Assessment 3

Used Or Being Used-Who are We Exactly

Used Or Being Used-Who are We Exactly


Are we free or are we under control by the social media? This is a question for all people. In this era, people are using social media more and more. Some of them are relying on social media a lot. Does this mean that the social media has already controlled this generation? With Web 2.0, the Internet is definitely helping people to access to more information. Also, with social media, it is easier to know what other people are thinking and doing at the moment. Besides, people could also express themselves feeling and opinion whenever and wherever they want with its help. To some extent, they are using social media but not being used. However, the social media is using people back somehow. Because freedom is not sheer concept. No one and nothing could be 100% free.

The concept and empirical evidence


Through all these 6 weeks, now we know many concepts in social media communication. The authors of Understanding Social Media give a clear explanation of used or being used in social media.


Hinton and Hjorth (2013) point out that people are at least apparently control the operation of computers. People click the mouse and use the keyboard to manipulate their PCs and convey the instruction. The machines do not think for themselves without people’s control. In the media, social media has become a democratic revolution (Lovink, 2012). Not like before, most of people could control what to hear and see at least in their friends’ group now. The few powerful people have passed the power to the majority. This is the new era and Web 2.0 are doing to the mass media. Now, every individual that have access to the Internet could use social media to share what they think, what they see, what they do and what they hear. Also, the social media could help they to express their opinion to the whole world through the Internet.
From 1960’s, the invention of computers has started the whole world changing from the times. With the Internet, everything has changed. After people had the mobile Internet, things are getting more complicated. The users of social media could use their mobile phone to make the social change, such as citizen journalism and online activism. One example is that Google could expand the information for any individuals (Hinton & Hjorth, 2013). It provides people a wider social network, so people could keep their social connection with others and build their own social communication.

arab spring

The authors (2013) also mention another example of social media’s role in politics, the Arab Spring in the middle east. It helps the political campaigns in many different ways. Shirky (2009) expresses that in some countries, the government has more and more interest in social media, because it could help them to gain more attention from citizens of local issues and political campaign.

Being Controlled

As a part of social media, people are also being controlled by social media to a large extent. Users use the media to develop their ideas and their voices, and the social media will use it back to people. This kind of control has started since the Industrial Revolution. And it becomes more and more serious now with the development of the Internet and social media. The authors (2013) illustrate in the book that many young people could not live with their mobile phones which are accessible to social media apps. This means that they are being controlled by social media. Also it lead to another problem for the society, which is smart phone addiction. This is also another part of being controlled. The young generation has a bigger issue for this. They always use their smartphone anywhere and anytime, for them, the first and the last thing when they wake up ad go to sleep is checking their social media apps, such Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. In addition, this kind of addiction could lead to depression. With less and less actual communication, but just communication on social media apps, the distance between people would get further and further.
The other point that the authors (2013) indicate is that the information technologies is helping the social media to control the users. An example is that if people watch TV at home, no one would know what they are watching. However, with the development of information technologies, if the users use the Internet to watch or even search anything, this activity will be instantly recorded by the system and the Internet. It means that NO PRIVACY. And it is legal because before they use any browser, there will be a long passage that no one would ever read says that they need the users’ authorization. And everyone would click agree without thinking. After that, any information they could use from you is completely legal. When the users realize that, sometimes there is nothing they could do because they have already authorized to the company.


An excellent book about the Internet of Wendy Chun (2006), the concept of control and freedom is a paradox. She points out that if the users of the social media want to be free, they also have to face to be controlled. Sometimes, this control is by the social media itself. Yet, sometimes this control is by individuals. For example, in London, 2001, the violent incident was brought up by the social media users on Facebook and Twitter. They used social media platforms to gather people for the violence and many innocent people have been used by them. The police arrested them through their account.

The concept and my online campaign


My social media campaign is about an individual, DJ Reko in Sydney. I used 3 platforms which are Facebook, Weibo and Wechat to post to his followers and fans. As the controller, his fans and followers could easily access to his home page and find out what is going on. Also, the page would provide rich media to entertain the audience and also give them more information about the artist himself in order to help the audience to know more about him and his music. In addition, the audience could share his post and make a comment. They can also choose to go, interest in or not to go his event. Also, as the controllers of my campaign, Reko himself and me would both reply to the audience assign as possible in order to make them feel that they are engaged in this and feel better about the artist. They could also share their opinion about his music and provide some instructive advice to him. And we could present the music and information that the audience would like more.


Beniger, J.R.(1986) The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society . Cambridge,MA: Harvard  University Press

Brown,H.,Guskin,E.,Mitchell,A.(2012,November 28).The Role of Social Media in the Arab Spring Retrieved from

Chun,W(2006) Control and Freedom.Cambridge,MA:MIT Press

Dijck, J. v. (2013). ‘Facebook and the Imperative of Sharing’, The Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Herman, A. (2014). Production, Consumption, and Labor in the Social Media Mode of Communication and Production. In J. Hunsinger & T. Senft (Eds.), The Social Media Handbook (pp. 30 – 44). New York: Routledge.

Hinton, S., & Hjorth, L. (2013). What is Web 2.0? Understanding Social Media (pp. 7 – 31). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.


One thought on “Used Or Being Used-Who are We Exactly

  1. I see that there are pros and cons to using social media, and instances where humans control and are being controlled by it, but to be honest, I couldn’t tell where you sit on that particular fence. I agree that most applications require you to agree to its terms and conditions before use (I must admit that I have yet to see one that doesn’t have some sort of user agreement), but that doesn’t make it controlling. I think being able to see how users use the application and collect demographical data is just a feedback mechanism that is mostly used to improve the application.

    When it comes to addiction. I don’t believe it’s an addiction to social media per se, but to the entertainment it gives us. The same could be said to television, gaming and other forms of entertainment. I believe the addiction is real and that moderation is still key.

    Yes, I believe that social media has an influence on our behaviour, but not control, we still do not lose our ability to decide how we think and behave. Facebook can manipulate what we see in our feeds and I agree that such is a form of control but the algorithms in place merely boomerang our choices, not theirs.


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