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Reply to: Answer to peer Melissa RevI use social media a lot. The ones I use would be Snapchat, Facebook, and Tik Tok. I use Snapchat to get ahold of my friends and talk to them daily. I think the reason I use Snapchat the most is that growing up this is what we were taught to use to talk to other people, rather than just texting one another. I also use Facebook a lot to look at memes and to get ahold of my older family members who do not use Snapchat or any new social media sites. I have also had Facebook the longest, so I am the most comfortable using this app over the others. I use Tik Tok to watch funny videos and to see any new hacks that I could use daily. I would have to agree with the attributes listed because I feel that using these apps has made me more trusting of people and to voice my opinion to others. I use Facebook Marketplace where you literally message a stranger and you meet them somewhere to buy something. I feel like if I did not know what Facebook was, I probably would have to go to a garage sale or just buy a new one before ever messaging someone about that. I would think that we gain these characteristics because of the social media being used.

Jasmine CrI use facebook and snap chat regualry. I’ve started back using instragram. I love snap chat I can be my authentic self. I have more of control of who view my stories & who I accept. I feel like social media can be bias at times. Social media can risk the effects of depression. I personal feel like energy is transferable. Social media can sometimes protes negativity. Social media is addictive. My facebook is a audience for older people, church people, co-workers and family members. I keep them connect with things going on in my life and my kiddos life. Instagram I just started back using insta. I really just stroll through instragram and look around. My relationships are different on all my social media. I must admit I’m closer to my snapchat friends on social media.

