Understanding of Social Network Sites(SNSs)

Concept review

In the book understanding social media,the author offered an explicit explanation about Social Network Sites(SNSs).Hinton refers SNSs as the interface between people and social media and believed that it has becoming an integral part of identity,social and political management in today’s digital world due to the ongoing commercial and cultural changes happens on SNSs(Sam.H,2013,p.35).Here are some major SNSs.


The influence of SNSs are continuing increase as more and more people get involved in it.Take Facebook and Twitter as examples,they represents two of the most well-known and most highly valued brands (in terms of market value)on the internet today.Till now,Facebook and Twitter have been attracting millions of people to their sites,to build connections with other people,to stay in touch,to find support and answers to question,to reinforce common ideas and values ,to share news and other information,and to be entertained.

More important,besides the market value,the rise of the SNSs opened a new way of seeing Internet users which is instead of seeing the users as audiences, seeing the users as networked publics(Sam.H,2013,p.35).The difference between being a audience and being a networked publics is whether hold power in the Internet or not.As more and more people engaging in the SNSs,people start to coming together,forming a power that was enough to make a change to the Companies even societies.

The basic components of the social media sites are the community on SNSs and the network developed by SNSs and the people whoever use it.Hinton used different research case studies to demonstrate the development of the community and network on SNSs.

In a chronological order,the first concept came out under this topic is virtual communities.This concept came out at 1980s,and has already started to see the social value of the SNSs,virtual community related Internet as an online or virtual construction of social spaces(Sam.H,2013,p.37).Ray Oldenburg(1989)has described it as the ‘third places’ where exits outside the home and work,and are places where conversation is the main activity,positions are levelled and the mood is generally playful.Most important,back at that time.they defined the Internet as the places that are accessible to everyone.


Then follows the concept of Networked Community.As the number of people using the internet began to burgeon in the mid-1990s,researchers studied online community more deeply.Wellman was one of the first people to argue for the importance of offline factors in online communities.Through research,he founds out that People communicate more, depending on their offline relationship(Sam.H,2013,p.37-39).Which means the connection we had with different people is based on the ‘real world ties’.The field then moved on from ‘virtual spaces’ to reconsider the incorporation of multiple environments to influence community formation, or ‘networked communities’.

Then the author introduced another three concepts to help understanding the network and communities on the Internet.For example,Networked publics,they are a group of people who behave under the same principles.While an important elements of this group of people is that  about they do not have the motive to communicate with strangers unless something triggered them.So this concept brought SNSs to an economic position,if anyone or any group wants attention from public,they have to earn it.Which leads us to think about common interests,would the interest people share brought them together?The answer is yes.For example the building of the”social capital”,it is a capital measurement based on communities and networks, for how we relate out ‘taste’.Finally,we have the concept intimate publics,the “intimacy”here refers to cultural and social level.This concept brought out the intimacy between strangers which created by SNSs as people start to communicate and building connection with different person they have never met before.

At mean time,SNSs are fast becoming a global phenomenon and are no less emergent in developing countries(Body and Ellison 2007).Younger users are often more active on social networks,But they are not the dominant age group.for example the average Facebook user was 38 in 2010 and the average age is increasing every year(Hampton et al.2011).As the demographic continues to widen,SNSs are also becoming increasingly important sites for emerging forms of familial interaction,socialising,relationship management and identityconstruction(Sam.H,2013,p.46).

One of the key value about SNSs is user created content(UCC),with SNSs provide platforms,people get the opportunities to interact with basically everyone with Internet access,more important,to gathering together forming collective intelligence,to come up ideas or fix problems.UCC is all about participation and sharing,I think this is also the spirit of SNSs.

Despite social media being a relatively recent phenomenon,it has been changing the way we communicate with other,both with opportunities and threats.People are creating a second virtual world on the Internet,which brought infinite potential for business,education and relationship etc.Living in a digital world like this,everybody should consider themselves as a produces or, at least as a person who owns the chance to become a producer on the Internet,when we consuming the content or service on the Internet,we are contribute to it as well,we together,piece by piece,create this unique cyberworld.As somebody who tries to conduct a campaign on the SNSs,instead of thinking it the way of putting information out,you should start to see the value of participation behind people,SNSs are the places where you have the chance the bring people from different cultural background,races or countries together which is a chance that is incredibly hard to get in real life.Information spreads more easily within SNSs especially with different people involved in and that is the key people harnessing people to create influence within SNSs.

