Social Media
A Reference Handbook
by Kelli S. Burns
March 2017, 398pp, 6x9
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-4355-6
$66, £49, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-4356-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Social media have touched and changed nearly every aspect of society, from interpersonal relationships to how news is consumed.

Social media is arguably one of the most powerful technology-enabled innovations since the Internet itself. This single-volume book provides a broad and easily understandable discussion of the evolution of social media; related problems and controversies, especially for youth; key people and organizations; and useful social media data.

Social media is an integral part of people’s lives. More than half of the world’s 2.4 billion Internet users sign in to a social network regularly—a figure that continues to grow. More than half of online adults now use two or more social media sites; 71 percent of Internet users are on Facebook. This book surveys the history of social media, addresses the power of social media for positive change, describes the problems and controversies social media have caused, and suggests potential solutions to these issues.

Geared toward students and general readers, this accessibly written book covers such topics as the link between social media and body image, the psychological affects of social media use, online conversations about sexual assault, corporate use of social media data, political campaigning through social media, fan tweeting during television shows, and crisis communication through social media. Readers will also gain insights into the range of serious problems related to social media, including privacy concerns, social media addiction, social media hoaxes and scams, the pressure to project an ideal self, the curation of content presented on social media, cyberbullying, sexting, Facebook depression and envy, online shaming, and the impact of social media use on communication skills.


  • Provides readers with a clearly written overview of the impacts of social media worldwide that highlights key people and companies in the development of social media
  • Presents up-to-date information on the range of problems related to social media and presents potential solutions
  • Offers a variety of voices from social media experts, supplying perspectives from creators to users
Kelli S. Burns, PhD, is associate professor in the Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communications at the University of South Florida. She is author of Praeger's Celeb 2.0: How Social Media Foster Our Fascination with Popular Culture. Her research has been published in Journal of Advertising, Journal of New Communications Research, Newspaper Research Journal, and International Journal of Interactive Marketing and Advertising and as chapters in several edited volumes. Burns received a doctorate in mass communication from the University of Florida, where she was a presidential fellow; a master's degree in mass communication from Middle Tennessee State University; and a bachelor's degree in mathematics and business administration from Vanderbilt University.


"An extensive, well-researched offering on a very current and hot topic."—Booklist, August 1, 2017

"Overall, the book provides an expert curation of social media, useful for introductory students and even general readers who want to better understand this emerging technology. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty."—Choice, September 1, 2017

Contemporary World Issues

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

24-hour cable news. Millions of internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about.


Subject coverage spans six main categories:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Environment
  • Gender and Ethnicity
  • Politics, Law, and Government
  • Science, Technology, and Medicine
  • Society
Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that support statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
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