Defining Social Media…It’s Complicated

  • Harry T. Dyer
Part of the Cultural Studies and Transdisciplinarity in Education book series (CSTE, volume 11)


This chapter deals with the seemingly simple but surprisingly complex task of defining social media. We begin with a discussion of what social media isn’t, working through some of the common and pervasive myths around social media and young people, before moving on to discuss some of the difficulties in offering a clear definition of social media. Given the continuing evolving nature of platforms, including the addition of new ways of interacting, the ever-growing diverse ways of engaging with and through platforms beyond social interaction, and the use of various social features on a wide array of platforms that may not traditionally be considered overly social spaces, we discuss where (if anywhere) the boundaries of social media sit. We then move on to discuss the importance of a platform-specific approach to understanding social media and then finally reflect on data drawn from a series of interviews with young people to discuss how they understand, define, and use social media.


Social media Social networking Digital natives Moral panic Young people 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harry T. Dyer
    • 1
  1. 1.University of East AngliaNorwichUK

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