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Arkansas State University

Sociology’s Role in Social Media

Sociology is the study of human interaction. In recent years, social media has created an entirely new area for sociological research. Social media offers a new avenue for human interaction, creating new behaviors for sociologists to study. Social media began as an interaction between people using new forms of technology, and the conversations became increasingly public. Students pursuing a BA in sociology will have the opportunity to study the role social media plays in society and vice versa.

The New Way to Meet Social Needs

Technology continues to offer new ways to meet people’s needs, and social media is not different. It is a tool to fulfill some of humanity’s deepest cravings: relationships. Social media allows society to maintain these relationships on a global scale, with instant access to close friends and family as well as people around the world. Through interactive technology, users can make connections more easily and interact in many different and creative ways. Now that so many use social media, it is intriguing to see how this influences their behavior.

Social media engagement demonstrates humanity’s innate need to network; people feel happy and fulfilled when they interact with others. So, of course, with each interaction — on a number of different levels — a person’s satisfaction increases. As people interact on a massive scale, there is more potential for them to influence each other’s personal and professional lives.

Research has proven that humans experience a change in their conscious and unconscious behaviors when they interact with others. Therefore, it is helpful for people to understand just how others influence them and how those connections affect their lives. Often, these connections give people richer experiences. Due to the emotional dependence among humans, social networks result in both negative and positive experiences. A BA in sociology can help graduates study how this affects people and help others understand these effects.

People-Driven Media

Ultimately, the success of social media hinges on sociology and not on the sophistication of user experience of the technology. People drive the success of social media by taking any number of actions, from cultivating a large group of friends on Facebook or thousands of Twitter followers. They do so by consistently grooming their profiles to keep their followers and friends updated and interested.

Social media engagement is also necessary to keep businesses afloat by helping them engage potential customers. The interactive quality and ease of use helps organizations establish a rapport and trust. At the same time, businesses need to understand that social media marketing needs to consist of genuine interaction , which involves listening, reading and participating, instead of simply throwing out mass marketing messages.

Social media also enables users to form bonds related to common causes and organize events for social and political causes. For instance, Twitter and Facebook played a major role in political movements in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria.

Social media has changed the way humans communicate. They no longer have to interact face-to-face. They can easily engage others around the world. This new aspect of sociology can create new power dynamics, where some voices become stronger than others due to their greater social media presence. For those seeking a BA in sociology, social media offers an entirely new sociological universe to explore.

Learn about the Arkansas State University online BA in Sociology program.


Social Media Today: Sociology and Social Media

SAGE Journals: Towards a Sociological Understanding of Social Media: Theorizing Twitter

Sociology of Media

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