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Abstract

This review delineates core components of the social media ecosystem, specifying how online platforms complicate established social psychological effects. We assess four pairs of social media elements and effects: profiles and self-presentation; networks and social mobilization; streams and social comparison; and messages and social connectedness. In the process, we describe features and affordances that comprise each element, underscoring the complexity of social media contexts as they shift to a central topic within psychology. Reflecting on this transitional state, we discuss how researchers will struggle to replicate the effects of dynamic social environments. Consequently, we outline the obstacles in isolating effects that reoccur across platforms, as well as the challenges and opportunities that come with measuring contexts across periods. By centering on the elements that define the online ecosystem, psychological research can establish a more durable foundation for replicating the effects of social media and chronicling the evolution of social interaction.

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2020-01-04
2024-04-15
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