A facial expression. Emoticons often have a keyboard shortcut.

A virtual world is a computer-based simulated environment which may be populated by many users who can create a personal avatar, and simultaneously and independently explore the virtual world, participate in its activities and communicate with others. These avatars can be textual, two or three-dimensional graphical representations, or live video avatars with auditory and touch sensations. In general, virtual worlds allow for multiple users but single player computer games, such as Skyrim, can also be considered a type of virtual world.The user accesses a computer-simulated world which presents perceptual stimuli to the user, who in turn can manipulate elements of the modeled world and thus experience a degree of presence. Such modeled worlds and their rules may draw from reality or fantasy worlds. Example rules are gravity, topography, locomotion, real-time actions, and communication. Communication between users can range from text, graphical icons, visual gesture, sound, and rarely, forms using touch, voice command, and balance senses.Massively multiplayer online games depict a wide range of worlds, including those based on science fiction, the real world, superheroes, sports, horror, and historical milieus. The most common form of such games are fantasy worlds, whereas those based on the real world are relatively rare. Most MMORPGs have real-time actions and communication. Players create a character who travels between buildings, towns, and worlds to carry out business or leisure activities. Communication is usually textual, but real-time voice communication is also possible. The form of communication used can substantially affect the experience of players in the game.Virtual worlds are not limited to games but, depending on the degree of immediacy presented, can encompass computer conferencing and text-based chatrooms. Sometimes, emoticons or ‘smileys’ are available to show feeling or facial expression. Emoticons often have a keyboard shortcut. Edward Castronova is an economist who has argued that “synthetic worlds” is a better term for these cyberspaces, but this term has not been widely adopted.The variety of evolving stand-alone and built-in social media services introduces a challenge of definition. The idea that social media are defined by their ability to bring people together has been seen as too broad a definition, as this would suggest that the telegraph and telephone were also social media – not the technologies scholars are intending to describe. The terminology is unclear, with some referring to social media as social networks.Mobile social media refers to the use of social media on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. This is a group of mobile marketing applications that allow the creation, exchange, and circulation of user-generated content. Due to the fact that mobile social media run on mobile devices, they differ from traditional social media by incorporating new factors such as the current location of the user or the time delay between sending and receiving messages. According to Andreas Kaplan, mobile social media applications can be differentiated among four types.Some social media sites have greater potential for content that is posted there to spread virally over social networks. This is an analogy to the concept of a viral infectious disease in biology, some of which can spread rapidly from an infected person to another person. In a social media context, content or websites that are “viral”  are those with a greater likelihood that users will reshare content posted to their social network, leading to further sharing. In some cases, posts containing controversial content or fast-breaking news have been rapidly shared and re-shared by huge numbers of users. Many social media sites provide specific functionality to help users reshare content – for example, Twitter’s retweet button, Pinterest’s pin function, Facebook’s share option or Tumblr’s reblog function. Businesses have a particular interest in viral marketing tactics because such a campaign can achieve widespread advertising coverage for a fraction of the cost of a traditional marketing campaign. Nonprofit organizations and activists may have similar interests in posting content online with the hopes that it goes viral. The social news website Slashdot, sometimes has news stories that, once posted on its website, “go viral”; the Slashdot effect refers to this situation.Although social media accessed via desktop computers offer a variety of opportunities for companies in a wide range of business sectors, mobile social media, which users are accessing when they are “on the go” via tablet computer or smartphone can take advantage of the location- and time-sensitive awareness of users. Mobile social media tools can be used for marketing research, communication, sales promotions/discounts, and relationship development/loyalty programs.Marketing research: Mobile social media applications offer data about offline consumer movements at a level of detail heretofore limited to online companies. Any firm can know the exact time at which a customer entered one of its outlets, as well as know the social media comments made during the visit.Communication: Mobile social media communication takes two forms: company-to-consumer and user-generated content. For example, McDonald’s offered $5 and $10 gift-cards to 100 users randomly selected among those checking in at one of its restaurants. This promotion increased check-ins by 33%, resulted in over 50 articles and blog posts, and prompted several hundred thousand news feeds and Twitter messages.Sales promotions and discounts: Although customers have had to use printed coupons in the past, mobile social media allows companies to tailor promotions to specific users at specific times. For example, when launching its California-Cancun service, Virgin America offered users who checked in through Loopt at one of three designated Border trucks in San Francisco and Los Angeles between 11am and 3 p.m. on August 31, 2010, two tacos for $1 and two flights to Mexico for the price of one. This special promotion was only available to people who were at a certain location and at a certain time.Relationship development and loyalty programs: In order to increase long-term relationships with customers, companies can develop loyalty programs that allow customers who check-in via social media regularly at a location to earn discounts or perks. For example, American Eagle Outfitters remunerates such customers with a tiered 10%, 15%, or 20% discount on their total purchase.e-Commerce: Social media sites are increasingly implementing marketing-friendly strategies, creating platforms that are mutually beneficial for users, businesses, and the networks themselves in the