Encyclopedia of Social Media and Politics

Encyclopedia of Social Media and Politics


Edited by: Kerric Harvey


The Encyclopedia of Social Media and Politics explores how the rise of social media is altering politics both in the United States and in key moments, movements, and places around the world. Its scope encompasses the disruptive technologies and activities that are changing basic patterns in American politics and the amazing transformations that social media use is rendering in other political systems heretofore resistant to democratization and change. In a time when social media are revolutionizing and galvanizing politics in the United States and around the world, this encyclopedia is a must-have reference. It reflects the changing landscape of politics where old modes and methods of political communication from elites to the masses (top down) and from the masses to elites (bottom up) are being ...

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    • Celebrities and Pioneers in Social Media and Politics
    • Congressional Social Media Usage (Most Active Members)
    • Measuring Social Media's Political Impact
    • Misuse of Social Media in the Political Arena: Issues and Ethics
    • Social Media, Candidates, and Campaigns
    • Social Media, Politics, and Culture
    • Social Media and Networking Web Sites
    • Social Media and Political Unrest
    • Social Media and Social Issues, Activism, and Movements
    • Social Media Concepts and Theories
    • Social Media Regulation, Public Policy, and Actual Practice
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      Reader's Guide

      About the Editor

      A tenured associate professor and the Associate Director of the Center for Innovative Media in the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, Dr. Kerric Harvey is also a working playwright and multimedia producer who explores intercultural conflict in a wide variety of periods and places, including real-world, online, and social media landscapes. She also writes about the media arts and cultural archetypes in the public imagination, the anthropological effects of new media technologies, digital storytelling, and the relationship between new media narratives and political identity.

      In 1995 she was appointed as one of 33 participants who constituted a National Science Foundation task force charged by the Clinton White House with setting a 21st-century national research agenda for Internet issues from the anthropological perspective. Her research and policy development work during the formative stages of the Internet era continued with a two-year stint on the Smithsonian Institution's Curriculum Initiative Program National Advisory Board.

      Her work in new technologies and society continues through her appointment as a 2012 visiting scholar at the University of Oxford's Bodleian Library, by a host of publications ranging from books to juried academic articles, and by her many international academic presentations including recent talks at the Oxford Internet Institute and at the British Museum.

      An award-winning teacher, she has been on the George Washington University faculty for just over 20 years. Harvey worked as a reporter in Native American print journalism; in research, script development, and production for educational film; in production and operations in public access television; and with the International Documentary unit of the Seattle public television affiliate station. Harvey balances her academic career with international theater, multimedia, and documentary productions in both physical and virtual spaces. She has had her original dramatic work produced professionally in Scotland; Ireland; New York; Pennsylvania; Vancouver, Canada; and Washington, D.C.; as well as having original radio drama aired on Canadian public radio in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and on RTE-One, Ireland's premiere public radio station, which broadcast her 2001 Driving in Ireland as a Play of the Week. She is a member of the University Film and Video Association, the Irish Film Institute, and the Dramatists Guild of America, as well as a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

