impact of social networking on mass communication

A social networking site is an online platform (website or app) that allows users to create a profile and interact with other users. Some social networking sites are public and some are private, but most allow for some level of privacy, such as the ability to share content with specified online connections. Communication that is generated via social networking sites is called social media. Social networking sites are so easily accessible that ordinary people by the millions have into the action. Most social networking sites allow users to post a profile photo, as well a brief bio including career information, interests, relationship status, etc. The top five social networking sites are Facebook (2004) with 1.5 billion active users, Twitter (2006) with 310 million active users, LinkedIn (2002) with 255 million active users, Pinterest (2010) with 250 million active users, and Google Plus (2011) with 120 million active users.

Top Social Networks Facebook.

In 2003 when Mark Zuckerberg was a sophomore at Harvard, he raided sorority house membership rosters for photos of members. He posted the pictures in pairs on his blog, then invited his visitors to vote for the “hotter” of the paired women. Zuckerberg’s Facemash didn’t last long. The university shut it down for a host of issues, including privacy.

However, the reception for Facemash among students—some anyway—was enthusiastic, and Zuckerberg figured he was onto something. Today Facebook is not only the granddaddy of social networking sites but the largest. One tracking service says Facebook is the second most visited site worldwide. Daily traffic averages 115 million visitors a day.

As a user-generated site, Facebook’s content originates with users. Other major players include Instagram and YouTube. The impact of social networking sites on traditional media has been twofold. The sites are one more competitor for advertising revenue, which has been slipping away from traditional media. Also, the sites are an additional competitor for audience time: Every minute on Facebook is one less minute for something else—like reading a magazine or watching a sitcom on television.


In April 2009, Ashton Kutcher set a goal of becoming the first user on Twitter, then a four-year-old social networking site, to have 1 million followers. Although Twitter was a distant third among social networking platforms at the time of Kucher’s record, its growth has been phenomenal.

There are about 320 million monthly active users, 982 million registered accounts, and about 241 million active users each month. Interestingly, grandparents are the fastest-growing demographic on Twitter. In addition, there are 1 billion unique monthly visitors to sites with embedded tweets, and about 92% of top brands tweet at least once per day. There are about 6,000 tweets tweeted per second on Twitter, which is 350,000 tweets sent per minute, or 500 million tweets per day, which equals to about 200 billion tweets per year, and according to Twitter, about 80% of these tweets are generated from mobile phones.

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