Social media can best be understood according to the notion of "the emancipation of authorship" proposed by Andrey Miroshnevchenko. All the hiccups, antagonisms and politically incorrect postering, including that of our Trickster President to be, represent the birth pangs of a whole society suddenly provided with the means to publish their thoughts, images, culinary choices and dating experiences etc. to a mass audience, but no formal training on how best to do so. We are all making it up as we go along, and as James Joyce wrote "His consumers, are they not his producers?" (FW, Viking Press, p. 497)
It's not just the sheer number of new authors, it's the rate of change that is upsetting our media, political and religious norms and institutions. When a five year old can get millions of views and make millions of dollars on YouTube reviewing his toys, you know we have entered a new era.
This first chart from Miroshnevchenko's "Human as Media" shows the sudden explosion of authorship we are experiencing as a culture
and is further documented by the second chart from Denis G. Pelli and Charles Bigelow's Seed article "A Writing Revolution"