      List of Contributors

      • Natalia Abuin Vences

        Universidad Complutense

      • Tony E. Adams

        Northeastern Illinois University

      • Jason Michael Adams

        Grand Valley State University

      • Alisa Agozzino

        Ohio Northern University

      • Sadiya Akram

        University of Canberra

      • Gordon Alley-Young

        Kingsborough Community College

      • Ines Amaral

        Instituto Superior Miguel Torga

      • Reynaldo Anderson

        Harris-Stowe University

      • R. Bruce Anderson

        Florida Southern College

      • LaKesha Anderson

        Indiana State University

      • Janelle Applequist

        Pennsylvania State University

      • Catherine Aquilina

        Florida Southern College

      • Judith Aston

        University of the West of England

      • Robert K. Avery

        University of Utah

      • Hakan Aydogan

        Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

      • Lázaro M. Bacallao-Pino

        CH-CIALC, National Autonomous University of Mexico

      • Ingrid Bachmann

        Pontifical Catholic University of Chile

      • Credence Baker

        Tarleton State University

      • Stijn Bannier

        Maastricht University

      • Soumia Bardhan

        St. Cloud State University

      • Boris Barkanov

        Harvard University

      • Michael J. Beatty

        University of Miami

      • Ralph Beliveau

        University of Oklahoma

      • Carole V. Bell

        Northeastern University

      • Anat Ben-David

        University of Amsterdam

      • Josh Bendickson

        Louisiana State University

      • Roy Bendor

        Simon Fraser University

      • Magdalena Bielenia-Grajewska

        University of Gdansk, Poland and SISSA, Italy

      • Rebecca Bishop

        Independent Scholar

      • Rena Bivens

        Carleton University

      • Jason Edward Black

        University of Alabama

      • David Bobbitt

        Wesleyan College

      • Samuel Boerboom

        Montana State University–Billings

      • Dieter Bögenhold

        Alpen-Adria-University Klagenfurt

      • Grant David Bollmer

        University of Sydney

      • Bradley J. Bond

        University of San Diego

      • Helen Bond

        Howard University School of Education

      • Stephanie E. Bor

        University of Utah

      • Sarah Boslaugh

        Keenesaw State University

      • Johannes Botes

        University of Baltimore

      • Melanie Bourdaa

        Université Bordeaux 3

      • Ryan Branson

        Harris-Stowe State University

      • Swati Jaywant Rao Bute

        Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Dehli

      • Francisco Sierra Caballero

        University of Seville

      • Romina Cachia

        Universidad de Sevilla

      • Steven J. Campbell

        University of South Carolina, Lancaster

      • Gordon S. Carlson

        Fort Hays State University

      • Pilar Carrera

        Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

      • Catherine Cassara

        Bowling Green State University

      • Pablo Castagno

        Universidad Nacional de La Matanza

      • Jeanette Castillo

        Ball State University

      • Leslie Caughell

        Virginia Wesleyan College

      • Jacquelyn Chinn

        Texas A&M University

      • Sujin Choi

        Kookmin University

      • Chandra D. Clark

        Florida State University

      • Amanda Clarke

        University of Oxford

      • David E. Clementson

        University of Miami

      • Joshua Cohen

        Stanford University

      • Deborah Elizabeth Cohen

        Sogang University

      • Yosem Companys

        Stanford University

      • Richard S. Conley

        University of Florida

      • Earl Conteh-Morgan

        University of South Florida

      • Gary Copeland

        University of Oklahoma

      • Tina Cota-Robles

        Florida Southern College

      • Brett J. Craig

        Nazarbayev University

      • Shirley M. Crawley

        Western Connecticut State University

      • Andrew Jared Critchfield

        Communication and Culture Consulting

      • Francis Dalisay

        University of Hawai‘i at Manoa

      • Emirhan Darcan

        Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

      • Amber Davisson

        DePaul University

      • Emiliana De Blasio

        CMCS Luiss

      • Antonio de Velasco

        University of Memphis

      • Carla De Ycaza

        New York University

      • David DeIuliis

        Duquesne University

      • Jeffrey Delbert

        Lenoir-Rhyne University

      • Wendy Dent

        University of Southern California

      • Benjamin W. L. Derhy Kurtz

        University of East Anglia

      • Tiffany Derville Gallicano

        University of Oregon

      • Philip Di Salvo

        Università della Svizzera italiana

      • Larry Diamond

        Stanford University

      • Michael Dick

        University of Toronto

      • Dimitra Dimitrakopoulou

        Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

      • John Dolan

        Pennsylvania State University

      • Aziz Douai

        University of Ontario

      • Sarah A. Downey

        Independent Scholar

      • Delia Dumitrica

        University of Calgary

      • Catherine Easton

        Lancaster University

      • Justin Eckstein

        University of Denver

      • Jennifer Edwards

        Tarleton State University

      • Anthony C. Edwards

        Tarleton State University

      • el-Sayed el-Aswad

        United Arab Emirates University

      • Jennifer Epley

        Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi

      • Ben Epstein

        DePaul University

      • Daniel C. Faltesek

        Oregon State University

      • Paul Falzone

        Independent Scholar

      • Anna Feigenbaum

        Bournemouth University

      • Eran Fisher

        Open University

      • Katherine R. Fleck

        Ohio Northern University

      • Courtney V. (Vail) Fletcher

        University of Portland

      • Jaime R. S. Fonseca

        Technical University of Lisbon

      • Sean D. Foreman

        Barry University

      • Lisa Foster

        University of Oklahoma

      • Lucas G. Freire

        University of Exeter

      • Mike Friedrichsen

        Stuttgart Media University

      • Janie Fritz

        Duquesne University

      • MacKenzie Gailey

        Florida Southern College

      • Deborah Gambs

        Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York

      • Bradley A. Gangnon

        Arts Institutes International

      • Alberto Garcia Garcia

        Complutense University of Madrid

      • Dustin Garlitz

        University of South Florida

      • Charlotte Lucy Garraway

        Texas A&M University

      • Carolyn Garrity

        Birmingham-Southern College

      • Sherice Gearhart

        University of Nebraska at Omaha

      • Matthew Geras

        Florida Southern College

      • Paolo Gerbaudo

        King's College London

      • Hannah Gifford

        Florida Southern College

      • Homero Gil de Zúñiga

        University of Texas at Austin

      • Mark J. Glantz

        St. Norbert College

      • Debra Glassco

        Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

      • Simon Gottschalk

        University of Nevada, Las Vegas

      • Tommaso Gravante

        University of Seville

      • Matthew J. Gritter

        Angelo State University

      • Tracy Groenewegen

        University of British Columbia

      • Anastasiia Grynko

        National University of Kyiv–Mohyla Academy

      • Darin Gully

        Ithaca College

      • Chao Guo

        Indiana University Purdue University–Indianapolis

      • Justin D. Hackett

        California University of Pennsylvania

      • Alem Hailu

        Howard University College of Arts and Sciences

      • Ernest A. Hakanen

        Drexel University

      • Michael Hammer

        University of Georgia

      • Kyle A. Hammock

        Knox College

      • Josh Hanan

        Univeristy of Denver

      • Jason Hannan

        Northwestern University

      • Summer Harlow

        University of Texas at Austin

      • Kandace Harris

        Clark-Atlanta University

      • Dominique Harrison

        Howard University

      • William Hart

        Norfolk State University

      • Val Hartouni

        University of California, San Diego

      • Jason A. Helfer

        Knox College

      • Marion Jeanette Herbert

        Independent Scholar

      • Brian Heslop

        University of Memphis

      • John Hickman

        Berry College

      • Arne Hintz

        Cardiff University

      • R. Lance Holbert

        Ohio State University

      • Daniel Holgado

        Departamento de Psicología Social Universidad de Sevilla

      • Mohammed Ibahrine

        American University of Sharjah

      • Brandon M. Inabinet

        Furman University

      • Ece Inan

        Girne American University

      • Chris Ingraham

        University of Colorado Boulder

      • Daniel Jackson

        Bournemouth University

      • Susan Jacobson

        Florida International University

      • Isidro Maya Jariego

        University of Seville

      • J. Jacob Jenkins

        California State University Channel Islands

      • Manel Jiménez-Morales

        Universitat Pompeu Fabra

      • Janet Johnson

        University of Texas at Dallas

      • Wilson R. Kaiser

        Jacksonville University

      • David A. Karpf

        George Washington University

      • Kelly Kaufhold

        Texas Tech University

      • Anandam Kavoori

        University of Georgia

      • Ahmet Kaya

        Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

      • Chun-Sik Kim

        Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

      • Spencer H. Kimball

        Emerson College

      • Jeremy Kleidosty

        University of St. Andrews

      • Jon Klos

        Florida Southern College

      • Randolph Kluver

        Texas A&M University

      • Anna Klyueva

        University of Oregon

      • La Loria Konata

        Georgia State University

      • Piotr Konieczny

        University of Pittsburgh

      • Tetiana Kostiuchenko

        National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

      • Bill Kte'pi

        Independent Scholar

      • Joanna Kulesza

        University of Lodz

      • Chenjerai Kumanyika

        Pennsylvania State University

      • Matthew J. Kushin

        Shepherd University

      • Jennifer L. Lambe

        University of Delaware

      • Patricia G. Lange

        California College of the Arts

      • Karla Lant

        Northern Arizona University

      • Mark C. Lashley

        University of Georgia

      • Regina Lawrence

        University of Texas–Austin

      • Danielle Lawson

        Edinboro University

      • J. Roselyn Lee

        Ohio State University

      • Megan A. Lee

        Knox College

      • Jooyeon Lee

        University of Leeds

      • Lara Lengel

        Bowling Green State University

      • Cathy Leogrande

        Le Moyne University

      • Christopher Leslie

        Polytechnic Institute of New York University

      • Koen Leurs

        Utrecht University

      • Jenifer L. Lewis

        Nazarbayev University

      • Eric Liguori

        California State University, Fresno

      • Darren G. Lilleker

        Bournemouth University

      • Min Liu

        Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville

      • Kim Lorber

        Ramapo College of New Jersey

      • Sarah Maben

        Tarleton State University

      • Kristen L. Majocha

        University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

      • Steven Malcic

        University of California, Santa Barbara

      • Rick Malleus

        Seattle University

      • Jimmie Manning

        Northern Illinois University

      • Francisco Paulo Jamil Almeida Marques

        Federal University of Ceará

      • Terry Marsh

        Norfolk State University

      • Marcienne Martin

        Université de La Réunion

      • Tamara Martsenyuk

        National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

      • Ryan McGrady

        North Carolina State University

      • Kelly A. McHugh

        Florida Southern College

      • Heather McIntosh

        Boston College

      • Stefania Milan

        Tilburg University

      • William J. Miller

        Flagler College

      • Diane M. Monahan

        Saint Leo University

      • Aaron J. Moore

        Rider University

      • Mel Moore

        University of Northern Colorado

      • Jessica L. Moore

        Butler University

      • Marco Morini

        Macquarie University

      • Yvonne Mulhern

        Tarleton State University

      • Paul Murschetz

        University of Salzburg

      • Siho Nam

        University of North Florida

      • Heather Nance

        Texas Tech University

      • Sorin Nastasia

        Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

      • Meredith Neville-Shepard

        University of Kansas

      • Ryan Neville-Shepard

        Indiana University–Purdue University Columbus

      • Joyce Neys

        Erasmus University Rotterdam

      • Konrad Ng

        Smithsonian Institution

      • Gage Nicholas

        Florida Southern College

      • Gwendelyn S. Nisbett

        University of North Texas

      • Safiya Umoja Noble

        University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

      • José-Manuel Noguera-Vivo

        Catholic University of San Antonio

      • Alison N. Novak

        Drexel University

      • Eric J. Novotny

        American University

      • Patricia Núñez

        Complutense University

      • Pamela C. O'Brien

        Bowie State University

      • Timothy J. O'Neill

        Southwestern University

      • Jonathan A. Obar

        University of Toronto

      • Magdalena Olszanowski

        Concordia University

      • Sule Yüksel Özmen

        Karadeniz Technical University

      • Jeremy Packer

        North Carolina State University

      • Yong Jin Park

        Howard University

      • Han Woo Park

        Yeungnam University

      • Sung Gwan Park

        Seoul National University

      • Justin Paulette

        Independent Scholar

      • Shayne Pepper

        Northeastern Illinois University

      • Kaitlyn Pettet

        Berry College

      • Alexander E. Pichugin

        Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

      • Georgia Piggot

        University of British Columbia

      • Mihaela Popescu

        California State University, San Bernardino

      • Colin Porlezza

        Università della Svizzera italiana

      • Narissra Maria Punyanunt-Carter

        Texas Tech University

      • Mark A. Rademacher

        Butler University

      • Veena V. Raman

        Pennsylvania State University

      • Leslie Regan Shade

        University of Toronto

      • Marie-Eve Reny

        University of Chicago

      • Leslie Reynard

        Washburn University

      • Jennifer J. Richardson

        Southern Vermont College

      • LaChrystal Ricke

        Sam Houston State University

      • Jason Roberts

        Quincy College

      • Michelle Rodino-Colocino

        Pennsylvania State University

      • Leocadia Díaz Romero

        Independent Scholar

      • Devan Rosen

        Ithaca College

      • Nathaniel T. Rosenberg

        Knox College

      • Rafal Rybak

        Northeastern Illinois University

      • Magdalena Saldana

        University of Texas–Austin

      • Sergei Samoilenko

        George Mason University

      • Eric C. Sands

        Berry College

      • Kim Sawchuk

        Concordia University

      • Lisa Saye

        Independent Scholar

      • Dan Schill

        Southern Methodist University

      • Hans C. Schmidt

        Pennsylvania State University–Brandywine

      • Jason Schmitt

        Green Mountain College

      • Stephen T. Schroth

        Knox College

      • Gilson Schwartz

        University of São Paulo

      • Sónia Pedro Sebastião

        ISCSP, Technical University of Lisbon

      • Marc-David L. Seidel

        University of British Columbia

      • Donatella Selva

        Luiss University of Rome

      • Emily Shaw

        Thomas College

      • Fei Shen

        City University of Hong Kong

      • Tamara Shepherd

        Ryerson University

      • Kaia N. Shivers

        Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

      • Carlos Nunes Silva

        University of Lisbon

      • Maria Anne Simone

        Rowan University

      • Aram Sinnreich

        Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

      • Jörgen Skågeby

        University of Stockholm

      • Alexandra Nutter Smith

        University of Washington–Tacoma

      • Melissa M. Smith

        Mississippi University for Women

      • Latisha Smith

        Harris-Stowe State University

      • Christina M. Smith

        California State University, Channel Islands

      • Nicole E. Snell

        Bentley University

      • Meghan R. Sobel

        University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

      • Hanna Söderbaum

        Uppsala Universitet

      • David Spiegel

        Institute for Advanced Study

      • Ralf Spiller

        Macromedia University for Media and Communication

      • Carmen Stavrositu

        University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

      • Keri K. Stephens

        University of Texas at Austin

      • Maria G. Stover

        Washburn University

      • Ingrid Sturgis

        Howard University

      • Jennifer Summary

        Southeast Missouri State University

      • Chit Cheung Matthew Sung

        Lancaster University

      • Molly Swiger

        Baldwin-Wallace University

      • Saman Talib

        Humber College

      • Rhon Teruelle

        University of Toronto

      • Doug Tewksbury

        Niagara University

      • Neal Thomas

        University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill

      • David B. Tindall

        University of British Columbia

      • Catalina L. Toma

        University of Wisconsin–Madison

      • Chiara Valentini

        Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences

      • Sebastián Valenzuela

        Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

      • Damien Van Puyvelde

        University of Texas at El Paso

      • Karrin Vasby Anderson

        Colorado State University

      • Andreas Veglis

        Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

      • Anastasia Veneti

        University of Athens

      • Daniela Vicherat-Mattar

        Leiden University College, The Hague

      • Raquel Vinader Segura

        Complutense University of Madrid

      • Cindy S. Vincent

        University of Oklahoma

      • Beth M. Waggenspack

        Virginia Tech

      • Don J. Waisanen

        Baruch College, City University of New York

      • Camille Walfall

        Howard University

      • Jefferson Walker

        University of Alabama

      • Kevin Wang

        Butler University

      • Jennifer Ware

        North Carolina State University

      • Ann Warmuth

        Independent Scholar

      • Christine Rose Warne

        Florida Southern College

      • Yael Warshel

        University of California, Los Angeles

      • Andrew J. Waskey

        Dalton State College

      • Brian E. Weeks

        Ohio State University

      • Adele Weiner

        Metropolitan College of New York

      • Jeremy Weinstein

        Stanford University

      • David Weiss

        University of New Mexico

      • Jennifer Whitmer

        University of Nevada, Las Vegas

      • Terry Winograd

        Stanford University

      • Tony E. Wohlers

        Cameron University

      • John R. Wood

        Rose State College

      • Todd Woodlan

        University of California, San Diego

      • Rhonda Louise Wrzenski

        Indiana University, Southeast

      • Shuang Iris Xia

        Texas Tech University

      • Masahiro Yamamoto

        University of Wisconsin–La Crosse

      • Qingjiang Yao

        Fort Hays State University

      • Jina Yoo

        University of Missouri, St. Louis

      • Jillian C. York

        Independent Scholar

      • William Lafi Youmans

        George Washington University

      • Dzmitry Yuran

        University of Tennessee

      • Yuliya Zabyelina

        Masaryk University

      • Lorenzo Zamponi

        European University Institute

      • Jason Zenor

        State University of New York, Oswego

      • Weiwu Zhang

        Texas Tech University

      • Pei Zheng

        University of Texas at Austin


      “Politics,” it has been said, “is a practical art.” In the early years of the 21st century, it is also a technological one. The explosion of “social media” into the American political process began with the Internet's entrance on the voting scene around 2004, when Facebook debuted on American campuses as a kind of “cruising and schmoozing” network, and Howard Dean ramped up his earlier success at Internet fund-raising to a fever pitch. Now, in late 2013, social media of many types are exploding across the political landscape, with unforeseen and, to some extent, still unknown eventual effects. Their impact on the political process has eclipsed even that of the Internet, if one measures in terms of the sheer volume of messaging they carry, and they have achieved this prominence in a much shorter time than the 30 years it took the Internet itself to rise to its current status as a taken-for-granted tool in mainstream politics.

      Electronic voting, Internet campaigning, proliferating political use of tweeting and texting, blogging and vlogging, online polling and Facebook “friends” all hawking their favorite candidate, issue, or policy point: For better and for worse, electronica has infiltrated the American political process in a way that, some argue, actually re-shapes it. This is the case despite three bedrock realities about the political use of social media, which are that (1) it gets more sophisticated, nuanced, and potentially invasive almost constantly; (2) it is increasingly ubiquitous; and (3) we do not know nearly as much about it as we would like.

      But in the short time since the Internet opened to commercial exploitation, the modifier industrialized itself has lessened in relevance as a useful criterion for sorting nation-states into their traditional First, Second, and Third World categories. This taxonomy depends, increasingly, on what I call a nation's relative degree of “informationalization” instead—the ability to collect, generate, store, transmit, interpret, share, and/or hoard data per se. A second important signature trait, as a signifier of First World status, is the capability to build, acquire, maintain, and deploy the technology that is required to manage, mine, and maximize information, including but not limited to “Big Data” sets. In the era of “Big Data” and the information industries, it makes much more sense to divide the world into “informationalized,” “emerging,” “hybrid industrial/informational societies,” and “noninformationalized” sectors instead of relying exclusively on the old standards related to manufacturing and industrialization. The changes implicit in this paradigm shift are indicative of just how profound a societal transformation has resulted from the combined effects of social media and contiguous digital, mobile, and online technologies.

