Is “Social Media” Singular or Plural?

Writing Tutorial

Is "Social Media" Singular or Plural?

Intro

Social media has become an important form of communication since its first official political use to garner support for the grassroots campaign that led President Obama to victory. Today, President Trump places even higher priority on this form of communication by making official statements via Twitter. With this level of use, there is no doubt that you will, at some point, use the subject of social media in your writing. This could occur in any setting — personal, academic, or professional. It is important to understand how to properly use this fairly new subject in sentence construction.

Sample Problem

DOES “SOCIAL MEDIA” USE A SINGULAR OR PLURAL VERB IN A SENTENCE?

Social media is, what I like to refer to as, a chameleon noun. It changes its form depending upon its use. It can be used as either a singular OR plural noun. Here is how:

Solution

SINGULAR
Consider these similar nouns: jury, group, class, and family. These are COLLECTIVE NOUNS. Remember — Your family is a SINGLE entity made up of more than one person. Social media is a family of websites that mimic social functions.

PLURAL
As a plural subject, social media refers to more than one of the many websites that mimic social functions.

TIP:
One way to verify appropriate use is by looking for clues in the rest of the sentence text.

Singular use example:

Social media creates a threat to productivity in the workplace during March Madness.
Clue == “a threat” is singular.

Plural use example:

Social media create more threats to productivity in the workplace than March Madness.
Clue == the word “threats” is plural

Another way to help clarify the proper use of social media as a plural subject is by defining the specific apps to which you are referring:

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram create more threats to productivity in the workplace than March Madness.

The second example has a much stronger construction providing even greater clarity on the subject matter.

Finally, a word on capitalization. Unless social media is being used as a pronoun (Social Media Director), it is not capitalized in a sentence.

I hope this is helpful!

~Professor Marsha



About The Author

English, Writing, Grammar Prof
I am Professor Marsha Bass, BA, MS, ABD, and I am delighted to have your consideration of my request to serve as your private English, writing, and grammar coach. Many students are intimidated by writing, an issue spurred by rigid learning environments and the sight of red ink bleeding all over the...
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