Assessment 3

Social Media Sites

He Li 47002781     Thursday 12pm, Fiona Andreallo

Social Media Sites

In the contemporary, social media plays a crucial role in society. The popularity of smartphones becomes the driving force to promote the influence of social media on people. Indeed, social media is increasingly infiltrating through our daily life. Therefore, some argued that this phenomenon would bring convenience, services as well as enrich social for individuals. However, some experts worried about social media would have negative impacts on society. For instance, Sam Hinton and Larissa Hjorth (2013) cited that the greatly popular and widespread of social media would cause a flattening in definitions of the ‘social’.(Lovink, 2012 ).  It is necessary to find out the concept as well as functions of SNSs to discuss this topic.

Social Network Sites (SNSs) are the foundation of the social media, which are the connector between social media platforms and people. To be more specific, SNSs established the real platforms that allowed users to create the online presence and connected with others. For example, our campaign used three Social Network Sites which bring an opportunity for us. Thus, we can post images, articles as well as videos via different social media platforms to connect and communicate with the audience. Moreover, SNSs not only provide a chance for individuals to receive and post a profile but also help them manage their social network. Boyd and Ellison (2007) claimed that social network sites are unique due to it allows individuals to make visible their social networks instead of meeting strangers. Social Network Sites are the essential factor to enhance the construction of social networks by the Internet, Ellison and Boyd defined the most accurate concept of Social Network Sites. Firstly, SNSs are the services based the web, which allowed individuals to construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system.( Hinton and Hjorth, 2013). It indicates people could access public articles, news as well as other kinds of information via the internet by using SNS. On the contrast, without the web, individuals cannot do these practices. It has limitations, and it also would strike some traditional social practices. For instances, there is independent between different social platforms, all the information and our promotion of Lunch Break Series were on the internet within particular social platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, WeChat and Instagram, because different platforms cannot share information with users. Secondly, SNSs clearly show a list of other related users who share a connection with administrators. (Boyd and Ellison, 2007)


Lastly, Boyd and Ellison (2007)  point out that SNS could view their and others’ lists of connections within the system. In fact, there is a company named HootSuite, which engages in social media management. This company could manage and integrate a user’s information from the different platforms. They could put all of the information in one platform that is much easier and intuitive to manage networks. Therefore, HootSuite could help businesses to promote their brands, according to the connection within the system.


SNS , Communities and Network

Sam Hinton and Larissa Hjorth elaborate networks and communities that are related to SNS that is online and offline connections between individuals. Author also analysis a research surveyed by Parks in 2011. He examined the online connections and the usage of MySpace. The result of this study showed that social and geographical reasons would effect online relationships. The key point is that online and offline communities are closely related to each other. From another aspect, online social networks were being used by people to maintain the existing offline connection, according to Parks (2011). Meanwhile, Boyd and Ellison provide another survey to support this opinion,  the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life SNS survey conducted in 2010. This research reveals that offline social communities and connection might determine user’s online friends and communities. For example, Hampton et al. (2011) found ‘ 89 per cent of North American users’ Facebook friends are people they have met more than once in person.’  ( Hinton and Hjorth, 2013 ). Meanwhile, individuals who are known from school, work, or other groups, they are likely to be online friends on Facebook, these kinds of situation account for a high percentage of the total number of friends on Facebook (Hampton et al. 2011).  In China, there is a social media named RenRen, as a typical application of networking for classmates, the online connection and communities nearly depend on school communities. Users need to register an account and provide the information about their educational background, including their real name as well as the school’s name which they have been studied in, from primary school until university. Besides, users also need to provide the specific enrollment time, and this could help system to recommended they add and connect with their classmates, so SNS would provide another platform for users to connect with their friends and classmates.9999999999renren_closeup

Another example is QQ. It is a social media which provide a platform for Chinese to connect with communities and culture which existed in offline society. ( Hinton and Hjorth, 2013). The physical environment and cultural factors are the essential reasons for the construction of the online communities. In other words, SNS might enrich people’s social activities. In fact, geographical distance is also a principal factor. It would influence online communities as well as network information. Social media users’ friends are majority close with them, and they generally prefer to spread and pay attention to local news and message.




Based on it, the official account on WeChat has a special function, the manager could find selective public articles and images for different users, according to their location. It might enhance the spread of news value, and it close to people’s daily life. Our team considered this factor, the manager of our official account would base on gender and location to divide our followers into different groups. We also encourage the audience to share our news with their friends.Hinton and Hjorth (2013) claim that although SNS may span the globe, the communities and relationships we maintain not only through the social network but also maintain those through daily life and face to face.


In my opinion, Boyd and Ellison combine concept with examples to reveal social network sites, online and offline communities. Although there are some drawbacks in social media, it is a supplement and helpful for individuals to maintain their offline social network. They objectively elucidate the concept functions as well the influence of  SNS. By citing and analyzing studies to support the theory, the selection of experiments is variety,  which avoids geographical features in social media. Also, it efficiently shows the generality and specific characteristics of social media in different countries and places. The most interesting part of this course is that the concepts could connect with examples. Through these examples we can find useful information about our campaign. We also could do the campaign by ourselves to experience the process, which is a valuable practice. Meanwhile, research, preparation and timetable are important before the campaign starting. These could ensure that the activities carried out orderly and stable.

Reference list:

Boyd, d. and Ellison N. B. (2007) ‘Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship’, Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 13 (1). Retrieved from

Hinton, S. & Hjorth, L. (2013). Social network sites. In Understanding social media (pp. 32-54). London: SAGE Publications Ltd. doi: 10.4135/9781446270189.n3

Hampton K. N., Sessions Goulet, L., Rainie, L. and Purcell, K. (2011) Social Networking Sites and Our Lives. 16 June. Retrieved from

Lovink, G. (2012) Networks Without a Cause: A Critique of Social Media. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Parks M. R. (2011) ‘Social network sites as virtual communities’, in Z. Papacharissi (Ed.), A Networked Self: Identity, Community and Culture on Social Network Sites. New York: Routledge. pp. 105–123.


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