      This new way of thinking about “data” as a harvestable crop has profound implications for all aspects of collective life, even if they are not the implications one might expect or predict. It could be argued that the most significant anthropological paradigm shift of the late 20th and early 21st centuries is the changing relationship between human beings and the electronic devices designed to serve them. This is especially true of communications and media electronica, beginning with the Internet's transition to a public entity in 1996 and continuing through to the near ubiquitous presence of today's mobile personal communications like cell phones, BlackBerries, and tablets, and the social media they both spawn and support. New media pioneer Nicholas Negroponte, famous as one of the founding members of MIT's 1980s Media Lab, captured the enormity of this paradigm shift when he wrote: “Computers are not about computing any more. They are about life.” In much the same way, “personal” media are not about personal life any more. They are about the tensions between cultural, social, and economic change and stability, stretching all the way from the small crises and triumphs of suburban households to the mammoth ambitions of collective governance. They are about people and institutions connecting with each other in virtual ways, with the side effect of dodging each other in the flesh. They are about reinventing the workplace, redefining journalism, revolutionizing commerce, education, medicine, and consumer identity. They challenge conventional ways of teaching, learning, parenting, dating, filing taxes, staying well, planning travel, finding a plumber, understanding the world, governing the country. They have changed, and continue to change, the practice, the process, the philosophy, and perhaps the very nature of politics. This encyclopedia is an attempt to capture, describe, and contextualize the elusive leading edge of this phenomenon, which has already demonstrated its ability to generate very concrete effects on 21st century self-governance. Some of the challenges it faces in achieving that goal reflect the unique nature of the social media themselves.

      Defining “Social Media” in the Political Sphere

      Defining the “social media” is not nearly as cut-and-dried as may first appear, and depends, in part, on cultural geography. Europeans approach several of these issues very differently than do North Americans, and even within this continent alone, regional distinctions can complicate any simple answer. “True” social media success depends on who and how many people retrieve what one sends out, not on pre-identifying at whom one aims a particular message. “Aims” in the technical, not the functional, sense of that word: Twitter users may not actually address their messages to specific receivers, but they do go to enormous lengths and great pains to craft the kind of regular tweet stream content and Twitter profile that will draw the attention of the kind of person they want to reach. In this way, some of the social media replicate the audience attraction model employed by broadcast television and radio, while they actually invert the “known caller” principle of person-to-person technologies like the telephone.

      Once we start digging, it becomes easy to see why there is a lot of debate about what actually constitutes the social media. Does e-mail count? How about reposting modalities, which do not add anything new to the actual content but which enjoy an aura of personal endorsement by the simple fact that someone found it worthy of sending forward to his or her followers? How about sites like Reddit, that connect candidates and voters in a kind of large-scale electronic conversation? Or Tumblr, or Pinterest, and other similar “pastiche platforms,” which can provide a highly textured portrait of a public figure's preferences in music, art, theater, food, literature, current fads and fashions, as well as his or her informal commentary on assorted political topics of the day? What about YouTube? Texting? Even blogging, a new media format that has already seen heavy action as a vehicle for political expression, exploration, and opinion-sharing?

      Signature Traits of the Social Media

      Given the challenges involved with defining social media according to their technical design and/or functionality, it might be useful to approach the question from the other direction, and to describe the social media in terms of their characteristics as experienced by users within the new media mix, especially as those user impressions might relate to political activity. I would like to suggest that social media, per se, exhibit the following specific characteristics, in varying degrees and with different applications, depending on the use context in which they are situated.

      • Social media are technologically organized as one-to-many transmissions but are experienced as one-to-one, peer-to-peer communications.
      • Social media feel personal, even if they are not.
      • Social media proliferate organically according to their salience for social network users and their perceived relevance to topics of the day.
      • Social media proliferation can also be the result of institutional (and sometime individual) manipulation via the use of social media optimization tools, search engine optimization strategies, and wikis.
      • Social media messages are short, to the point, usually personal, and often extremist.
      • Social media encourage a communication context in which the usual rules do not apply.
      • Social media appear to level the political playing field, even if they do not.
      • Social media content travels.
      • Social media create a sense of community.
      • Social media are instantaneous, and thus seemingly spontaneous, expressions of belief, opinion, observation or experience.
      • Social media are fun.
      • Social media can be dangerous.
      Social Media and Candidate Politics: Game-Changers and Go-Getters

      In the days when the Internet was a fairly recent post-Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) phenomenon, the idea of using it for any type of buying or selling was faintly heretical; it was perceived as a way for scholars and researchers to collaborate across time and space rather than as any sort of “public highway” or shared social space. Only during the halcyon days following the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which in its own right represented a radical reversal of the notion of telecommunications, per se, as a public resource more than a private enterprise, did the privatization of the Internet and its companion activities really take off.

      In the online land rush that followed, spectrum space and technical resources were obtained and positioned by private interests such as cell phone service providers and the emerging personal computer industries, opening the door to the barrage of social media inventions and applications that followed.

      Turning points in this journey include 1991, when the Internet expanded into the World Wide Web as a free public resource; the 1992 Clinton-Gore and the 1996 Bob Dole campaigns’ use of the Internet as voter outreach tools; the 1999 decision by the Federal Elections Commission enabling online credit card donations to qualify for federal matching funds; John MCain's and Howard Dean's early successes at online fund-raising in 2000 and 2003 to 2004, respectively; Barack Obama's now-legendary 2008 and his more recent 2012 presidential victories, both watershed events for using social media as ways to enhance—and in some cases, reinvent—virtually every aspect of running for office; and the crucial role played by social media in establishing the Tea Party, as it morphed from a loosely connected group of disaffected voters into a serious political entity capable of challenging the Republican Party for the loyalty of a coalition of unhappy conservative voters, as well as some disaffected “independents” and a smattering of restless Democrats.

      The 2012 race for the White House saw social media grandmaster Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney both capitalizing on every type of social media outlet, channel, venue, and platform available, from Pinterest to YouTube to brand new virtual campaign applications that gave them access to the full spectrum of voters' online behaviors and preferences, allowing political strategists to microtarget potential supporters with the same efficiency—and privacy intrusion—as, say, commercial interests such as http://Amazon.com or Walmart.

      Measuring Social Media Political Impact

      A unique and ubiquitous aspect of the social media/politics relationship is the degree to which theory is vastly outstripped by practice. There is not complete academic consensus about social media's impact in the political sphere and the best ways of measuring it—but by the time this encyclopedia hits the bookshelves (or the spectrum), there might be. Trying to get a clear look at social media's “real” impact on the sociocultural infrastructure is like trying to nail down water—as impossible to achieve as it is frustrating to attempt. And yet, attempt it we must, if for no other reason than to get traction on its palpable effect on the permanent gears of social machinery—like voting, for instance. We must find ways to see it clearly, even if the ability to capture it in accurate numbers and meaningful measurements might elude us. Although it is a natural candidate for ethnography, quantitative material about the social media is more highly prized because it is the most immediately useful for those who study and who deploy them in the political arena, for the simple reason that the stakes involved in social media political deployment always come bundled in quantitative form, like what something costs in terms of dollars and what it might yield in the number of added votes it might garner.

      On a slightly different note, the modern-day Tea Party, a splinter group within the Republican Party which erupted onto the national political landscape in 2008 and moved into mainstream status with the 2010 midterm election, relied very heavily on Twitter, Facebook, and related social media as they deliberately distanced themselves from traditional conservatives and formed their own political agenda and developed the party organization to promote it effectively.

      Measuring social media's political impact, then, is clearly just as much of an art as it may be a science, whether that “measurement” comes couched as actual numbers, or is assessed in terms of the likely result of specific political dynamics in which the social media may have figured. Pursuing and refining accurate and usable social media measurement techniques will no doubt rank high on the “to-do list” of political managers and activists in the days, and in the elections, and in the public debates yet to come.

      Contemporary Issues: Social Media in a Political Context

      In light of everything we have discussed about the mercurial and elusive nature of the social media throughout this essay, it seems fitting to frame the issues surrounding their current incarnation as points of salient inquiry rather than as statements of permanent fact. If there is one constant attribute shared by all of them, it is the penchant for change, a feature that suggests the issues surrounding their deployment in the political atmosphere will change as well. A “good answer” is only valid as long as the context surrounding it remains stable, but a “good question,” to paraphrase the tagline of the diamond industry, is forever.

      This, then, is a kind of “20 questions” laundry list of some main questions and concerns, debates and discussions about the political role, nature, impact, and future of social media in the current American political environment:

      • Do the social media really level the political playing field?
      • Do social media favor incumbents or challengers? How does this play out in particularly close elections?
      • Will the social media replace, augment, or operate independently of traditional media in the political process?
      • How do we know which of the social media are a passing fad and which are here to stay?
      • Will the social media literally transform the political process?
      • What demographics most accurately characterize different social media constituencies, and to what degree do these correspond to conventional political constituencies?
      • How can social media impact be measured in the political arena?
      • Do people actually trust social media as a source of political information?
      • To what degree, if any, will social media replace face-to-face political discourse, dialogue, and action?
      • What privacy issues are involved with the harvesting and mining of personal information when using social media for campaigns or in social issues initiatives?
      • How do the social media compare with legacy media in affecting public opinion?
      • Whose voice(s) dominate the social media landscape, why is that so, and what does it mean?
      • Are the social media capable of actually creating new political relationships and attitudes, or do they merely reinforce and/or reconfigure existing ones?
      • Do the social media contribute to political polarization?
      • Do different types of people respond to and/or use, create, and deploy social media political content in different ways and for different purposes?
      • Do the social media really empower grassroots organizations and political entities, and, if so, what are the most effective strategies for capitalizing on that?
      • What codes of best practices should and/or could be developed for social media campaigning, outreach, and voter education, and who should be liable when breaches occur?
      • How are the social media changing the fund-raising process in political action and candidate politics?
      • Do the social media make possible some forms of political action, expression, organization and public influence that simply could not otherwise exist?
      • Is that a good thing across the board, or should the social media be somehow licensed and/or regulated, as was the case with earlier forms of electronic media, and, if so, who should do this?
      Looking Forward

      In October 2012, the much-respected Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project reported that 60 percent of adult Americans use at least one type of social media, and that of that 60 percent, approximately 66 percent have widened their everyday use to include political activity, ranging from low-investment action like using social media as a platform for sharing their own political opinions and listening to others, all the way to forming groups and organizations that take civic action in the physical world, an expression of the kind of deep commitment to political matters that was debated so hotly in the Malcolm Gladwell–Clay Shirky discussions.

      These statistics about increased public use of social media as a political resource become even more significant when they are contextualized within the escalating use of social media, in general. Social media alpha-blogger Cara Pring noted in February 2012 that “Social networking is still the fastest-growing active social media behavior online,” an observation made politically important by the Pew Internet and American Life (2012) finding that “35 percent of social media users have the tools to encourage [other] people to vote … and 34 percent [of social media users] have used the tools to post their own thoughts or comments on political and social issues.”

      “Smart phone users now spend as much time using social networking apps such as Twitter and Facebook as they do playing games,” Pring also reports, a use change that will factor heavily in upcoming American politics if another social media expert, Tomi Ahonen, is right in his prediction about the mobile industry becoming the dominant player on the global scene.

