Social Media Theories in New Media

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Social media theories in New Media broadly refer to the various theoretical frameworks used to explain how and why people engage in social media activities. These theories draw upon a range of backgrounds and influence other related fields, such as communication theory, psychology, sociology, marketing and discourse analysis.

Social media is the latest innovation in communication technology that has revolutionized the way people interact with each other. It has become a popular tool for businesses to reach out to their target audiences, to build relationships and to engage with their customers. As such, the study of social media theories has become increasingly important in the field of new media.

A Comprehensive Guide to Social Media Theories

Social media theories help us understand how people interact on social media platforms. They help us make sense of the complex relationships between users, content, networks, and technology. Some of the most common theories in social media include the Social Capital Theory, the Network Effects Theory, the Cultivation Theory, and the Spiral of Silence Theory.

Staying up to date with the latest social media theories can help businesses maximise their digital campaigns. This comprehensive guide will take you through an overview of major social media theories, how they can be applied in practical terms, and how they can be used to improve marketing efforts.

Uses and Gratification Theory (UGT)

One of the most prominent social media theories is Uses and Gratification Theory (UGT), which explains that individuals actively seek out specific functions from media content to fulfil their needs and desires. This means people are attracted by certain benefits offered by different types of media use including seeking entertainment, companionship or even obtaining knowledge. UGT plays an important role in understanding consumer behavior for publishing firms as it indicates what users look for when engaging with online platforms like Instagram or Twitter.

Social Identity Theory (SIT)

Another influential social media theory is Social Identity Theory (SIT). SIT looks at how people identify themselves within particular social groups or cultures through self-categorization processes while engaging with others on social media platforms. This theory suggests that people’s self-concept is derived from their perceptions of group identities and the roles they play within them. According to this theory, people use social media to construct and reinforce their identities and to define their relationships with other people.

Self-expression is seen as one of the key motivations behind using these channels but depending on specific circumstances, many users may define themselves according to their membership within certain digital communities instead of revealing personal information directly about themselves.

It also looks into why people feel a need to create virtual personas that they can share publicly without compromising on privacy issues facing them when compared to real life situations where control over personal identity may be lost due to physical interactions that cannot be easily moderated by technology alone; this highlights the importance placed upon customization features available through apps like Snapchat Stories or Facebook Messenger’s augmented reality filters where users can further personalize their profile pictures with extra effects not possible via traditional photography methods.

These two popular concepts are just some examples among many others used in today’s new age digital settings exploring topics from platform economics research analyzing the structural differences created between app developers versus consumers; game dynamics examining player engagement analytics in order gain better insights; artificial intelligence advances delving into image recognition capabilities advancements across automated bots – these types of ideas represent new era findings accentuating previous works bringing light into more complex networks born from connected societies within innovative web experience designs?

The Social Capital Theory

The Social Capital Theory suggests that social media users build relationships and networks that can be used to their advantage. This theory is based on the idea that people can use their networks to gain access to resources, knowledge, and opportunities that would otherwise not be available to them.

The Network Effects Theory

The Network Effects Theory states that the use of social media platforms increases the value of the network for its users. This theory is based on the idea that as more people join a network, the more valuable it becomes.

The Cultivation Theory

The Cultivation Theory suggests that individuals develop their attitudes, beliefs, and values through repeated exposure to media messages. This theory is based on the idea that individuals are influenced by the messages they encounter on social media.

Spiral of Silence Theory

The Spiral of Silence Theory suggests that people are less likely to express their opinions if they believe that their views are not shared by the majority of their peers. This theory is based on the idea that people tend to self-censor when they feel their views are not supported by the majority.

Networked Publics Theory

This theory suggests that social media networks act as a platform for public conversations and debates. It states that publics are formed when people come together in an online space to discuss topics of mutual interest.

Affordance Theory

This theory suggests that the affordances of a medium or technology determine how people interact with it. According to this theory, social media has the ability to enable new forms of communication and interactions that weren’t possible before.

Attention Economy Theory

This theory suggests that people’s attention is a valuable resource and that social media platforms are competing for it. It states that social media companies are constantly looking for ways to keep users engaged and that users are becoming more selective about what they pay attention to.

Connected Learning Theory

This theory suggests that social media can be used to facilitate learning and knowledge exchange

These are just a few of the many theories that are used to explain how people use and interact on social media. By understanding these theories, businesses can better utilize social media to engage with their customers and build relationships.

Business Leverage Theory.

Business Leverage Theory focuses on the idea that businesses can use tools like social media to acquire and leverage customers. This theory suggests that by connecting with customers through social media, businesses can gain insights into their behavior, preferences, and needs that they can then use to formulate more effective marketing strategies. This theory also focuses on how businesses are able to use the platform of the network itself to better target potential new customers.

Cognitive Dissonance Theory.