popularity and accessibility of e-commerce, or online purchases. The user who posts her or his comments about a company’s product or service benefits because they are able to share their views with their online friends and acquaintances. The company benefits because it obtains insight about how their product or service is viewed by consumers. Mobile social media applications such as Amazon.com and Pinterest have started to influence an upward trend in the popularity and accessibility of e-commerce, or online purchases.E-commerce businesses may refer to social media as consumer-generated media (CGM). A common thread running through all definitions of social media is a blending of technology and social interaction for the co-creation of value for the business or organization that is using it. People obtain valuable information, education, news, and other data from electronic and print media. Social media are distinct from industrial or traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, television, and film as they are comparatively inexpensive and accessible. They enable anyone to publish or access information. Industrial media generally require significant resources to publish information as in most cases the articles go through many revisions before being published. This process adds to the cost and the resulting market price. Originally social media was only used by individuals but now it is used by businesses, charities and also in government and politics.Companies are increasingly using social media monitoring tools to monitor, track, and analyze online conversations on the Web about their brand or products or about related topics of interest. This can be useful in public relations management and advertising campaign tracking, allowing the companies to measure return on investment for their social media ad spending, competitor-auditing, and for public engagement. Tools range from free, basic applications to subscription-based, more in-depth tools.Social media tracking also enables companies to respond quickly to online posts that criticize their product or service. By responding quickly to critical online posts, and helping the user to resolve the concerns, this helps the company to lessen the negative effects that online complaints can have about a company product or service sales. In the US, for example, if a customer criticizes a major hotel chain’s cleanliness or service standards on a social media website, a company representative will usually quickly be alerted to this critical post, so that the company representative can go online and express concern for the sub-par service and offer the complaining person a coupon or discount on their next purchase, plus a promise to forward their concerns to the hotel manager so that the problem will not be repeated. This rapid response helps to show that the company cares about its customers.The “honeycomb framework” defines how social media services focus on some or all of seven functional building blocks.4 These building blocks help explain the engagement needs of the social media audience. For instance, LinkedIn users are thought to care mostly about identity, reputation, and relationships, whereas YouTube’s primary features are sharing, conversations, groups, and reputation. Many companies build their own social “containers” that attempt to link the seven functional building blocks around their brands. These are private communities that engage people around a more narrow theme, as in around a particular brand, vocation or hobby, rather than social media containers such as Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. PR departments face significant challenges in dealing with viral negative sentiment directed at organizations or individuals on social media platforms, which may be a reaction to an announcement or event. In a 2011 article, Jan H. Kietzmann, Kristopher Hermkens, Ian P. McCarthy and Bruno S. Silvestre describe the honeycomb relationship as “present a framework that defines social media by using seven functional building blocks: identity, conversations, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation, and groups”.There are direct benefits of social media in the form of greater market share and increased audiences. To increase these benefits technologies that better facilitate social media marketing has been developed; an example of this technology is the development of bots.Bots are automated programs that run over the internet. There are many forms of bots with varying behaviors. The bots most relevant to social media marketing are chatbots and social bots. Chatbots and social bots are programmed to mimic natural human interactions such as liking, commenting, following, and unfollowing on social media platforms. The ability of these bots to automate social media marketing needs has created a large demand and the establishment of a new industry of bot providers.The use of social bots and chatbots has created an analytical crisis in the marketing industry. Companies use social and chatbots to automate their social marketing that appears to consumers and other companies to be real interaction. The ability for bots to mimic human interaction makes it difficult for marketers and data analysts to differentiate between human interactions and automated bot interactions; having implications for quality of data. Companies continue to use bots to automate their social media interactions although the same bots are negatively affecting their marketing data causing a “digital cannibalism” in social media marketing. Additionally, bots violate the terms of use on many social mediums such as Instagram. This can result in profiles being taken down and banned.In addition to humans and bots, the third type of users are “cyborgs”, described as a combination of a human and a bot, in an analogy to “real” cyborgs. They are used, for instance, to spread fake news or create a buzz. Cyborgs, in the social media context, are either bot-assisted humans or human-assisted bots. A concrete example of a cyborg in the social media context is a human being who registers an account for which he sets automated programs to post, for instance, tweets, during his absence. From time to time, the human participates to tweet and interact with friends. Cyborgs are different from bots, as bots use automating, whereas cyborgs intertwine characteristics of both manual and automated behavior. Cyborgs offer unique opportunities for fake news spreaders, as it blends automated activity with human input. When the automated accounts are publicly identified, the human part of the cyborg is able to take over and could protest that the account has been used manually all along. Such accounts try to pose as real people; in particular, number of their friends or followers should be resembling that of a real person.