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Concerning the use of social media

Since the birth of the Web and the Internet, people have used them to express their views and to distribute information, and their roles have developed as essential values.

In the beginning, people debated using email or news groups, then after the birth of the World Wide Web, they distributed information using HTML.

Around 2000, the appearance of the tool called Weblog that permit users to easily write on the Web, and of Wikipedia intended to create an open encyclopedia by allowing unrestricted editing ushered in the age when anybody could become a source of information, the so-called Web2.0. The later arrival of social networking services such as FriendStar or LinkedIn allowed people to conduct even deeper exchanges on the Internet by expanding links in the actual world. About 2005, Twitter, Facebook and other more advanced services appeared, and such media, which disseminate information unbound by past concepts of publishing and editing and are now called social media, introduced the age when anybody can easily spread information. The result has been a transformation of both the ways people communicate and work and of their lifestyles.

Social media permit people to freely express their views to the entire world. In order for people to express their views in the world prior to the arrival of social media, they had to use books, articles or the mass media. And using these methods, editing, censorship, and other obstructions existed, making it difficult for people to freely express their views. Using social media, on the other hand, lets people freely express their views. Of course even when social media is used, there are still cases where freedom of expression is restricted by governments, etc. But in almost all cases, people can freely and easily express their views and can freely debate them, and they can be accessed by the entire world through the Internet.

Social media has transformed one-way communication into two-way communication. Previously, the roles of transmitters of information and receivers of information were divided but by permitting two-way and person to person communication, anybody can exchange their views and take part in discussions. This permits debates with experts etc., with whom it was formerly difficult to exchange views, and community awareness is encouraged by such discussions. By, for example, posting information about one's own research, interests or other activities, to a blog or to a video sharing site, people can gather attention, and take part in new activities with others they formerly had no contact with, allowing them to quickly expand their activities.

Another characteristic of social media, that lets people easily and freely express their views, is that if someone uses it incorrectly, that person will inevitably fall into a dangerous trap. Now that advanced data processing is possible, even if a person enters data intending to remain anonymous, others can easily identify the person by gathering various fragmented pieces of information. Slander and libel are of course impermissible, but there have been many cases where, as a result of a person anonymously entering information that must not be publicized, the person was identified and was forced to pay heavy compensation for his or her action.

Keio University believes that social media are tools indispensable for modern society, and that using these tools will improve each person's education and research. But precautions must be followed when using social media, so we have enacted guidelines to the use of social media in order to permit all students from elementary school to university level and all instructors to use social media correctly and effectively.

Last-Modified: February 26, 2015

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