Abstract

This focus of this study is to explicate social media and the misperceptions surrounding it. Social media is a very effective and efficient communication channel that is been used in the world currently. However, the primary focus would be on the misperceptions that exist in relation to social media in the US.  The center research question for this study is, what misperceptions hinder the enjoyment of benefits offered by social media in the US? The information will be collected using focus group interviews and is expected to reveal the positive contributions of social media to the lives of individuals if well used. 

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Introduction

Social media and misperceptions is one of the most interesting topics that could be chosen as there have been various ongoing misperceptions of social media since its inception especially in the US. The justification for the choice of the topic is embedded in the understanding that it is crucial to clear off the air in regard the misperceptions of social media so as social media can be viewed from a positive point of view. Basically, social media takes various elements such as blogs, business networks, the review of products and services, social networks for enterprise in addition to the sharing of videos and photos. The prospectus also reveals that social media has various key concepts affiliated to it including virality, data mining, and mobile use. The problem statement is also discussed in terms of how individuals misunderstand the effective use of social media and the thinking that it harms teenagers and youths. The methodology discusses the use of qualitative research with a particular use of focus group interviews to collect data. Generally, it is crucial to look into the various misperceptions that come with social media and also look into how these misperceptions can be done away with. Social media does not only come with negative aspects as misperceived by individuals, as there are many positives including communication and education purposes. 

Key Concepts

There are various key concepts that arise when it comes to social media. These concepts include virality, data mining, and mobile use.

Virality

Some of the social media channels have increased potential for posted content to spread rapidly over the social networks. In the context of social media, the websites that are viral are the ones that have increased potential of users re-sharing the content that is posted by other social media users to their own social networks hence providing room for more sharing. In most cases, posts that contain controversial content or fast-breaking news tend to be rapidly shared by a large number of social media users. Many social media channels provide options that aim at helping users to re-share content. Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr have functionality that enables users to share content over these social networks. Particularly, businesses have an interest in widespread tactics of marketing because using such a campaign leads to achieving viral widespread coverage. 

Mobile Social Media Use

Mobile social media basically refers to employing social media by the use of mobile devices including smart phones as well as tablet computers. Applications of mobile marketing allow social media users to create and exchange content that is user generated. This is basically because of the fact that social media can run on the above mentioned mobile devices. According to Curran, Fenton, and Des, these applications can be divided into four types which are space timers which are sensitive when it comes to location and time, space locators which specifically locates time, quick timers which are specifically time sensitive and slow timers which locates time nor location. 

Data Mining and Social Media Global Usage

Mining in social media is a technique of data mining that analyzes data with a view of detecting pattern. Social media data mining is a process whereby data on social media actionable patterns are represented, analyzed and extracted. This process introduces the basic concepts besides the principal algorithms that are suitable for huge social media data investigation. In respect to social media global usage, youths make up a huge percentage of the population that uses social media as provided by Vural.

Problem Statement

There are various misperceptions that revolve around the use of social media in the US. Employing social media does not imply that individuals have to use all the channels of social media. Most people have the misperception that that they ought to use all the channels of social media by the virtue of their existence. This is the most common mistake that most beginners do. They go on creating accounts on various social media channels despite the fact that they may end up not using some of the accounts. Before making a decision on the social media channel that one would like to be affiliated with, it is crucial to first point out the usefulness of this channel and the relationship it has with other channels and if the relationship is of value. Lessons will be learnt that social media has to be used for the right purposes. In addition, the right channels have to be chosen for the communication of specific ideas and information.

The second key misperception is that most social media users believe that they have to post every aspect that happening in their lives every now and then. This is can be termed as “diarrhea” on social media as most individuals go on posting irrelevant stuff all over all the channels of social media at every instance. However, Partridge explains that social media users have to develop the habit of posting useful information that is crucial to the audience. In this regard, a balance has to be made between posting relevant information of interest and topics that come up on social media. It is therefore crucial to ensure that the right type of information is put across the right social media channel. 

The misconception that social media is entirely destructive to teenagers is another key concept that will arise in the discussions regarding the effects of social media. However, social media is not entirely harmful to teenagers as social media presents a wide variety of topics that are helpful to the teenagers. It will be discovered that, topics on business ideas, politics, fashion and beauty are discussed on social media on numerous occasions. Through such topics, the teenagers can really learn a lot that is basically not destructive. Hence it is good to have a positive outlook in regard to social media and view it entirely as an educative and entertaining tool rather than a tool of destruction. Teenagers need to be educated on the effective use of social media so as to avoid getting destructive information from social media. 

Methodology

The qualitative research design will be employed in the collection of data in this particular research. It is worth understanding that the qualitative research design is preferred for this study because it offers room for in depth explanations into the phenomenon of the study. Through the qualitative study, it will be easier to narrow down into the misperceptions of social media through appropriate explanations of what people think about social media and its subsequent impacts on their lives. More so, qualitative data does not base its conclusions on figures but the real details given by respondents in the study hence ensuring that a high level of reliability is attained in the course of reaching conclusions in the study. The qualitative research design will be supported by the positivist research philosophy that boosts the independence of the researcher by focusing his/her efforts to the collection and interpretation of data. It will make it easier for the researcher to collect data and analyze it deductively hence leading to the understanding of the origin of the misperceptions and any recommendations that could be adopted to address these misconceptions in the best way possible. 

Focus group interviews would be the instrumental of data collection in this study. Interviews will be done on a face-to-face approach to ensure that the most reliable possible data is collected for use in the study. Accordingly, focus group interviews are preferred for the collection of data in this study because they help the researcher weigh the genuineness of the responses based on the facial expressions and emotions of respondents while responding to the questions that are posed to them. More so, conducting focus group interviews is quite cost saving because it eliminates costs related to the printing of materials to be filled by participants in the study. Lastly, focus group interviews ensure that a large amount of data is collected through constant interactions with the participants of the study. They feel more assured of their confidentiality through contact with the researcher in the study. However, interviews might also be limited because respondents might present information that is unreliable in some instances without the researcher noticing. This might negate the conclusions of the study and recommendations made. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, the advent of social media has consequently led to the onset of various misperceptions in the use of social media. Literature provides that social media is a very crucial too in the process of communication as information on various topics is communicated over the various social media channels. However, various individuals tend to use social media in the wrong way hence leading to creation of various misperceptions on social media. These misperceptions vary in regard to the how and when and with whom to use the social media channels. Nevertheless, it is important to do away with the perceptions of social media in order to effectively use social media for the right purposes. 

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May 28, 2020 in Marketing
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