M2 Theories and Influence
Previously, we were introduced to a number of theories that helped to explain social media’s influence
on our behavior. Let’s continue by refreshing ourselves on the theories we explored, and take a look at
additional examples demonstrating each theory.
Cultivation Theory
Cultivation theory looks at how we are subtly influenced over the course of time. For example, think
about language. In your house, certain words might have been forbidden and you would be startled to
hear them. But as you got older, you might hear them more and more at school, on the bus, at work, with
your friends, etc. Suddenly, it wasn’t such a big deal. You may have even found those words slipping out
of your own mouth!
For social media, cultivation theory could be applied to look at political views, religious views, shopping
habits, and more. But let’s look at something a little different – biases. Our social media groups tend to
reflect aspects of ourselves. Many of us have friends with views that we don’t wholeheartedly agree
with. What if we read something from them, time-after-time, which was a little uncomfortable, like all of
those xyz people are stupid?
If you read something to that effect over and over again, do you think it would affect how you think
about xyz people? Even if you just say something in passing conversation, like “I’ve heard that xyz
people are stupid.” What you read, especially over and over again, affects you and your beliefs.
Social Learning Theory
Social learning theory describes the way we learn behaviors. We get encouragement and motivation to
repeat a behavior when we are validated for it. Social learning theory can help us understand things like
attraction. Pleasant attributes, like humor, make a person more attractive to us. When a date (significant
other/spouse) says something funny, and we laugh, both sides of the interaction get pleasure out of it.
Humor is likely to be something we both appreciate and share more of in the future.
To take this idea into the social media realm, let’s look at Facebook statuses. If a person posts something
funny (pleasant, cute, etc.), people can give them a little “zing” of pleasure by “liking” their status. That
“like” is the encouragement or motivation to repeat the behavior, or to post more. A comment (either
positive or negative) is more interaction. Even something as simple as a “poke” could be interpreted as
pleasant attention as well – someone is thinking of me!
If a person was posting and it hung out there in dead space with no interaction, they might be less likely
to post something similar again. The person posting might find themselves waiting to update their status
until they know more people are at their Facebook pages. People are remarkably good at figuring out the
best and worst times to post.
Our social media sites and usage are shaped by us – but also by our audience! You know how concerned
parents are about who their kids are hanging out with? It’s just as important online. Who we socialize
with (and how we socialize with them) is important, both online and in-person, as we all mutually
influence each other.
Agenda Setting Theory
Agenda setting theory examines how social media can direct us where to focus our attention, but not
what to think. In other words, if we see enough coverage of a topic, we will think it is an important topic
and begin to think and research more about it. In this way, social media can drive what we are reading
and viewing. It filters and shapes media, leading us to decide that what is often discussed is actually
important – and it may not be something as important as another topic. This is where you may hear
about “spinning” a story. If something else becomes a focus, that may become the important thing that
everyone is talking about (leading to whatever needed to be spun being pushed to the side or perhaps
even forgotten.)
Politics are a great example of agenda setting theory. What is the big issue people are talking about now?
With our agenda set by social media, we are free to go off and learn more about it, but it might not be
something of major importance. However, people tend to think about things they see or hear about and
other (important) topics may be ignored. This is one way social media influences our learning.
An example is someone behaving poorly – say a politician who just raged on about bad driving gets
pulled over for speeding. If it’s a slower news day, this may be big news. People would be likely to hear
about it and maybe click on related links. If something else major came up (like someone else behaving
even worse!), we might be less likely to direct our attention that way if others did the same.
Uses and Gratification Theory
Most researchers ask, “What does media do to people?” Instead, uses and gratification theory really
turns around the question and asks, “What do people do to media?”
This theory says that we are active users of media, and that we determine what we want to read, watch,
and/or consume social media content. So, we can play games online with friends to escape, or watch a
YouTube video on something and then comment, or research our upcoming vacation using other
people’s reviews and comments. Blogs represent a pervasive form of leisure activity and informational
learning as well. What do you think you can tell about someone by looking at what blogs they read?
To take Uses and Gratification theory a bit farther, we can assume that any effects from consuming the
media we choose are intended affects – or at least could be anticipated if we considered. For example,
choosing to read a somewhat controversial blog would likely result in a lot of consideration and
discussion of the topics from the blog. It might result in changing attitudes and learning new things as
Let’s think about this theory using something most (if not all) of us have: our cell phones. We use our cell
phones to stay in touch with people, to call for help when needed, play a simple game, maybe even to
make a fashion or technology statement. But add in a smart phone (which again, many of us have) and
we have instant access to social media. People are taking more pictures, using different apps, and
connecting in different ways – especially using social media tools. How often do we see people waiting in
line, sitting on public transportation, or walking down the street while typing away on their phones?
With the proliferation of smart phones and other gadgets, we have instant and (nearly) constant
connection with our friends and connections on social media. We can use our phone to seek many
different gratifications: escape into a game, show off a beautiful project, seek approval of an outfit,
research a political position, and more.
Schemas are ways we organize information to help us better understand it. Schemas are especially
important as we talk about social media and biases.
A bias is a tendency or way of looking at feelings, ideas, and opinions. We rarely look at something
unbiased, we are influenced by our experiences, attitudes, the kind of day we’ve been having, our
friends, and even our social media. When you hear about someone having a bias, it usually refers to a
slightly skewed way of thinking (not necessarily wrong), but influenced by what the person knows.
As we’re organizing information using schemas, our biases have a way of working into that process. For
example, if you were thinking about people you would never want to hire; perhaps those “stupid xyz
people” from our earlier example. You might not have heard of them before, or met anyone from that
group, but if everything you have read or seen on social media leads you to believe they are “stupid,”
then you are already biased.
Of course, we all have biases. The purpose here is to be aware of the lens through which these things
come our way. We want to be open to experiencing another viewpoint, make our own decisions, and
recognize biases.
M2 Discussion – Socialization and Biases in
Social Media
Remember our question from the reading this week? We’re returning to it here.
As we already know, social media affects our lives. A 2010 Pew Research Center
Study found:
Social networking sites are increasingly used to keep up with close social ties.
The average user of a social networking site has more close ties and is half as likely to be
socially isolated as the average American.
Facebook users are more trusting than non-Facebook users.
Facebook users have more close relationships.
Internet users get more support from their social ties. In conjunction, Facebook users get
the most support versus other social media platforms.
Facebook users are more politically engaged than most people.
Facebook revives “dormant” relationships.
MySpace users are more likely to be open to opposing points of view.
Are people with these attributes drawn to the social media they use, or do they
develop these characteristics because of the social media they use? It’s a classic
research dilemma – which came first?
Think about this in your social media use. What kind(s) do you use? Why? What do you
think about the attributes listed above for different social media users? Write a good,
thoughtful response to the question above using examples from your experiences with
social media.

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