Test Your Knowledge



9 Questions

What was the first social media platform launched in 1960?

Which of the following is NOT a type of social media platform?

What is mobile social media?

What is the estimated number of social media users worldwide as of January 2023?

What is the most popular social networking service as of January 2022?

What is the negative effect of social media on sleep?

What is the potential negative effect of social media on body image satisfaction?

What is the digital divide?

What is the effect of social media on political polarization?


Virtual Online Communities: A Summary

  • Social media are technologies that allow people to share information, ideas, and interests through virtual communities and networks.

  • Social media platforms are user-centric and enhance social connectivity, allowing individuals, communities, and organizations to share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated or self-curated content.

  • Popular social media websites include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, among others.

  • Social media outlets differ from traditional media in terms of quality, reach, frequency, usability, relevancy, and permanence.

  • The PLATO system was launched in 1960, and ARPANET first came online in 1967, leading to the development of the Internet and social media.

  • Community Memory, a precursor of the electronic bulletin board system, appeared in 1973, followed by the Computer Bulletin Board System in 1978, and the World Wide Web in 1991.

  • Social media platforms gained widespread popularity in the early 2000s with the likes of Friendster, Myspace, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

  • Research shows that the world spent 22% of their online time on social networks in 2015, and as of January 2023, there are 4.76 billion social media users worldwide.

  • Social media includes 13 types, such as social networks, wikis, blogs, and microblogs, among others.

  • Mobile social media refers to the use of social media on mobile devices, incorporating location-sensitivity or the time delay between sending and receiving messages.

  • Viral content can spread across networks, and bots are automated programs that operate on the internet, mimicking natural human interactions.

  • Cyborgs, either bot-assisted humans or human-assisted bots, are used for various purposes, including spreading fake news and creating marketing buzz.

  • There has been rapid growth in the number of United States patent applications for new technologies related to social media, and platform convergence has led to the overlapping of functionality beyond their original scope.Overview of Social Media: History, Usage, and Impact

  • Social media platforms have evolved from being text-based to including photo and video sharing, as well as interactive features like polls and stories.

  • As of 2022, it is estimated that around 3.96 billion people around the world use social media, a number expected to increase to 4.41 billion in 2025.

  • The most popular social networking services as of January 2022 are Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram.

  • Studies show that individual differences, such as extraversion and social comparison orientation, can affect social media usage.

  • Despite age restrictions, children under 13 in the US use social media, with 4% of children from birth to age 8 using it "often" or "sometimes".

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, social media use increased, especially among adults who used it to stay socially connected and get updates on the pandemic.

  • Social media has been used by governments for various purposes, including communication with citizens and reputation management.

  • Law enforcement has used social media in investigations and searches for missing persons.

  • Businesses use social media for marketing research, communication, sales promotions, and e-commerce, among other uses.

  • Social media marketing uses paid, earned, and owned media, and influencers play a significant role in advertising.

  • Social media has been used in political processes and activities, including organizing protests and increasing political engagement among younger generations.The Role of Social Media in Society

  • Social media has become a major platform for political campaigns and the public's political engagement.

  • Militant groups, such as ISIS, have used social media for organizing and recruiting.

  • Social media has been used to influence political opinion in foreign countries.

  • Social media has been used to report human rights violations and government abuse.

  • Employers often examine job applicants' social media profiles as part of the hiring process, with some countries implementing laws to protect privacy.

  • Social media usage can affect deception in resumes, with LinkedIn being less deceptive about prior work experience but more deceptive about interests and hobbies.

  • Scientists use social media to share their scientific knowledge and new findings, with Twitter and blogs being the most commonly used platforms.

  • Social media profiles are increasingly being used by colleges and universities to evaluate applicants.

  • Social media comments and images are being used in court cases, including employment law and insurance disability claims.

  • Social media is used to fulfill social needs such as socializing with friends and family, but may not fulfill all needs.

  • Social media usage can lead to poor self-esteem and negative feelings, particularly in regards to self-presentation and comparing oneself to others.

  • Social media can function as a supportive system for health behavior change and reinforcement, particularly for adolescents.Negative Effects of Social Media

  • Social media can promote unhealthy and dangerous methods of weight loss, leading to disordered eating among women who have been influenced by negative content.

  • Pro-anorexia sites on social media can cause significant harm by reinforcing negative health-related behaviors through social networking, especially in adolescents.

  • Social media affects the way a person views themselves and can lead to negative emotions, not eating, and isolation, increasing the feeling of loneliness in adults.

  • During the coronavirus pandemic, social media has influenced different health behaviors, with people who use more social media and believe more in conspiracy theory during the pandemic having worse mental health and less compliance to health behaviors such as hand-washing.

  • Social media platforms can lead to addiction-like behaviors, with excessive use leading to compulsive checking, mood modification, and withdrawal, resulting in decreased face-to-face social interactions and a sense of loneliness.

  • News media and television journalism have been a key feature in shaping American collective memory, but social networking sites are gradually undermining the traditionally authoritative voices of news media.

  • Social media use can involve negative interactions between users, including cyberbullying, online harassment, and trolling, leading to negative effects on both the bully and the victim.

  • Social comparison on social media can have dire effects on physical and mental health, leading to low self-esteem and depression, with women reporting social media as the most influential sources of their body image satisfaction.

  • Social media use can lead to sleep disturbance, with blue light having a part to play, and females more inclined to experience high levels of sleep disturbance than males.

  • Social media use can lead to 'Facebook depression' among adolescents who spend too much time engaging with social media sites, leading to feelings of loneliness and low self-esteem.

  • The digital divide is a measure of disparity in the level of access to technology between households, socioeconomic levels, or other demographic categories, with people who are homeless, living in poverty, elderly, or living in rural areas having little or no access to computers and the Internet.

  • Social media can increase political polarization due to selective exposure, where individuals favor information that supports their beliefs and avoid information that conflicts with their beliefs, leading to an "echo chamber" effect of selective exposure.


Do you know the history, impact, and negative effects of social media? Take our quiz to test your knowledge and understanding of virtual online communities. From the evolution of social media platforms to their role in politics and society, this quiz covers a wide range of topics related to social media. Challenge yourself and see how well you understand the positive and negative aspects of social media.

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