Social Application. 764-789