      At first glance this seems like an extreme and somewhat exaggerated bit of technological crystal ball gazing, until one realizes the base numbers from which Ahonen's prediction is made. Almost 6 billion active mobile phone accounts already exist worldwide, although once they are parsed for people with more than one account, that figure reduces to something like 4 billion unique mobile phone users, still a stunning number when one considers that the world's 2013 population is only around 7 billion. As has been the case historically, the world's population keeps increasing, but what is new on the historical scene is that the proportion of that population that is hooked to social media keeps increasing as well.

      Social media's continuing trajectory into the heart of American politics is not just about mobile telephony. A November 2012 Pew report revealed that “55 percent of registered voters have watched political videos online this election season, and 52 percent have had others recommend political videos for them to watch online” (November 2, 2012), and that around 10 percent of people who donated money to the 2012 presidential candidates did so via a text message or cell phone “app.”

      The people who run campaigns are not waiting for the academy to make up its mind about the efficacy of social media in getting their candidates into office. They are just going out there and doing it, and they are doing it at warp speed. Certainly, they dial into academic research on the topic, and often commission their own studies on preferred ways and means, but they are willing to leap into a kind of raging torrent of best guesses about the best practices for using the social media to win political contests at all levels of governance. And that means that this encyclopedia and other reference works like it are best understood as compasses rather than as maps in the social media journey.

      Inspired by CQ Researcher (http://www.cqresearcher.com), another product in the SAGE family of publications, we even undertook our own research for the table of 2013 Congressional Social Media Use. The table, which contains material that is unavailable anywhere else because we actually generated it, illustrates the particulars of how our national leaders use different types of social media as part of their work on Capitol Hill.

      In 1995, I had the very great honor and the singular experience of being part of a National Science Foundation Task Force convened by the Clinton White House. We were handed the Herculean task of developing an anthropological research agenda on Internet issues for the next 100 years. That was our mandate, almost verbatim, and we took it very seriously, especially since we only had three days in which to do it. After being locked in the basement of the St. James, a Washington “grand dame,” we eventually consumed enough coffee and donuts to come up with an agenda for, at least, kicking off that mammoth undertaking. (There is, of course, both a federal report and a scholarly publication attesting to this.) But we thought the tidal wave of cultural change we saw coming was all about the Internet, and that was engulfing enough. No one had a clue that something even more totalizing was just around the virtual corner … and not a one of us would have predicted how very quickly that technological torrent would froth over into all aspects of American life.

      In the course of my own research on new technology, culture, and the political process, it has recently come to my attention that the U.S. Library of Congress now archives Twitter. The rationale behind this is that Twitter represents a one-of-a-kind cultural resource. The library press release announcing the project explained the thinking behind this seemingly quixotic decision:

      “The Twitter digital archive has extraordinary potential for research into our contemporary way of life,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “This information provides detailed evidence about how technology based social networks form and evolve over time. The collection also documents a remarkable range of social trends.”

      Every public tweet since Twitter's launch in March 2006 has been carefully preserved in a digital collection now numbering in the billions, which is not surprising since, according to TechCrunch, in 2013 “we see a billion tweets every 2.5 days.” In acquiring the entire public Twitter record since the medium's inception, the library has in one bold stroke rewritten the seriousness with which residents of today's digital era will perceive this most notoriously trivial social media modality.

      Of course, Twitter was moving toward acquiring an impressive amount of political gravitas anyway, as it became more and more of a central presence in sequential rounds of national elections. But to have a world-class institution like the Library of Congress acclaim a medium named after “inconsequential chatter” as a “unique record of our time,” as Bill Lefurgy, the library's digital initiatives program manager, told the Federal News Radio Network, sends a signal that is cultural as much as it is political.

      The message is simple, and stunning, and it pushes social media per se into a new class of cultural significance from which it will now never retreat. The message is this: Even the most light-footed of today's social media modalities carries enough political clout and contains enough social and cultural value to take its place in the American archive of record, a public resource of global as well as national excellence, which has at its core the personal library of U.S. political icon and former president Thomas Jefferson. Because it is Jefferson's own collection that formed the nucleus of the Library of Congress, when he willed his beloved cache of personal books to the fledgling nation as a lasting legacy. And now that cache will share digital shelf space with Twitter.

      One cannot help but wonder what Thomas Jefferson would have to say about that. Could he express it adequately in only 140 characters? But it is still a good question, the kind of question that might elicit brief enough answers that they could eventually find their way into the American Twitter archive at the Library of Congress. Even better yet, the question itself might be provocative enough, intriguing enough, quixotic enough, and most of all, short enough … to go viral.

      And what, I wonder, would Thomas Jefferson make of that?

      KerricHarvey, Editor


      1945: In his essay “As We May Think,” published in the Atlantic Monthly, Vannevar Bush argues for creation of a collective memory, which he called the memex, to facilitate and augment the powers of human thought by storing and organizing information; this essay is often cited as the first to suggest the properties later realized through hypertext.

      1946: AT&T establishes the first mobile telephone network, making mobile telephone calls possible, although the equipment required was so cumbersome that it was only practical if installed in a vehicle (a truck driver placed the first mobile phone call on June 17, 1946).

      1962: J. C. R. Licklider articulates the basic concepts behind the Internet in a memo in which he discusses the possibilities of what he calls the “Intergalactic Computer Network.”

      1965: AT&T launches an improved mobile phone system, transmitting signals over radio channels. Demand for the service far exceeds the capacity of the channels to carry signals.

      1967: Jef Raskin coins the term QuickDraw in his Penn State University doctoral thesis on the GUI (graphical user interface).

      1969: The ARPANET, a forerunner of the Internet, transmits a message from computers at Bolt Beranek Newman in Massachusetts to computers at Stanford University and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), in California.

      1969: CompuServe becomes the first major commercial Internet service provider in the United States, using dial-up technology; it remains a dominant player in the field through the 1980s.

      1971: Ray Tomlinson develops the first network e-mail program, and specifies the “@” symbol to indicate the Web address.

      1972: Two information services, Dialog (Lockheed) and the Don Jones-Bunker Ramos News Retrieval Service, go online.

      1973: The ARPANET establishes connections with computers in the United Kingdom and Norway.

      1973: Motorola produces a prototype handheld mobile phone; previous mobile systems were so large they had to be used in vehicles.

      1973: The Xerox Alto, a computer intended for personal use, is developed at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center; among its innovations are the graphical user interface (GUI) and the computer mouse.

      1974: The first chat room is created at the University of Illinois by Doug Brown and David Roolley.

      1974: In a conference paper, Vinton Cerf and Robert Kuhn become the first to use the term Internet.

      1974: Theodore George Paraskevakos, a Greek immigrant to the United States, is granted a patent for an “apparatus for generating and transmitting digital information,” laying the groundwork for the smartphone.

      1976: Before there was even an Internet, Queen Elizabeth II of Britain sent her first e-mail as part of a network technology demonstration put on by the British military and research community. It was sent over ARPANET. She is reputedly the first head of state to use the medium.

      1976: Presidential hopeful Jimmy Carter and his potential vice president, Walter Mondale, use e-mail to coordinate campaign event planning.

      1978: The Advanced Mobile Phone System, an analog cellular system, is introduced in the United States.

      1978: In February, Ward Christensen and Randy Suess create the first public bulletin board system (BBS), allowing users to make online postings.

      1978: The first virtual world, Multi-User Dungeon (MUD1), is created at Essex University in the United Kingdom.

      1979: In Tokyo, Japan, the first commercial automated cell telephone network begins operation.

      1980: The Usenet begins operation; it allows users to post messages to online newsgroups organized around different topics.

      1981: The IBM PC (personal computer) is introduced.

      1983: The domain name system (DNS) is developed at the University of Wisconsin, including the use of familiar extensions such as .com, .org, .edu, and .mil.

      1983: The DynaTAC mobile phone, created by Ameritech, becomes available in the United States. The first world's first commercial portable handset cell phone, the device was developed by the now-defunct Ameritech and sold by Motorola for $3,995 per phone.

      1983: The ARPANET divides into two networks: MILNET (to serve military purposes) and ARPANET (to serve research purposes).

      1984: The AT&T Bell telephone system, a government sanctioned monopoly since 1913, is broken up into seven regional holding companies (Baby Bells), in accordance with the 1982 U.S. District Court decision in the antitrust case United States v. AT&T.

      1984: The Prodigy online service begins operation; by 1990 it becomes the second-largest U.S. Internet service provider, second only to CompuServe.

      1985: Quantum Computer Services launches Q-Link, an online service; the company renames itself America Online (AOL) in 1991.

      1985: The WELL (the Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link), an early virtual Internet community, is created by Stewart Brand and Larry Brilliant.

      1985: Lloyd Bentsen coins the term astroturfing to refer to organized political campaigns that attempt to hide the sources of their funding and present themselves as grassroots efforts.

      1987: Apple Computer includes HyperCard, originally called WildCard, an early hypermedia system, on all new Macintosh computers.

      1988: An Internet “worm” created by Robert Tappan Morris infects an estimated 10 percent of Internet hosts; Morris became the first person convicted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

      1989: Tim Berners-Lee, working at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), proposes the protocol for distributing information that is eventually used in the World Wide Web.

      1989: Quantum Computing Services, later America Online (AOL), launches the first instant messaging service, also introducing the familiar greeting “You've got mail!”

      1990: Tim Berners-Lee, along with Robert Cailliau, present the protocol for distributing information eventually used to create the World Wide Web in a paper.

      1990: The first Web page was “served.”

      1991: The space shuttle Atlantis sends the first e-mail message from space.

      1991: The first users outside of CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) joined the network.

      1992: Delphi becomes the first commercial provider of Internet access service.

      1993: CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) announces that the World Wide Web would be freely available for anyone to use.

      1993: Over 3 million Americans subscribe to online services.

      1993: Mosaic, the first graphical browser, is developed at the University of Illinois, facilitating the development of Web pages.

      1993: Howard Rheingold publishes The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier, a book about virtual communities, including the early online virtual community The WELL.

      1993–94: The White House first goes online and uses the Internet.

      1994: In February, Jerry Yang and David Filo begin developing an index to keep track of their personal interests on the Internet; it is originally called “Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web,” but the title is later changed to Yahoo!; by the fall of 1994, it receives over 1 million hits on a single day.

      1994: A forerunner to the smartphone, the IBM Simon Personal Communicator is introduced to the U.S. market. It includes a mobile phone, touchscreen (used by tapping with a stylus), and features such as a calculator, address book, and calendar; can send e-mails, faxes, and text messages, as well as phone calls; and carries a retail price of approximately $899.

      1994: America Online (AOL) begins selling advertisements and grows to 1 million members.

      1994: GeoCities, a virtual community that allows users to create their own Web site, and which was organized around the concept of “cities” based on common interests, is launched in California as BHI (Beverly Hills Internet).

      1994: The world's first blog is created by Justin Hall, a college student; he continues publishing “Justin's Links From the Underground” for 11 years.

      1995: Clifford Stoll publishes an article in Newsweek with the headline “The Internet? Bah!” and the subhead “Hype Alert: Why Cyberspace Isn't, and Will Never Be, Nirvana.”

      1996: America Online (AOL) grows to 5 million members.

      1996: The search engine http://Ask.com lets users type in queries using natural language rather than key words.

