What is social media?
In essence, social media defines an array of Internet sites that enable people from all over the world to interact. This can be through discussion, photos, video and audio.

Facebook is the leading social networking site, with more than 1.2 billion global active users every month. The site's popularity is followed closely by MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn and Bebo.

Facebook screenshot
On average, Americans spend 7.6 hours using social networking sites, such as Facebook, every month.
The latest statistics show that around 42% of online adults use multiple social networking sites. Perhaps not surprisingly, the majority of social media users are under the age of 30, although the number of older users is on the rise. Around 45% of Internet users aged 65 or older now use Facebook, increasing from 35% in 2012.

On average, Americans spent 7.6 hours a month using social media, with the majority of individuals accessing social networking sites through cell phones.

But what attracts us to social media?

In the late 1980s, the first commercial dial-up Internet service provider (ISP) was launched in the US. Internet technology has certainly advanced in the past 25 years, so much so that the words "dial-up" make most people cringe.

Of course, one of the main attractions for connecting to the Internet was, and still is, the ability to better connect with the world around us. For example, the Internet allowed us to send emails as an alternative to the timely process of sending letters through the mail. Social media has built on this premise.

This is Facebook's mission statement:

"Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what's going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them."

This sums up what the majority of social networking sites endeavor to achieve, and there is no doubt that...

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