According to Cognitive Dissonance Theory, when faced with conflicting beliefs, attitudes, thoughts or behaviors, people tend to reduce the dissonance created by bringing them into alignment with each other. This theory argues that social media platforms provide an outlet for people to share their opinions and ideas on a large scale. As people are exposed to different perspectives, they may choose to modify their own beliefs in order to bring them into line with those of the majority.

Social Exchange Theory.

Social Exchange Theory was developed by sociologist George Homans to understand how people interact with each other and the value they gain or lose in social exchanges. The basic idea behind this theory is that individuals weigh the potential benefits of an interaction with another person against the effort and risks involved, in order to decide whether to engage or not. On social media platforms, exchanges can be based on likes, shares, comments, and follows; Each activity holds potential rewards that individuals weigh when deciding which content to consume or share.

Diffusion of Innovations Theory.

The Diffusion of Innovations Theory helps explain how social media users spread information. This theory was developed by Everett Rogers in 1962 and states that a new idea or product will be adopted by the population, but not all at once. Instead, people are more likely to adopt the idea or product if those in their network have done so first – this is because they will feel more secure and informed about the new concept if it has already been tested by someone they know. Diffusion of Innovations can help marketers create content that spreads faster and to a larger audience.

Social Comparison Theory.

The Social Comparison Theory suggests that people subconsciously make comparisons between themselves and others. It suggests that when people are uncertain of something, they use those around them to define their understanding of the topic. This is important to consider in social media marketing, as brands need to think about how their audience is likely to interpret the message they’re sending out. Creating content that appeals to people’s standards and values can help increase engagement and build relationships with customers.

5 Life-Changing Social Media Theories Every Marketer Should Know

Get a leg up on the competition by understanding the cutting-edge theories driving social media today! Here you’ll find seven life-changing social media theories every marketer should know.

Social media is constantly changing and evolving, offering dynamic new opportunities for marketers to engage with customers. To maximize the impact of your social media efforts, it’s important to stay on top of the cutting-edge theories that are driving the industry today. Here, you’ll find five transformational social media theories every marketer should know.

Social Networks as Knowledge Markets – Daniel Fletcher

According to Daniel Fletcher—former CMO of Crate and Barrel and speaker at the Social Media Forecast Conference—social networks are not just a platform for communicating with customers, they can also be used as knowledge markets. Fletcher states that you can use social media to gather valuable insight into customer needs, preferences and pain points. Additionally, you can use these platforms as a space to test out new ideas and initiatives. Gathering feedback from customers through polls, surveys, or other methods is an excellent way to gain a better understanding of how your target market thinks.

The Two-Step Flow of Communication – Paul Lazarsfeld and Elihu Katz

This theory proposes that people’s attitudes and behaviors are largely influenced by their peers, particularly the opinion leaders in their social networks. This notion challenges the traditional one-step flow of communication model which assumes that after hearing a message, most consumers will directly act upon it. The two-step flow suggests that media influences first reach opinion leaders, who then discuss the topic and pass on their interpretations to regular individuals. Marketers should use this theory to understand how they can best target influencers—and also how they can shape conversations among users within groups or networks with similar interests.

Narcissism and Social Network Use – Larry Rosen

This social media theory was first developed by psychologist Larry Rosen to explain why some people are more active on social networks than others. The theory is based on the concept that social network use reflects individuals’ levels of narcissism and self-esteem. According to the theory, people with high levels of narcissism tend to use social networks for increasing their popularity and ego—that is, they post primarily about themselves, highlight their successes, and react fiercely to criticism. Meanwhile, those with lower levels of narcissism may have different goals such as connecting with family members or sharing thoughtful content. Marketers should factor this in when targeting different customer segments on social media platforms.

Transformative Engagement on Social Media – Kristine DeLeon

Kristine DeLeon’s theory of transformative engagement helps marketers engage with their customers in a meaningful way. She defines transformative engagement as when individuals use social media to become more connected and intimate, allowing them to explore different parts of themselves and make sense of their lives. Marketers should think about how they can use social networks as a tool to create meaningful connections with customers that can ultimately lead to improved customer loyalty.

Social Media as an Attention Economy – Tim O’Reilly

One of the biggest themes driving social media today is the idea that we are living in an “attention economy”. This refers to the fact that our attention as consumers and users is becoming a valued commodity, with companies vying for our attention on social networks like never before. Tim O’Reilly, who coined this term, believed that one of the most important factors for survival in an internet-driven world is how well companies can harness and use their customer’s attention. As such, marketers should be always thinking about how they can best capture and maintain user attention on social networks.

Updated on: February 3, 2023

6 responses on "Social Media Theories in New Media"

  1. Avatar of Lettie

    Hello, can these theories be used in academic research?

  2. Avatar of Robin

    Hello, may you please provide me with more information on the Networked Publics Theory. Additional research materials etc.

  3. Avatar of

    hello can you send here a theories about influence of social media

  4. Avatar of

    hello can you send here a Theories about influence of social media?

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    When did this Theories publicated?

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