      1996: Stanford University students Larry Page and Sergey Brin create a search engine known as BackRub, with the goal of organizing the huge amount of information available on the World Wide Web; they later rename this project Google.

      1997: The term Weblog is coined by Jorn Barger.

      1997: One million sites exist on the World Wide Web.

      1997: America Online (AOL) introduces the stand-alone software Instant Messenger, allowing users to chat over the Internet.

      1997: Matt Drudge founds the Drudge Report online; the site becomes famous when, in January 1998, Drudge publishes information about an alleged affair between President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky on his Web site http://DrudgeReport.com.

      1998: Open Diary, an online community that allows users to create online journals without needing to know HTML (hypertext markup language), begins operation.

      1999: The BlackBerry 850, a two-way pager (not a telephone), is introduced.

      1999: Blogger and LiveJournal begin operation; like Open Diary, they allow individuals without technical expertise to create online journals or blogs.

      1999: Jon Stewart becomes host of The Daily Show, a satirical television program on Comedy Central that becomes famous for criticizing the mainstream news media as well as politicians, and becomes an important source of news for many young adult viewers.

      1999: The Federal Election Commission rules that online credit card contributions to candidates in the presidential election are eligible for federal matching funds.

      2000: Seventy million computers are connected to the Internet.

      2000: Google introduces AdWords, an online advertising program whose revenues will reach $28 billion by 2010.

      2000: Advertising for the Swedish company Ericsson refers to its R380 mobile phone, a flip phone using the Symbian operating system, as a smartphone.

      2000: Jef Raskin publishes The Humane Interface: New Directions for Designing Interactive Systems, arguing that current interfaces are inefficient and make it difficult for people to use computers effectively.

      2000: Senator John McCain raises over $6 million online over the course of his presidential campaign.

      2000: The policy advocacy group http://MoveOn.org launches an Internet discussion forum.

      2000: AOL acquires MapQuest and merges with Time Warner.

      2000: Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger launch Nupedia, the prescurser to Wikipedia, as a forum to publish articles by experts in their field as free content.

      2000: Josh Marshall founds the political Web site http://talkingpointsmemo.com.

      2000: The http://dot.com bubble bursts.

      2000: In December, the Pew Research Center announces results from a study showing that one-third of Americans who were online got news about the campaign online, for a total of 18 percent of Americans getting news about the election online (as compared to 4 percent in the 1996 election).

      2001: In January, Filipinos take part in a mass demonstration against Philippine President Joseph Estrada, organized in large part by forwarded text messages; a large crowd gathers within a few hours, and grows to over a million in a few days.

      2001: Wikipedia, the first online, user-created, open source encyclopedia, begins as a side project of Nupedia. The domain name is registered in January, and over 20,000 entries are created in the first year alone.

      2001:http://Meetup.com, a Web site that helps people arrange in-person group meetings based around common interests, begins operation.

      2001: StumbleUpon, a Web site that allows users to vote on content they find compelling, begins operation.

      2001: Google buys http://Deja.com's Usenet Discussion Service, including about 500 million archived Usenet discussions; the service is improved and relaunched as Google Groups.

      2002: Markos Moulitsas founds the political blog Daily Kos.

      2002: AOL has 34 million members.

      2002: The social network site Friendster begins operation and later becomes the first social networking site to attract over 1 million users.

      2002: LinkedIn, a professional social networking site, begins operation.

      2003: The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act creates national standards for commercial e-mail but is viewed as largely ineffective in terms of actually controlling unsolicited commercial e-mail.

      2002: In December, Trent Lott, then Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, makes racially charged remarks at the 100th birthday celebration of Senator Strom Thurmond; the remarks are not covered by the mainstream media until after they are published online by several bloggers, and attract sufficient attention that Lott resigned his post, an event often cited as an early demonstration of the political power then held by bloggers.

      2003: In January, a survey by the Pew Research Center shows that about 10 percent of online Americans used the Internet as a principal source of campaign news; the Internet remains a relatively minor player, however, as half of those surveyed listed television as their principal source for campaign news.

      2003: Google introduces site-targeted advertising, where ads are placed on Web sites based on matches on keywords, domain names, and so forth.

      2003: Wordpress, a free, open source content management system, begins operation.

      2003: Linden Lab creates Second Life, an Internet virtual world.

      2003: Myspace, a social networking site, begins operation; over 1 million people join in the first month.

      2004: Almost one-third of Americans (over 60 million people) reported seeing a political documentary in 2004, according to a study released in January 2005 by the Pew Research Center; in contrast, only 7 percent said they attended a campaign rally, and 16 percent said they read a book about politics in 2004.

      2004: Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean demonstrates that it is possible to raise large amounts of money for a political campaign over the Internet, raising more than $25 million by September.

      2004: Digg, an Internet social news-sharing site, begins operation.

      2004: Gawker Media founds Wonkette, a satirical online political magazine.

      2004: Google reports that its index includes 6 billion items, including 880 million images and 4.28 billion Web pages.

      2004: Harvard college student Mark Zuckerberg launches http://TheFacebook.com, a social networking site originally restricted to students from a few elite colleges.

      2004: In October, a study released by the Pew Research Center found that the Internet was a minor player in terms of political advertising during the presidential campaign, with $330 million spent on television ads versus $2.66 million on Internet ads between January and August 2004.

      2004: Flickr, an Internet photo hosting and sharing site, begins operation.

      2004: Marc Andreessen and Gina Bianchini found Ning, which grows by 2012 to become the world's largest platform for creating social media Web sites.

      2005: Myspace is purchased by News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch's global media company.

      2005: In February, Google announces that it has over 1 billion images indexed in Image Search.

      2005: In March, the Pew Research Center releases a report stating that 61 percent of Americans who use the Internet (37 percent of the adult population) used the Internet in connection with politics; specific instances of use include contributing to candidates, volunteering for a political campaign, discussing candidates and issues through e-mail, and getting news and information about politics.

      2005: In May, Google releases Blogger Mobile, a service that allows bloggers to post and send photos to their blogs from mobile phones.

      2005: Arianna Huffington founds the Huffington Post, a news aggregation Web site and blog; the site is sold to AOL in 2010.

      2005: YouTube, an Internet video-sharing platform, created by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim, begins operation.

      2006: In April, Michelle Malkin founds the political Web site http://HotAir.com.

      2006: In August, a video of Senator George Allen (R-VA) referring to a young man of Indian descent as “macaca” is widely distributed and damages Allen's re-election bid.

      2006: Google announces it has indexed over 25 billion Web pages and 1.3 billion images and receives 400 million queries per day.

      2006: In September, the Pew Research Center releases a report stating that 19 percent of adult Internet users (about 26 million Americans) used the Internet to get information or news about politics and the upcoming midterm elections.

      2006: In September, Facebook allows anyone 13 and older to register (i.e., a *.edu e-mail address is no longer required).

      2006: In November, Google purchases YouTube.

      2006: Twitter begins operation, allowing users to send messages of 140 characters or less.

      2006: Spotify, a music streaming and playlistsharing tool, begins operation.

      2006: In December, the Pew Research Center releases a study showing that 64 percent of registered voters reported having received robo-calls (recorded telephone messages) during the 2006 midterm election campaign; in contrast, only 24 percent reported receiving campaign phone calls from live callers and 18 percent reported receiving home visitations in connection with the campaign.

      2007: In January, the Pew Research Center releases a study showing that 15 percent of American adults used the Internet to get most of their information about the 2006 midterm election; of those who used the Internet for political purposes, 23 percent report creating or forwarding political commentary or videos.

      2007: In February, presidential candidate Barack Obama meets with Marc Andreessen to discuss using social media as part of his presidential campaign.

      2007: Facebook begins the Beacon advertising system, using information about user purchases to post targeted advertisements to users; the Beacon system is abandoned in 2009, in part due to objections that it violated user privacy.

      2007: Brave New Films, founded by Robert Greenwald, releases its first films, The Real Rudy (about Rudy Giuliani) and Fox Attacks (about the Fox News Channel).

      2007: The social networking, photo-sharing, and short-form blogging site Tumblr begins operation.

      2007: In June, Apple releases the iPhone, which features a touch screen and allows the user to make phone calls, browse the Internet, and take digital photographs.

      2007: In July, Facebook announces it has 30 million users.

      2007: The political Web site http://Change.org begins operation; it attracts 20 million users by 2012.

      2008: In January, the Pew Research Center releases a report stating that 42 percent of Americans age 18 to 29, and 24 percent of adult Americans overall, say they use the Internet to find political information.

      2008: Nate Silver founds http://FiveThirtyEight.com, a blog specializing in statistical analysis of political topics (the name refers to the number of members in the electoral college); the blog became an online feature of the New York Times in 2010, and became famous in 2012 by combining and weighting polling data to correctly predict the outcome of the presidential election in 49 of 50 states.

      2008: Apple introduces the App Store, a distribution platform for applications for the iPhone and iPad; by 2012, the App Store offered over 700,000 mobile applications, and over 25 billion apps have been downloaded.

      2008: Clay Shirky publishes Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, a book that argues that social media tools allow individuals to organize themselves and act collectively in ways formerly only possible within organizations.

      2008: Google is the most visited Web site in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

      2009: Foursquare, a location-based social networking site, begins operation.

      2008: In October, Google introduces the Android operating system and it quickly becomes the dominant operating system for mobile phones.

      2009: GeoCities, a California-based Web site that facilitated creation of Web pages by nontechnical users, ceases operation except in Japan; it had 38 million Web pages at the time it ceased U.S. operations.

      2009: In April, activists in Moldova use social media, including Twitter, Facebook, and LiveJournal, to organize protests against their government.

      2009: In April, the Internet fund-raising platform Kickstarter begins operation; it allows people to pledge money to support other people's projects, in a manner similar to pledge drives conducted by public radio.

      2009: In April, the Pew Research Center releases a study showing that over half (55 percent) of adult Americans used the Internet in 2008 to get information about the election or to become involved in politics, and about one-third used the Internet to share political content.

      2009: In June, the death of Iranian protester Neda Agha-Soltan is captured on a cell phone; this video (and links to it) rapidly spreads around the world on social media, including Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, circumventing Iranian censorship.

      2009: Facebook becomes the world's largest social network, with over 200 million users.

      2009: Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger is forced to land a commercial flight in the Hudson River in New York City after the aircraft struck a flock of geese. The first notice of this event is posted on Twitter by a user who saw the event from a ferry.

      2010: Crowdrise, a Web site founded by actor Edward Norton, film producer Shauna Robertson, and online retailers Robert and Jeffrey Wolfe, begins operation; it allows users to create fund-raising pages for free and provides prizes to be distributed among those who contribute to charitable causes.

      2010: Apple introduces the iPad, and it becomes the dominant tablet computer.

      2010: The term app (as in “mobile application”) is chosen as “word of the year” by the American Dialect Society.

      2010: Clay Shirky publishes Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age, a book in which he posits that online tools allow people to use their leisure time more creatively and productively than was true in the past.

      2010: Facebook has over 400 million users.

      2010: The Democratic National Committee hires a manager to oversee President Barack Obama's social media accounts.

      2010: An estimated 1.97 billion people worldwide use the Internet, amounting to almost 30 percent of the world's population.

      2010: The Pew Internet and American Life Project announces that more Americans get news on the Internet than from newspapers.

      2010: Pinterest, an Internet social scrapbooking site, begins operation, and acquires 10 million users faster than any other stand-alone site in history.

