Write a Report on Social Networking Media?
The word Social Media refers to a group applications or methodologies that are entirely dependent on the power of Internet and are built on those ideological and/ or technological foundations as implemented by the Web 2.0; the applications being aimed at the creation of contents that are generated by the users of these applications and their consecutive sharing. Surveys conducted in the international domain indicate that netizens tend to spend every 1 minute surfing an online social networking site of their online presence of four and a half minutes, which is as much as 22 percent of their total internet activity. Researchers also reveal that the average length of time that each global citizen spends on surfing social media sites and developing or editing contents on such sites is as much as five and a half hour each month. The most widely visited social networking sites include Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, Flickr, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, and so on. However, the list of successful social media networks keeps on growing; as such new sites are emerging in the market each day. In this paper, three such social media sites, namely the Facebook, Ello and Experience Project have been reviewed. The operating principles of these sites, their target audience and their unique business strategies have been explored in order to present a report containing the results of a comparative analysis conducted on these sites.
Findings and Analysis:
In the following section, the business strategies and policies incorporated by social networking sites, their target audience, the benefits being provided to the users and reasons behind the popularity of these sites have been discussed.
Facebookâ€© is â€©considered as the giant in the industry of aâ€©socialâ€©networkâ€©services: the website made a humble emergence in 2004 as online networking tool for the students of the Harvard university; however, within a year of its inception it had crossed the Atlantic and had become the most popular networking site that was being widely used by the students of various universities of the United States of America (Nicholasâ€©Carison,â€©2011).â€©A study conducted in 2015 indicates that the online social networking site has as many as 1000 million active users, half of whom use the services each day (Hong and Chiu, 2014).
Facebookâ€©isâ€©one socialâ€©utilityâ€©website that helps in the process of increasing the efficiency of communication between the users and their families, their co-workers and/or their friends. The functional structure of this networking site is such that any person having a valid Electronic mail id can open an account and be active in the Facebook network (Li, Chen and Popiel, 2015). However, the organization does not encourage users below the age of 13 to become members of this networking site (Junco, 2012).
Facebook encourages their users to join various groups or communities, based on those activities that the users have expressed their interests in (Patak, n.d.). This particular networking site also provides the options of taking part in various online games and activities that are hosted by the site. While users are able to open their personal accounts on this online site, the organization also provides their account holders to open groups, fan pages or community pages where people having similar interests can exchange their views and ideas, and express their concerns and emotions (Piltz, 2013). The world has experienced the power of such Facebook communities and groups during the terrorist attacks that took place in Mumbai in 2008, the earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010, the political turmoil that Egypt went through in 2011 which ultimately led to Hosni Mubarak stepping down from the position of the President of the country, and during the phase when rescue missions were being carried out in the Mega earthquake devastated Nepal in 2015 (Kintisch, 2014). The medical emergency that followed the terrorist attacks at Mumbai were facilitated to a great extent by the groups and community pages set up local residents, which provided continuous updates on the conditions of those who had been hit by the attacks, the medical facilities that were available to them and the facilities that they required: thus providing important information to the concerned authorities. Similar activities were observed at the time when Haiti was hit by the devastating earthquake. It is said that the Egyptian revolution of 2011 had started in response to a status update made by an Egyptian student: later on Facebook became the platform using which the entire nation raised in protest against their own government (the USA, 2015). Last but not the least, this particular social networking site came forward with an initiative that became useful in locating those who were safe and alive when Nepal was hit by the mega earthquakes (Bohannon, 2015).
Thus, it can be said that Facebook is not only a social networking site that facilitates the process of communication between its users but has also steadily fulfilled its responsibility towards the society.
Ello is yet another social networking site that emerged in the market in September 2014: the platform suddenly gained huge popularity among the news and media critics. The new media started referencing to Ello as the next big thing after Facebook and the critics applauded the business mission statement of the platform, as Ello claimed to be a social media network free of any advertisement, unlike Facebook (Arthur, 2014).
As a result of this sudden attention, the site officially reported that they were receiving as many as 35,000 requests every hour: and by October 2014 the site officially declared that they were going into a ‘beta’ stage and would no longer accept membership requests. However, by the end of the year, no was talking about this networking site, and the same new media that once declared this platform as the next big thing in social media started saying that this platform is dead.
While the site has started accepting new membership very recently, yet the number of people who actively use this site had not been on par with the hype and buzz that was created when Ello emerged in the market. One of the primary reasons behind this might be fact that since the platform had not been accepting new members for a long period of time, their existing users were unable to add their contacts to this platform, and thus discontinued using this site; the very same reason which had forced Google to bring down their once popular social networking site Orkut (IV, 2015).
Another failure on the part of the developers of Ello that media critics are quite vocal about is the very fact that the developers neither could promote their site properly, nor was it sufficient to just put up a disclaimer on the website and claim that they were much different than Facebook (USA, 2015). While both the networks were providing free subscriptions to the users, Facebook provides many other services to its users that Ello could not compete with just by being an ad-free network (Kulp, 2015).
Experience Project is a social networking site that encourages the users to write about their real life experiences, add pictures or images along with these contents, and post them on the website.
Experience Project was launched in 2004 by Armen Berjikly, as a community that can be used to discuss about various real life incidents, just after a very close friend of him was diagnosed with the disease widely known as ‘multiple sclerosis’. Since then, the social media network has retained its structure of essentially being a platform used by various online communities (Experienceproject, 2015).
While the social networking sites aims at connecting people with those who have had similar experiences in life, it also allows the users to post questions and other digital contents anonymously: a loophole that is being exploited by many, as evident from snapshots provided in the appendix depicting indecent comments made on several community pages. The site allows its users to take ‘polls’ or surveys regarding any incident, which are often answered by other users, as encouraged by the site itself, without any background knowledge of the situation.
The three social media sites that have been discussed in this report essentially follow the very same technological features that are used by various other such sites; they encourage their users to generate digital contents and share them with others. While Facebook considers people above the age of 13 as their target users, Ello has no such ‘age bar’; they rather insist that people who emphasize advertisement free networking websites should join them. On the other hand, Experience Project warns their users that some of the contents available on their website might not be suitable for netizens below the age of 18, and thus encourage only adult personnel to join the site. While both Facebook and Ello connect their users to those people whom they might personally know in the real world, Experience Project connects people based on the similarities of experiences shared by them. Last but not the least, Facebook has implemented strict policies using which they can restrict the usage of an account that contains abusive or indecent comments, images or any other digital contents, which has still not been implemented by the other networking sites that have been reviewed in this paper.
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