Wednesday, 15 September 2010 16:36

What is social media?

Written by  romaine waite
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Social media is a phrase being tossed around a lot these days, but it can sometimes be difficult to answer the question of what is social media. If MySpace is a social media site, and Twitter is a social media site, and Wikipedia is a social media site, then just what is social media?


The best way to define social media is to break it down. Media is an instrument of communication, like a newspaper or a radio, so social media would be a social instrument of communication.

In other words terms, this would be a website that doesn't just give you information, but interacts with you while giving you that information. This interaction can be as simple as asking for your comments or letting you vote on an article, or it can be as complex as Flixter recommending movies to you based on the ratings of other people with similar interests.

Think of regular media as a one-way street where you can read a newspaper or listen to a report on television, but you have very limited ability to give your thoughts on the matter.
Social media, on the other hand, is a two-way street that gives you the ability to communicate too

DEMO:

Social Media Personality vs. Regular Media Personality

SMP: Gives information
Allows you to give feedback on Information Presented
RMP: Gives information
Does not allow you to give feedback on Information Presented

Samples of Social Media

Now that we have answered the question of what is social media, we can move on to social media websites. Because social media is such a broad term, it covers a large range of websites. But the one common link between these websites is that you are able to interact with the website and interact with other visitors.

Here are some examples of social media websites:

  • Social Bookmarking. (Del.icio.us, Blinklist, Simpy) Interact by tagging websites and searching through websites bookmarked by other people.

  • Social News. (Digg, Propeller, Reddit) Interact by voting for articles and commenting on them.

  • Social Networking. (Facebook, Hi5, Last.FM) Interact by adding friends, commenting on profiles, joining groups and having discussions.

  • Social Photo and Video Sharing. (YouTube, Flickr) Interact by sharing photos or videos and commenting on user submissions.

  • Wikis. (Wikipedia, Wikia) Interact by adding articles and editing existing articles.

And these websites are not the only social media websites. Any website that invites you to interact with the site and with other visitors falls into the definition of social media.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Human brains cannot manage more than 150 friendships. This is the conclusion of Robin Dunbar, Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford. This is where social networking comes in….

Social media is developing and growing literally by the second with more users and fresh innovative forms of use. Businesses becoming engaged in social media have a great advantage by establishing relationships and keeping up to date within their online communities. The most exciting aspect of social media networks is that they are still a new medium and constantly offering innovative ways to serve a users purpose. Social media is transcending across the web and taking over!

That being said with every new technology come new problems. I sure many of you have heard of all the social media horror stories. Which would have not been possible a short time ago. A prime example of this happened with the Micheal Richards situation at a comedy club in LA

Last modified on Sunday, 06 March 2011 07:32

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