      2010: Dan Savage and Terry Miller found the It Gets Better Project to encourage gay and lesbian young people. Savage and Miller posted a video on YouTube discussing their early lives and how their adult lives were much better than they could have imagined when they were being bullied and harassed as children, and encouraged others to do the same; the project grew so large that it now has its own Web site, http://www.itgetsbetter.org, which included over 50,000 videos (as of November 2012) and had been viewed over 50 million times.

      2010: In December, a study released by the Pew Research Center indicates that 26 percent of American adults used their cell phone in connection with the 2010 midterm elections, either to get information or to participate in some other way, for instance to tell people they had voted (14 percent) or to pass along information about conditions at their local polling place on election day (6 percent).

      2010: In December, video of Tunisian protester Mohammed Bouazizi setting fire to himself is captured by amateur videographers and posted on YouTube, inciting protests that eventually lead to the January 14, 2011, abdication of Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

      2010–11: Social media plays a key role in a popular uprising in north Africa and the Middle East known as the “Arab Spring,” although experts debate whether social media acted as an instigator or merely facilitated the uprisings.

      2011: In January, President Barack Obama becomes the first speaker in the YouTube World View speaker series; after his State of the Union address, the president answers questions from citizens.

      2011: In January, the Pew Research Center releases a study showing that 73 percent of American adults who use the Internet got news or information online about the 2010 midterm elections and 22 percent used Twitter or social networking sites to connect to a campaign or to the election.

      2011: The professional social networking site LinkedIn reports that it has 100 million users.

      2011: The Pew Research Center releases a report stating that adults who use the Internet are also more likely to be involved in offline group activities, contradicting the stereotype of Internet users as isolated loners.

      2011: Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta found the Born This Way Foundation to work with the Berkman Foundation at Harvard University to promote social tolerance, fight against bullying, and encourage young people to build strong communities.

      2011: Android becomes the predominant operating system for smartphones, surpassing Symbian.

      2011: In May, U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY) sends a sexually suggestive photograph of himself over Twitter; he resigns in June as a result of the outcry from this incident.

      2011: In July, Ning claims that it is the world's largest social media Web site, with over 90,000 customers in 223 countries, and 65 million unique monthly visitors.

      2012: In March, KONY 2012, a short film about Uganda warlord Joseph Kony, is released; it spreads rapidly over the Internet, attracting over 93 million viewers on YouTube alone.

      2012: In May, Facebook announces that it has 901 million users worldwide; at this point, if Facebook were a country, it would be the third-largest in the world in terms of population.

      2012: In June, the Federal Election Commission rules that political campaigns may accept contributions by way of text messages.

      2012: In September, the Pew Research Center releases a study revealing that one-quarter or more of those who use social networking sites say they are important for political activities—for instance, 36 percent say social networking sites are an important way they keep up with political news, 26 percent say they are important in recruiting people to political causes, and 25 percent say they are an important way to discuss political issues.

      2012: In September, a randomized controlled study published in Nature and based on the midterm elections in November 2010 indicates that messages delivered to Facebook users on election day resulted in a small but measurable increase in voter turnout.

      2012: In October, the Pew Research Center releases a study indicating that 60 percent of American adults use social networking sites and that two-thirds of those have used social media for political or civic activities.

      2012: In October, the Pew Research Center releases a study indicating that 10 percent of those who contributed to one of the candidates in the presidential campaign did so via a cell phone app or by text message.

      2012: In November, a picture of President Barack Obama embracing his wife Michelle became the most retweeted and most-liked post in history; posted early in the morning of November 7, when it became clear that Obama had the state of Ohio and thus had won re-election, it was retweeted almost 700,000 times on that day alone, and a posting on Facebook received over 3.23 million “likes” and over 400,000 shares.

      2012: In November, over 31 million tweets related to the U.S. presidential election are sent on November 7 (election day) alone, making it the most tweeted about event in history.

      2012: In November, the Pew Research Center releases a study indicating that over half (55 percent) of registered voters had watched at least one political video online in the period leading up to the election; video news reports were the most common type of video reported (48 percent), followed by recorded speeches, conferences, or debates (40 percent), and issue-oriented informational videos (39 percent).

      2013: On January 11, Internet activist Aaron Swartz committed suicide. Swartz, who was active in developing the social Web site Reddit, the organization Creative Commons, and the Web feed format RSS, was facing charges under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act due to his use of an MIT computer in 2011 to download large numbers of journal articles from the digital library JSTOR.

      2013: On July 23, the Web site http://thedirty.com releases pictures and sexting messages sent by New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner under the alias “Carlos Danger;” although Weiner remains in the campaign, his candidacy is severely damaged by the scandal, and he came in fifth place in the vote.

      2013: On August 20, The Qatar-based Al Jazeera Media Network launches a new television channel, Al Jazeera America, with headquarters in New York City and 12 bureaus located throughout the United States.

