Social media have been defined as a group of mobile and Internet-based applications that are based on the fundamental ideological and technological assumptions of the so called Web 2.0, a term popularized since 2004 for naming what is considered as a second generation in the evolution of the World Wide Web and understood, in general terms, as a combination of concepts, tendencies, and technological resources focused on user collaboration, sharing of user-generated content, and social networking. Social media are precisely associated to these three characteristics, and they can take a diversity of forms, having an increasing impact on different dimensions of current societies. This entry discusses the history of social media, some examples of them, and their characteristics, uses, and consequences, particularly in business and ...

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