Penni, Janice (2015) The Online Evolution of Social Media: An Extensive Exploration of a Technological Phenomenomen and its Extended Use in Various Activities. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The rise and popularity of Social media technologies has created an interactive and communicative global phenomenon that has enabled billions of users to connect to other individuals to not just Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn; but also with media sharing platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest.
The aim of the research is to provide an overview of the evolution of online social media in order to contribute to current literature for a better understanding of this technological phenomenon. In this context, the study examine questions that help define social media and Web 2.0 applications, the functionalities, characteristics, usage, classifications, the history and development and challenges surrounding social media technologies as well as the value and impact in egovernment services.
Based on a number of nationwide surveys of more than 2000 American citizens, the study explored several characteristics of social media use. The results of the quantitative analysis show that there are considerable differences in the communication activities on popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram which includes the extent, purpose and classification of social media usage as well as social media users general attitudes towards the technologies. The results present the differences in the demographic groups particularly in terms of gender, age, education and income and the factors that determine the use of social media platforms.
The findings revealed that there is a strong relationship between age and gender and social media technologies and that the variables have a significant impact on how social media is used for social purposes. Age and gender was also strong predictors of social media use and the future usage of the tools. The results also showed that women, the younger generation, college graduates and those with higher incomes were dominant users of social media. The findings also indicated that media sharing platforms are becoming popular, for example, respondents who used YouTube are also more likely to use Instagram, due to the rise of video and photo tools dominating social activities. Future implications of social media technologies for social networking activities are also discussed.

Final thesis - PENNI.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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