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Social media are computer-mediated tools that allow people to create, share or exchange information, ideas, and pictures/videos in virtual communities and networks. Social media is defined as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.”

Furthermore, social media depend on mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms through which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content. They introduce substantial and pervasive changes to communication between businesses,organizations, communities, and individuals.[2] These changes are the focus of the emerging field of technoself studies. Social media differ from traditional or industrial media in many ways, including quality,[3] reach, frequency, usability, immediacy and permanence. Social media operates in a dialogic transmission system, (many sources to many receivers).[4] This is in contrast to traditional media that operates under a monologic transmission model (one source to many receivers).

Photo @coryrichards On assignment for @natgeo with @intotheokavango Meet Tim Gargan (@tim.gargan) a de-miner with the HALO Trust (@thehalotrust) an organization working to remove the left-over land mines from Angola's decades-long civil war. Tim grew up in Scarborough North Yorkshire, the son of a Police officer and nurse. When he was 18, he joined the Army Reserve and at 22, joined the British Military. In 2004, he did his first tour in Iraq. In 2007 he was deployed to Afghanistan and joined the Royal Engineers in 2009. His job there saw him return to Afghanistan in 2011 to clear roads of IEDs. Two years later, he left the military to do something "unambiguously good", joining HALO and employing his work with the Royal Engineers working to clear land mines. As with all work, even de-mining has unforeseen impacts. While HALOs work has cleared countless acres and saved hundreds of lives, the newly opened lands are quickly occupied…often within days, and sometimes hours. As areas become safe, the land is often quickly deforested for agriculture and charcoal…both subsistence industries in most cases. The deforestation destroys root infrastructure in the soil leading to flood/drought cycles brought on by the soils inability to hold water. It's a true catch 22…through undeniable good, some bad also occurs and has deep environmental impacts. It is clear that safety of individuals and communities is of utmost importance. But what does it mean for the future of Angola's environment and water? For more images from the trip follow @coryrichards and @intotheokavango Posted from the field #okavango15 @thephotosociety @eddiebauer @natgeocreative

A photo posted by National Geographic (@natgeo) on

There are many effects that stem from internet usage. According to Nielsen, internet users continue to spend more time with social media sites than any other type of site. At the same time, the total time spent on social media in the U.S. across PC and mobile devices increased by 99 percent to 121 billion minutes in July 2012 compared to 66 billion minutes in July 2011.[6] For content contributors, the benefits of participating in social media have gone beyond simply social sharing to building reputation and bringing in career opportunities and monetary income, as discussed in Tang, Gu, and Whinston (2012).

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