      SarahBoslaugh, Kennesaw State University
    • Glossary

      • Above the fold: On a Web page, content that can be seen without scrolling.
      • Absolute URL: Also called an absolute link, an Internet address that takes a user to the exact location of a file on the Internet.
      • Active time: Also known as engagement time, the amount of time a visitor to a Web site spends interacting with the page, for example, by clicking, scrolling, or hovering.
      • Ad banner: A type of Internet ad appearing on the top or bottom of a Web page.
      • Ad pages sold: The number of page views sold to an advertiser by an Internet advertising firm.
      • Adobe Acrobat: Software that allows users to create and read files in portable document format (PDF), a format that allows them to be shared, but prevents them from being changed.
      • AdWords: An advertising program created by Google that allows Web site owners to earn revenue by displaying ads next to their online content; the ads are selected to match audience interests, and the Web site owner earns money when a user clicks on an ad.
      • Aid Still Required (http://www.aidstillrequired.org): An organization founded by Andrea Herz Payne to bring continued awareness to issues (e.g., the conditions in a country months after a natural disaster) that may have fallen out of the news spotlight, but for which charitable support is still needed.
      • AIDA: Attention, interest, desire, and action—a traditional model for how advertising works, by moving a person from attention through interest and desire to action.
      • Alert: A media tool such as Google Alerts or Social Mention that sends notifications to a user when particular words or phrases (e.g., a company name or personal name) are mentioned on the Internet.
      • Amplification: One of the three components of a Klout score, amplification refers to how many people to act on messages posted by an individual.
      • App: A limited-use computer application that can be downloaded from the Internet.
      • Banner exchange: A type of Internet advertising in which different Web sites display each other's banner ads.
      • Blind link: A link on a Web page that does not indicate to the user where clicking on it will take them.
      • Blawg: A blog about the law.
      • Blog: A journal kept on the Internet for personal or other purposes; a contraction of “Web log.”
      • Blogroll: A list of blogs recommended on a blog or other Web page, typically on topics related to the Web page and carried as a vertical list on one side of the Web page.
      • Born This Way Foundation: A foundation created in 2011 by pop singer Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, to help create a society tolerant of individual differences, particularly but not exclusively around gender and sexuality, and in which young people feel empowered to build a better world.
      • Bounce: A visit to a Web site in which the user views only one page.
      • Bounce rate: The number of bounces divided by the number of visits to a Web site.
      • Button ad: A small advertisement on a Web page, usually a small circular or rectangular ad at the bottom of the page.
      • Buzz: A rough measure of the number of people talking or tweeting about a product or candidate; campaigns may aim at “creating buzz,” meaning a goal to increase the number of people aware of something and talking about it.
      • Call to action: The part of an advertisement that asks the reader to do something specific.
      • CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart): an anticomment spam feature that requires users to type in the characters appearing in a window (often in distorted form, to defeat optical character recognition) before posting.
      • Chiclet: A type of computer keyboard in which the keys are raised and separated by spaces, so the keys look like pieces of Chiclets gum. Alternatively, the small, square graphics appearing on Web and social media screens that display the logos of various RSS feeds and social media providers, such as the now-famous symbols for Twitter and Facebook. They are used on Web pages and social media apps to help providers track content as it moves around the digital universe, and to improve interconnectivity among different types of platforms.
      • Churn rate: The proportion of subscribers who leave a service (e.g., a mobile phone company). Also, the period of time it takes for a specific piece of hardware or software to become obsolete because of changes in regulatory policy, changes in technical standards and/or technology, or by corporate fiat on the part of the technology provider (e.g., discontinuing support for a particular platform or storage device).
      • Click path: The sequence of clicks that a visitor follows on a particular Web site.
      • Comment spam: Spam posted in the comments section of a blog, often posted by spambots; the CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart): system was developed to try to prevent comment spam.
      • Content provider: In the context of the Internet, an individual or company that provides content, such as text and graphics, to be posted on a Web site.
      • Contextual advertising: Advertising matched to the hosting Web page, usually by using keywords.
      • Conversion: When a reader takes a desired action, such as making a contribution, after viewing a web page or clicking on an ad.
      • Conversion rate: The number of conversions divided by the number of page views or clicks.
      • CPM: Cost per thousand, a method of paying for advertisements in terms of the number of impressions made on an ad, for example, $5 per 1,000 impressions.
      • CRM: Customer relationship management, a model that uses technology to manage the interactions between a company and its customers, prospects, and so forth.
      • CTR: Click-through rate, the number of people who, after reading an ad, click on it.
      • CU-SeeMe: A free videoconferencing program that allows individuals to use a video camera and Internet connection to exchange live video.
      • http://DailyKos.com: A popular political Web site founded and published by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga in May 2002; as of 2012, the site had a quarter of a million registered users and 2.5 million unique visitors each month.
      • Deliverability: In the context of e-mail, the ability to deliver e-mail to the intended recipients.
      • Delivery rate: The percentage of e-mails in a marketing campaign that are received in the recipient's inbox, rather than their spam folder.
      • Digital divide: A term referring to differences in Internet access (or broadband access) among people of different races, genders, social classes, and so forth. Increasingly refers in a more generalized way to one's degree of access to the full range of mobile and online technology and resources.
      • Direct traffic: Users that come to a Web site by entering the URL.
      • Dooced: Being fired for something done on the Internet; the term was coined in 2002 by Heather Armstrong, who wrote about her job on her blog http://Dooce.com.
      • EMS: Electronic meeting system, a platform to facilitate group meetings over the Internet.
      • Event blog: A blog created to promote an event, or to otherwise present content about a specific event.
      • Exit percentage: The total number of exits (people leaving a Web page) divided by the number of pageviews.
      • Expert influencer: Someone who exerts influence on others because he or she is recognized as an authority, even if he or she is not personally known to the person who is influenced.
      • Facebook: A social networking site created in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, now the largest social networking site on the Internet.
      • FeedReader: A news aggregation program that allows readers to collect news feeds and access them from the Internet or a mobile device; more generally, a “feedreader” or “feed reader” is any program providing this type of capability.
      • Flame: posting a hostile comment in response to an online article or blog post; flames are often-based on personal attack, rather than engagement with the issues.
      • Follower: In the context of Twitter, a subscriber to the tweets of another person or organization.
      • Following: In the context of Twitter, choosing to “follow” someone means that one will receive their tweets (Twitter messages).
      • Forum: An online discussion site where people can post messages and reply to other messages; also known as a message board. Forums are usually organized into topics, and the messages are archived.
      • Friending function: On Facebook and similar social networks, sending an invitation to another Facebook user, inviting them to be a “friend,” or giving them the choice to accept, decline, or defer. For example, it is possible to limit Facebook posts or other activities like sharing music to only friends.
      • Geolocation: The ability to identify the geographic location of an object.
      • Geolocational enabling: Turning on the function (e.g., on a mobile phone or computer) that allows software to deduce its location, for instance, so it can suggest restaurants in the vicinity.
      • Geotargeting: Choosing which content or advertising will be displayed to a user, based on his or her geographic location.
      • Google Groups: A social media service provided by Google to help readers find discussion groups related to their interests; it began as Deja News in 1995.
      • Haloscan: An early blog comment hosting service, founded in 2002, and renamed Echo in 2009.
      • Hashtag: A word or phrase (with no spaces) preceded by the # symbol, such as #ivoted; hashtags are used on Twitter to make it easy for users to find related content.
      • Hat tip: Acknowledgement of another's assistance; for instance, in providing the original idea for a blog post.
      • High consideration purchase: A purchase involving a relatively large amount of money, and hence relatively high risk; for instance, a new car.
      • Hit: A request to a Web server for a file to be uploaded.
      • Hotspot: A picture or icon that is hyperlinked. Also refers to particularly useful social media points at which to gather user or viewer metrics, as well as to places in the physical environment where wireless Internet service is available.
      • HTML: Hypertext markup language, a coding language used on the Internet to create Web pages.
      • HTTP: Hypertext transfer protocol, a set of rules allowing communication among computers connected to the Internet.
      • Hyperlink: On the Internet, a reference to another Web site or other data (e.g., a document) that can be accessed by clicking on the link.
      • ICQ: “I seek you,” an instant messenger service that can be used online or with a smartphone.
      • Impression: In Internet advertising, a single display of an advertisement on a Web page.
      • Inbound links: Links from other sites on the Internet to your Web site; a high number of inbound links is one of the factors that may give a Web site a high ranking for search engines.
      • Infoglut: A mass of poorly organized information that is difficult to productively use.
      • Interstitial advertising: A type of Internet ad that appears during the transition from one Web page to another.
      • IPTV: Internet protocol television, a method of delivering television programs to viewers over the Internet.
      • Joined-up marketing: Creating a consistent brand strategy across all the different ways a customer may become aware of or interact with a company, including e-mail marketing, direct mail marketing, Internet advertising, or a Facebook app.
      • Keyword density: The ratio of a particular keyword to the total number of words on a Web page.
      • Keyword stuffing: A practice in which a keyword is inserted many times into a page in order to increase the page's keyword density.
      • Klout: A measure of social influence, ranging from 1 to 100, with higher scores indicating stronger influence and ability to cause others to take action. A Klout score is made up of three parts: true reach, amplification, and network impact.
      • Landing page: The Web page first shown to a visitor who arrives from another site; landing pages are usually specific to a given referring link.
      • Like function: On Facebook, the ability for a user to click a button on a Web site to indicate that they “like” a posting or a site, that is, are a fan of the item; however, “like” fraud is also possible, because the like button may be linked to a different Web site than the one where the button resides.
      • List cleaning: Also known as list scrubbing or list pruning, removing e-mails (or postal mail addresses) that are incorrect, undeliverable, or duplicated.
      • Liveblogging: Providing an ongoing series of blog posts during an event (e.g., an election or sporting event) to provide news coverage and commentary.
      • Low consideration purchase: A purchase involving relatively little money and relatively little risk; for instance, toothpaste.
      • Lurking: Reading content on an online forum or e-mail list without posting to the discussions.
      • Malware: Malicious software that may be installed on a user's computer without his or her knowledge, such as spyware.
      • Meetup: A social networking portal intended to help people meet others with like interests in their geographical area and organize group meetings.
      • Metadata: Literally data about data; 15 elements were defined as essential metadata for resource description at a workshop held in Dublin in 1995, and are known as the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set.
      • Microblog: A blog that limits file size, for instance, limiting a post to single images or short text messages. Twitter is a form of microblog.
      • Mobile application: An application designed for a mobile device, such as a smartphone.
      • MP3: A compression and playback standard for digital audio files.
      • Narrowcasting: Delivering a message to a specific group of people.
      • Netroots: Political activism organized through online social media, such as wikis and blogs; the term was coined in 2002 by Jerome Armstrong, an American political strategist.
      • Network impact: One of the three components of a Klout score, network impact refers to how often key influencers respond to content.
      • News reader: An Internet application on Usenet that allows readers to download, read, and post to Usenet groups.
      • NPTech: Information related to nonprofits and technology.
      • Open rate: In the context of an e-mail marketing campaign, the percentage of message or advertising e-mails actually opened by the people who receive them.
      • Opt-in: Features such as e-mails that are only provided to individuals who indicate that they want to receive them.
      • Organic search results: Site listings resulting from a user performing a search, as opposed to clicking on an ad.
      • Over-building: Building more computer capacity than is expected to be needed, so that necessary capacity will be available, even if there are failures of hardware or software.
      • Page depth: Also know as page views per session, the average number of page views by a visitor during a session.
      • Page tagging: Placing a piece of JavaScript code on a Web page to collect information about people who visit that page.
      • Pageview: A unit of measurement referring to one person looking at one Web page.
      • Peer influencer: See Positional influencer.
      • Permalink: A permanent URL linking to a Web page, document, and so forth, that will remain valid even if the original location of the Web page is moved.
      • Person finder: A Google Web application built in 2010 after the earthquake in Haiti to help people locate friends and relatives after that and similar disasters.
      • Phishing: Using fraudulent means to obtain confidential information such as usernames and passwords, for example, by sending an e-mail purportedly from an individual's bank and asking for their account information in order to “restore service.”
      • Ping: A message sent by a blog to a server when a new entry is posted or updated.
      • Poke: On Facebook, to send a message to attract the attention of someone, analogous to physically poking them.
      • Pop-under ads: Also known as pop-behind ads, ads that automatically appear in a new window behind the current window when a user visits a Web site or clicks on an ad.
      • Pop-up ads: Ads that automatically appear in a new Web window on top of the current window when a user visits a Web site or clicks on an ad.
      • Positional influencer: Someone who exerts influence through their relationship with the individual being influenced; for example, by being a member of the same family or a close friend. Also known as peer influencers.
      • Posting: To send a message to an Internet forum, blog, or in a section devoted to comments on news or other Web pages.
      • Power user: Someone who is unusually good at using a computer program and can use advanced features of the program.
      • PPC advertising: Pay-per-click advertising, a type of advertising in which the advertiser only pays when a visitor actually clicks on an ad.
      • Product placement: Arranging for a product to be seen or mentioned on a Web site or in a film or television show, appearing to be a normal part of the story, but in fact as a means of advertising the product.
      • PSA: Public service announcement, an announcement usually run at no cost because it is considered to be in the public interest.
      • Real World: A reality television program running on MTV beginning in 1992; one of the first of many reality shows, it followed a group of strangers who live together in a house and depicts many issues relevant to young adults, such as sexuality and drug use.
      • Reblog: Reposting content written by someone else, with the notice that it originated elsewhere; reblogging has become an indicator of the popularity of posts on social media sites.
      • Recency: The number of days passed since a given user has visited a given Web site.
      • Red-lining: Also known as “weblining,” a method of grading customers and allocating resources toward them. Alternatively, the act of omitting entire populations from the list of those slated to receive infrastructural improvements related to new technologies (such as high-speed fiber optical cable replacing in-ground copper wiring) by simply crossing them out on the relevant lists in policymaker and/or provider development activities. Often determined by geographical location, economic status, “need for service,” and/or “perceived ability to pay” criteria.
      • Redundancy: In Internet terms, having a secondary system to back up service in case of a failure in the primary service.
      • Referent influencer: Someone who exerts influence on people who he or she knows, whether in person or through the use of social media.
      • Referring site: A Web site that sends a user to another site.
      • Repeat visitor: A user who makes at least two visits to a given Web site.
      • Retweet: Forwarding or posting someone else's tweet (Twitter message).
      • ROI: Return on investment, a measure of evaluating the effectiveness of an advertising campaign or other business decision; ROI is calculated by dividing the return (e.g., contributions received) by the cost of whatever is evaluated.
      • Search engine: A tool to find information on the Internet by entering search terms; major search engines include Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.
      • Secure mobile phone messaging: Using software to encrypt SMS text messages sent via mobile phone.
      • SEO: Search engine optimization, a method of manipulating content on a Web site in order to have that site rank more highly in searches and thus become more visible.
      • Session: A theoretically uninterrupted visit by a user to a Web site, during which time the user does not go to any other Web site, and there is not a gap of 30 minutes or longer between pageviews.
      • Signal blocking: Blocking a wireless signal by electronic (i.e., jamming) or physical (i.e., wallpaper with metallic ink) means.
      • SIM: Social influence marketing, that is, using social media in a marketing campaign.
      • Single: A visit to a Web site during which a user views only one Web page.
      • Skyscraper ad: A vertical display ad, usually appearing on one side of a Web page.
      • Sleeper effect: An observed psychological effect in which a message paired with a discrediting cue (e.g., the information comes from a disreputable source) becomes more, rather than less, persuasive in a person's memory over time.
      • SMS: Short messaging service, a method to send short text messages using a mobile phone, the Internet, and so forth.
      • http://Snoball.com: A Web site to encourage people to donate to charities; users choose from a number of charities (1.7 million as of November 2012) and make specific pledges based on their behavior (e.g., contributing a set amount to a charity each time they patronize a particular coffee shop) or external event (e.g., making a specific donation each time a particular sports team wins).
      • Social blogs: Blogs created to share personal information about the blogger.
      • Social conversation: A type of social marketing in which a brand engages in a direct conversation with customers or potential customers through social media such as Twitter or Facebook.
      • Social influencers: People who have an unusually strong influence on their peers, in matters ranging from consumer choices (e.g., what brand of clothing they favor or what television programs they watch) to casting a vote in an election.
      • Social network: A Web site that facilitates users connecting with each other and sharing information; Facebook is currently the largest social network in the world.
      • Social news service: Also called a social bookmarking service, a service that facilitates sharing of Web pages with friends.
      • Spam: E-mail that is neither requested nor desired by a user; much spam carries unsolicited advertising, hence the alternate name unwanted commercial e-mail (UCE).
      • Splog: A spam blog, that is, a blog created solely to make money from advertisers by garnering pageviews from users coming from search engines; the articles in splogs are often made up primarily of search terms in order to attract more clicks.
      • Spyware: Malware (malicious software) that captures information from a computer without the user's knowledge.
      • Super-user: A system administrator granted privileges to make changes in the systems beyond what ordinary users are allowed to do.
      • Tablet: A small mobile personal computer with a touch screen and a virtual keyboard.
      • Tag cloud: A graphical display of tags or important words in a document, with terms used more often presented in larger type.
      • Tags: Keywords assigned to documents or images on the Internet, so that the Web pages can be more easily found by search engines.
      • Technology steward: A person who understands the technology needs of a community and has sufficient expertise to address them. Often plays a gatekeeper role for technologically unsophisticated populations
      • Thread: On a message board, the sequence of messages in response to an initial post.
      • Tiananmen Square tank video: Video of the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing, China, in 1989, including a man facing down Chinese tanks; the video was widely viewed internationally.
      • Trackback: A method of notifying an Internet author when someone links to a document created by him or her.
      • Troll: On the Internet, someone who disrupts an online community by posting off-topic or inflammatory messages.
      • True reach: One of the three components of a Klout score, true reach represents the number of people influenced by one person.
      • Tweeps: In the context of Twitter, people who follow someone else's tweets.
      • Tweet: Text messages sent on Twitter; they must be 140 characters or fewer.
      • TweetReach: A company specializing in analyzing the impact of Twitter campaigns.
      • Tweetup: An in-person meeting by people who usually communicate over Twitter.
      • Twitter: A social messaging tool that allows users to post brief text messages (140 characters or fewer) called tweets.
      • Unconnected: People who do not have ready access to high-speed Internet and/or mobile and social media resources, or who elect not to use those resources even if they are available.
      • Unique visitor: In Web analytics, a person who visits a Web site at least once in a given period of time; a unique visitor is counted only once, even if they visit the Web site multiple times during the given time period.
      • Unsubscribe/opt-out: Choosing to not be part of an e-mail list.
      • URL: Uniform resource locator, a character string identifying a Web site.
      • Viral: In the Internet context, to become extremely popular in a short period of time; a video or Web page that is viewed by many people (sometimes millions) in a short period of time is said to have “gone viral.” Typically, content must migrate from its original distribution platform to other communication modalities in order to achieve viral status.
      • Virtual world: An online community formed around a computer-simulated environment, such as that typical of multiplayer fantasy games.
      • VOIP: Voice over internet protocol, a method of transmitting voice communications, faxes, etc., over the Internet rather than over phone lines.
      • VPN: Virtual private network, a private network transmitted over the Internet.
      • Warm traffic: In terms of marketing, people who know in general what they want, but do not know that your product will solve their problem.
      • Web analytics: The analysis of data collected from the Internet, often done to optimize a Web site.
      • Web spider: Also called a Web crawler, a search engine that locates information on the Internet in a systematic fashion by browsing the Web at regular intervals and indexing all the words in documents located.
      • Webcast: The broadcast of a live event over the Internet.
      • Widgets: Software applications designed to be portable so they can run on multiple software platforms.
      • Wiki: A Web site that allows multiple users to add, edit, and delete content, thus promoting cooperation in the creation of documents and other content.
      • Wonkette: An online satirical political magazine founded in 2004 by Gawker Media.
      • XML: Extensible markup language, a document description language for the Internet that was standardized in 1998.
      • YouTube: A video-sharing site created in 2005, and currently owned by Google.
      SarahBoslaugh, Kennesaw State University

