Exploring Sassy Magazine's Role as a Pioneer of Social Media
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Social media are thought of as a product of the progression of users contributing more and more content to the Internet. Four characteristics of social media can be identified: user-generated content, feedback mechanisms, transparency and community. This research examines the possibility that social media have existed apart from and prior to the widespread use of the Internet. Sassy magazine was a magazine for girls that utilized user-generated content in every issue, and solicited, valued, and used the feedback and opinions of its readers. Sassy magazine is examined to identify the presence of the characteristics of a social media environment. Based on Katz and Blumler’s uses and gratifications theory, this research looks at why girls read Sassy; then, through the use of feminist theory, it explores what motivated readers to participate in the magazine’s creation. Results show that Sassy’s creation of a participatory environment produced social media even before the Internet became a significant part of mainstream culture.