Related to social media campaign design(My project)

Designing a social media campaign requires understanding of SNSs,for example,how it works,how different platforms being useful to some specific group of people,how different people interact and communicate on SNSs etc.

My social media campaign was targeted young Chinese female,and the purpose of my campaign is to initiate conversation with them then convince them to purchase from me.Traditional way of promotion is to put audiences at the information receiver position,sending massive information.While I think it is not useful on SNSs,for one thing,users on the SNSs can choose the content they would like to see,if one just “sold” information,it will not necessarily reach the target audience,for another thing,there are a great number of promotion information on the Internet,if one only have the similar content with them and repeatedly sending the same content,it might cause information overload on the channel which leads to negative emotions from audiences.The first step of conducting a successful social media campaign on SNSs is to begin with the design with the possibility of engaging audiences in the platforms.As the concept mentioned before,UCC is one of the most important feature of SNSs,it is where to show the unique and effective features of social media campaign.

Since the behaviors people made on the SNSs has some sort of relation with their real life,I think one of the key way to bring audiences together is to create a similar experience that people would have in real life on SNSs.For example,my target audience are young female,some how they would share some common interests and behavior patterns,it is the designer’s job to detect those patterns and then create a virtual places where the target audience would feel safe to share their comments or behaviors.This virtual community is a place they feel part of the group,then gives them the motive and attraction to pay attention,more important,to stay,to communicate,to contribute.One of the excellent example is the No Make-up campaign(http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/mar/25/no-makeup-selfies-cancer-charity),this is a public service social media campaign,designed to attract public’s attention towards female cancer patient,and intent to raise funds for them.The Interact with influential brands and individuals to get a maximum reach.The campaign conducted under the priciple of “be authentic and human” to build a positive brand image.It’s the same feelings every human beings pay concerns in their real life,especially when they target at female group,make up is one of the key element in this case related to health and the ‘no make-up’,’selfie’ are the part that attract other female to pay attention to their campaign.More important,with the self service purpose,it effectively brings people together,made them a group of people gathering together try to do charity and spread information under the same purpose.


Reflect on my own project,besides those broad overall learning about how to conduct campaign on SNSs,I think I learned a lot of detailed tips about it as well by hearing others talking about the problems and progress they have made when they were conducting the social media campaign.As I came across a various of problems while designing my own campaign,hearing from others is a great opportunity to reflect my own project.I got the chance to see if I had the same problems with others and if I do,classmates and professors sitting together talking about it really helped me to come up with ideas to fix and improve my project.For example,tips about how to reach my target audience,which platforms would be more useful to a specific group of audiences.On my social media design brief,I only came up with two platforms to conduct my project,because I am not particularly familiar with operating campaigns on social media platforms.While after hearing others demonstrate their own project,I start to realize the importance of expanding the platform,for one thing,to widen the reach and for another thing,to deepen the interaction audiences may would experience when they indeed visiting my websites.


Body,d.and Ellison ,N.B.(2007)’social network sites:Definition,history,and scholarship’,Journal of Computer Mediated Communication,13(1).Retrieved from http://jcmc.indiana.edu/wol13/issue1/body.ellison.html.

Donelan.H(2010) Online Communication and Collaboration: A Reader, USA:Routledge

Hinton, S. (. i. m., & Hjorth, L. (2013). Understanding social media. London: SAGE.

HillaminInternet.(2014),Retrieved from https://www.hallaminternet.com/2014/5-social-media-campaigns/#sthash.UVKj4Xa8.dpuf

The Guardian.(2014).Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/mar/25/no-makeup-selfies-cancer-charity


One thought on “Understanding of Social Network Sites(SNSs)

  1. You state that everybody should consider themselves as a producer or at least having the chance to be one. I agree with you, but at the same time, don’t you think that everyone is essentially producing and generating some sort of content? For example, people passively following or occasionally liking are producing content. They are also producing data that could be analyzed for social media network sties.

    I would like also discuss your idea about traditional ways of promotion. I agree with you that traditional promotions where audiences are just on the receiver end aren’t as affective and it’s important to understand the audience, but I would not entirely agree with you that it’s not useful on social network sites. I think promotions are still important but incorporating the target audience and integrating them into the promotions is positive. I think that promotions and social media go hand in hand and can be affective. It’s true that users and consumers can choose what they want to see but at the same time, what they want is often driven by current trends. Would you say that trends are driven by people or do companies drive them. This is a debate that is constantly up for discussion.


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