      Resource Guide

      Aaker, Jennifer Lynn. The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Social Change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010.
      Abramson, Jeffrey B., F. ChristopherArterton, and Gary R.Orren. The Electronic Commonwealth: The Impact of New Media Technologies on Democratic Politics. New York: Basic Books, 1988.
      Adams, Paul. Grouped: How Small Groups of Friends Are the Key to Influence on the Social Web. Berkeley, CA: New Riders, 2012.
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      Communication Quarterly
      Communication Yearbook
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      Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
      Government Information Quarterly
      International Journal of Inclusive Democracy
      International Journal of Internet Science
      International Journal of the Humanities
      International Journal of the Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
      International Journal of Virtual Communities and Social Networking
      Interdisciplinary Political Studies
      Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media
      Journal of Communication
      Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication
      Journal of Media Research
      Journal of New Communications Research
      Journal of Politics
      Mass Communication and Society
      MIS Quarterly
      National Civic Review
      New Media & Society
      Perspectives on Politics
      Policy Studies Journal
      PS: Political Science and Politics
      Social Networks: An International Journal of Structural Analysis
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      Social Media Research Foundation http://www.smrfoundation.org
      Truthy (Information Diffusion) http://truthy.indiana.edu
      Political Office Web Sites
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      (Contact Information for Individual Senators) http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
      SarahBoslaugh, Kennesaw State University

      Appendix: Congressional Social Media Use

      Compiled by J. ThomasWalzer

      There is no doubt that social media has generated a new era in political communication, especially among representative lawmakers and their constituents. But how far the social media phenomenon has developed can only be seen on a case-by-case basis as presented in the following statistics. Seeing the kind of editorial research done at SAGE's sister publication, CQ Researcher (http://www.cqresearcher.com), this encyclopedia's editors undertook the challenge of determining exactly what U.S. Congresspersons were up to on the social media front. Using CQ Researcher as a starting point to contact office managers, administrative heads, or communication managers for each Congressperson, we created the following appendix detailing individual representatives' number of Facebook “likes,” average Facebook post frequency, number of tweets, number of Twitter followers, YouTube usage, and number of videos posted, among other social media uses. The appendix was researched in October 2013, at the latest possible date prior to the encyclopedia's to-press deadline in early November.

      The results of the research clearly indicate Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) is among the leaders of the pack with 862,382 Facebook “likes,” 1,817,626 Twitter followers, and 603 videos posted on YouTube. Yet McCain does not have an RSS feed. Closer to the lower end of the spectrum in the U.S. House of Representative, there is Representative C. W. Bill Young (R-Florida) with 33 Facebook “likes” and no Twitter account. We included the birth date and age of the Congressperson to see if there was any correlation between social media activity and age. We leave that to the reader to deduce.

      The Editors

      Sources: CQ Researcher; U.S. Senate at http://www.senate.gov; U.S. House of Representatives at http://www.house.gov; Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

      Photo Credits

      VOLUME 1 ©Laureen E. Smith: xxiii; Flickr: 66; Flickr: 80 (Steve Rhodes), 83 (Philip McMaster), 95, 114 (Steve Rhodes), 130 (Adam Fagen), 159, 180, 191, 202, 230 (Gage Skidmore), 384 (Asterio Tecson), 392 (New America Foundation), 363 (Daniel Sieradski), 370 (Joe Lustri), 408 (Public Citizen/Bridgette Blair), 421 (Steve Rhodes), 468 (Adam Lau), 485; White House photos by Pete Souza: 188, 424; Center on Public Diplomacy: 255; USAID: 258, 276 (The Capacity Project), 400 (Alex Araujo), 40, 436 (Worldview/Ed Owles); Center for American Progress: 457; U.S. Army: 122 (Jerome Howard); U.S. Navy: 97 (John F. Williams); YouTube: 284; Texas State Library and Archives Commission: 318; U.S. Department of Defense: 344 (Chad J. McNeeley); Daniel Pearl Foundation: 347; World Economic Forum: 355 (Christof Sonderegger); CIMMYT: 377 (M. DeFreese); FEMA: 404 (David Fine); Argonne National Laboratory: 451 (Wes Agresta); World Economic Forum: 47 (Remy Steinegger); University of Texas College of Communication: 53; U.S. Department of Defense: 471 (Helene C. Stikkel); Wikimedia: 6, 9 (Daniel Latorre), 12 (Sage Ross), 16 (Luke Vargas), 21 (Jonathan Mclntosh), 29 (Derzsi Elekes Andor), 33 (Ahmed Abd El-Fatah), 57 (Vincent Diamante), 72 (Essam Sharaf), 100 (Gage Skidmore), 107 (Al Jazeera English), 136 (Gage Skidmore), 141 (Jimmy Johansson), 148 (River Bissonnette), 154, 199, 206, 210, 219, 239, 267, 293, 297, 307, 326, 334, 431 (Equality Michigan), 441 (Hossam el-Hamalawy), 480.

      VOLUME 2 Flickr: 491 (Steve Rhodes), 501 (Robert Croma), 502 (Collin David Anderson), 508 (Capsun Poe), 515 (Geoff Livingston), 518 (Ted Eytan), 523 (Radio Nederland Wereldomroep), 543 (Nan Palmero), 548, 563 (Jayel Aheram), 568 (Digital Democracy), 573, 582 (Phillip Steams), 589 (Erik E. Thorkildsen), 601 (Robert Scoble), 617 (Daniel Sieradski), 634 (Paul Wilkinson), 640 (Jens Schott Knudsen), 645 (Javad Sharban), 674 (Steve Rhodes), 691 (Sarah Stierch), 709 (ICRC), 716 (Erik Hersman), 724 (Eser Karadag), 732 (Steve Rhodes), 748 (Terissa Schor), 758 (Adam Jones), 818, 823 (Unitarian Universalist Service Committee), 853 (Mosireen), 872 (Simon Ingram), 877 (Steve Rhodes), 889, 893 (David Biene), 916, 923 (New America Foundation), 1021 (Mark Taylor), 1031 (©Ann Harkness); Wikimedia: 552, 623 (Chris Durham), 656 (Quinn Dombrowski), 664 (Karen Eliot), 668 (Nilanjana Roy), 687, 694 (Sage Ross), 705 (James M. Thome), 763 (Pete Gene), 769 (William Murphy), 800 (Gage Skidmore), 997, 834 (One Laptop Per Child), 841 (Al Jazeera English), 862, 904 (David Shank-bone), 940, 929 (Andreas Gaufer), 934 (James Currie), 965, 980 (Brandon Harper), 988, 1026; U.S. Navy: 530 (Tiffini Jones Vanderwyst), 535 (Decan Barnes), 772 (Joshua Treadwell), 829, 1076, (Chad J. McNeeley), 1094 (Ernesto Hernandez Fonte); U.S. Army: 494 (Darrick Noah), 1005; FEMA: 598 (Patsy Lynch), 1083 (Andrea Booher); White House photos by Pete Souza: 629, 810, 950; World Bank: 738 (Bill Lyons); Obama for America: 783 (Tyler Driscoll); Department of Defense: 794 (Aaron Hostutler); Department of Health and Human Services: 806 (Chris Smith); World Economic Forum: 849 (Andy Mettler); DFID: 909 (Russell Watkins); U.S. House of Representatives: 945, 959; U.S. Mission to Geneva: 1009.

      VOLUME 3 Flickr: 1053 (Knight Foundation), 1069 (Reporters Without Borders), 1103 (West Midlands Police), 1112, 1126 (Melissa Hillier), 1141 (Robert S. Donovan), 1146, 1154 (Joe Shlabotnik), 1160 (R. L. Morgan) 1165 (Max Morse), 1172 (Rowan Peter), 1178 (Steve Bott), 1189 (Fifth World Art), 1194 (Adolfo Senabre), 1233 (Asterio Tecson), 1242 (Katrina E. Bowman), 1304 (Steve Rhodes), 1315 (Erik Hersman), 1338 (Rochelle Hartman), 1351 (Kelley Minars), 1356 (José Cruz), 1374, 1383 (Scott Beale), 1408 (Adam Scotti); Wikimedia: 1048 (Justin Ling), 1063, 1088 (Tony Alter), 1218 (UK Department for International Development), 1223, 1264 (S. Eyre), 1268 (Fibonacci Blue), 1274, 1277, 1321 (Mateusz Opasinski), 1329, 1363 (http://Water.Org), 1368 (Jeff Warren), 1378 (Gage Skidmore), 1391 (Ben Schumin), 1396 (Andrew Adams), 1405 (Cathi Bond), 1415; White House photos by Pete Souza: 1285; U.S. Army: 1310; Department of Defense: 1099 (Glenn Fawcett); California Coastal Records Project: 1212; U.S. Department of State: 1289; National Renewable Energy Laboratory: 1295 (Dennis Schroeder); Library of Congress: 1342; Obama for America: 1420 (Christopher Dilts).

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