This unit introduces what social media are, how and when they emerged, and how and why they have become essential tools for advertising in a digital age. Since their advent and subsequent maturation after the turn of the millennium, social media have become a central way for advertisers to reach audiences, and to use consumers' social connections to sell, tell, and spread messages. A common logic underlies all social media advertising: by getting social media users to do the digital labor of selling and telling, via their influence on others and through word-of-mouth messaging, advertisers find it cheaper and easier to spread their messages widely.

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