Media and social media


Media and social media

What is the difference?

What is the difference?

Both words mean that it is a way to communicate with others, but it are rather vague terms. I don't think that I can correctly define what it means.

Social media is a part of the media nowadays and many people use the media to influence others. It is the best way to reach people.

I don't think that you can say that social media and the media are so different. You can only see a bit of the world at the time, in other words, people influence you all the time.

A screen which shows a man using binoculars. The glasses of the binoculars have the Facebook logo on it.

Social media binoculars By Glen Carrie - Public Domain licensed.

Social networking versus social media

This article is about...

I am writing about the popular social media services here. Email and chat might even be a social media, according to some definitions, but I personally see that as social networking which is a different thing.

Actually, I also discuss social networking in this article. I also believe that email will stop being used some day. Read further to find out why.

What are the differences?

I personally see social media as the full package which includes media and information. Social networking is usually included in this full package.

I mean the part in which people chat or talk with others when I use the term social networking. Social networking applications are things like IRC and email. Some might see these things as social media, but I see it as a different thing.

We obviously need to communicate, but I think that it is better to only use simple chat tools to plan a date and place to meet unless you need to influence others. Humans are social animals by nature and social media is not that social.

Research papers

Research papers

Social media similar to (or is) a drug and can be bad for your health.

Six white pills with social media logos on them on a hand.

Social media pills By Marc Schaefer - Public Domain licensed.

Around one-third of humans on the planet are using social media, and some of these people are displaying maladaptive, excessive use of these sites.
- Dar Meshi (lead author and assistant professor at MSU)

You can find many research papers about why it is like a drug. I just selected two of those.

Research source: Excessive social media users demonstrate impaired decision making in the Iowa Gambling Task
Year: 2019;
Authors: Dar B Meshi and Anastassia Elizarova and Andrew R. Bender and Antonio Verdejo-Garcia;
Published in: Journal of behavioral addictions;

Another related research paper: Social Networking Sites and Addiction: Ten Lessons Learned
Year: 2017;
Authors: Daria J. Kuss and Mark D. Griffiths;
Published in: International journal of environmental research and public health;

There is also research on the positive sides of social networking. Someone who uses a social networking site might be more likely to avoid serious psychological distress according to this research paper. WARNING this site contains proprietary or unlicensed JS!

Keep in mind that I don't see social networking as social media. Social networking is just communicating with each-other, something like IRC, video-chatting or chatting. Social media is the full thing which usually includes media.

More disadvantages

More disadvantages

That research might have shown you, why social media is probably not healthy and addicting, but it has even more disadvantages.

Many of these issues are also present in the media. I already mentioned that they are pretty alike. My focus is on the social media issue, but the media is very alike. You can even argue that social media is a part of the media.

Fake news

It usually contains a lot of propaganda and lies. It can contain some truths as well, but many also believe the lies, since they don't have the time or are too lazy to do some research.

People actually get paid to promote stuff. Social media is still a marketing tool.

People don't know what they accept

Many people, including kids don't read the extreme policies which you accept by making a social media account.

Some policies of the popular Facebook network say:
  • Nothing you do on Facebook is private. They may use all the information which they receive about you. That includes things which you haven't done yet.
    They also collect information about things which you do after you leave the website;
  • They may use your identity and can use it in ads;
  • Deleted content is not really deleted;
  • They may use your data for many purposes;
  • They may give your data to "partners";
  • ...

Keep in mind that this isn't even everything. I recommend the "Terms of Service; Didn’t Read" add-on if you want to see the Terms of Service in a more readable format.

Terms of Service; Didn’t Read

This extension informs you instantly of your rights online by showing an unintrusive icon in the toolbar. You can click on this icon to get summaries from the Terms of Service; Didn't Read initiative.

License: AGPLv3

You can waste a lot of your valuable time on social media

Your time is valuable. Life’s short. Don't let social media eat your time, many people don't realize how much time social media actually takes. Not much (if even anything) is worth living a life that you wouldn’t like. Nothing is worth putting aside what you have always wanted to be.

It is like a drug

The research papers are probably enough proof, but they probably consciously know what they are doing and that makes it worse.

Applications are often made to be addicting and social media is no exception. Sean Parker, a early Facebook investor noticed those things. Many people noticed it.

It’s a social-validation feedback loop... exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology. The inventors, creators — it's me, it's Mark, it's Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it's all of these people — understood this, consciously. And we did it anyway.
- Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook ( )
Good reasons to use social media

My experience

I can't think of many really good reasons. Using it to have contact with others is a bad reason in my opinion.

People who care about you shouldn't abandon you if you care about your privacy and/or your health when you move to a different platform. It might be less convenient, but that shouldn't matter.

I realized that I don't have many real friends when I left Facebook. Good friends are hard to find. Many didn't understand me and didn't want to follow me to a different platform.

Your good friends will keep in touch in some other way. Your other "friends", you probably shouldn't trust them too much. People use others to reach their goals all the time.

Social media is probably not going away soon. I think that it is important to know your limit if you decide to use that poison. Test what it does to you if you spend a few weeks without social media.

I personally feel better in general when I stop using social media for a while. Do what feels right in the long term and play with the options. How much time on social media is too much?

Good reasons to use social media

I only found one reason which I personally find good. That reason is to influence people. Many people use it and you can try to sell them an idea or a product.

I probably don't find it ethical, but it is just the fastest and easiest way to market an idea or product. Many people use it and it works.

Proprietary social media

Proprietary social media?

Yes, you read that correctly. It is time to talk about the big ones. The ones that are known for spying on their users.

A opened box of big white pills. The label of this box says 'Facebook'.

Facebook pills, I couldn't find the original creator of the picture - Public Domain licensed.

Every new person who learns about privacy or free software matters. We can't easily convince the people, which aren't aware of these issues, if they are stuck on those platforms.

I personally will probably add share buttons for these platforms. Don't worry though, I won't use the buttons which these platforms provide. Those buttons track you. This site cares about your privacy. It is just a way to get my content to the people who aren't aware of these issues.

Keep in mind that I don't recommend you to stay on those proprietary platforms! I don't recommend it, since you give them an extra user. These platforms only exist because of their users (and usually also the personal data of those users).

Social networking

Social networking

I already mentioned why it is probably a better choice as social media... but it also has some disadvantages.


The current most used social networking platform is probably email. Email has a lot of issues, but many people still use it because it is convenient.

Some, but far from all of those issues are spam, it is easy to spoof(fake) an email address and it is not encrypted by default.

Email is convenient because the most people have it. It also isn't too hard to use. Many sites use email to validate your account. Disposable email services exists if you don't want to share your email with a website.

Can I get rid of these problems?

It depends.

The problem is that good alternatives exist, but the communities are a bit small, so the norm isn't using these platforms yet. This makes it harder to have many people to communicate with.

You can use these alternatives which might fix many of the problems which email has as a solution.

A tip for new social networking platforms

Email is something which many people have, because they actually need it to validate themselves on websites. Make sure that your social networking platform has something like that.

Mark my words, email will probably stop being used some day. It could be your platform that replaces it.