If you haven’t been noticing, the Social Media rage continues unabated. For some folks, it’s the new drug. It’s one’s new place of abode. If you aren’t on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or even YouTube, you aren’t saying anything. If you check for me at my physical address, chances are you’ll not find me. You stand a better chance locating me at any of my three online haunts – Facebook, Twitter, and most definitely, Linkedin.
But as a self-unemployed person, or even as an emerging entrepreneur, many of you have asked meme,, just: What is Social Media?
That’s a question that is debated by media professionals and consumers alike.
For the purpose of this article, I’d say social media essentially incorporates the online technology and methods through which people can share content, personal opinions, swap different perspectives and insights into world issues and generally discuss the evolution of media in itself.
Social media website content can come in many shapes and forms, and the most popular types are huge at the moment. Here are a few examples of these social media sites:
- Social networking – websites that allows you to create a personal profile about yourself then chat, discuss and share information with others such as friends and family. Prime examples of social networking sites are MySpace, Bebo and Facebook.
- Wikis – wikis are websites that allow you to create, edit and share information about a subject or topic. Wikipedia, for instance, is one of the world’s most popular wikis.
- Video sharing – video-sharing sites allow you to upload and share your personal videos with the rest of the web community. A perfect example of a video sharing website is YouTube.
- Photo sharing – photo-sharing websites allow users to upload pictures and images to a personal account which can then be viewed by web users the world over. Flickr acts as a great example of a successful photo-sharing site.
- News aggregation – news aggregators provide a list of the latest news stories published by users from a range of different websites. Digg, for instance, is one of the web’s largest news aggregators with one of the most dedicated communities.
- Social bookmarking – social bookmarking sites allow users to publicly bookmark web pages they find valuable in order to share them with other internet users.
- Online gaming – online gaming is often based around communities. World of Warcraft is prime example of online gaming.
- Presence apps – these websites allow you to post micro blog-like posts to announce what you are currently doing. Twitter is a good example of a presence app.
This list is by no means complete, but because the social media offensive is moving at warp speed.
However, in your own opinion, what’s your opinion of social media – do you think it’s an enabler or an accelerator of existing core capabilities, values, attributes and plans. Or even a catalyst for change?
To help you adjust your thinking cap, here are some interesting quotes from social media enthusiasts about this social media run-away train:
- “Being the first is old media, while being to the point is new media. And Twitter never forgets.” – Mercedes Bunz
- “If the Army can figure out how to do secure social networking and break down silos and encourage informal problem solving within a rigid hierarchy, surely your business can.” –Mark Drapeau, founder of Cheeky Fresh blog
- “To utilize social media tools effectively and properly, you must absolutely generate spontaneous communications in direct response to what others are saying or to what is happening in that moment. Be yourself. Be conversational. Be engaged.” – Aliza Sherman, co-owner of social marketing firm Conversify
- “If your social strategy relies on advertising in social media, it’s probably better to hang on to your money.” – Taddy Hall, chief operating officer of Meteor Solutions
- “This is no longer a gimmick. This is how… people want to receive their news and want to hear from us.” – Nick Schaper, new-media director for House Minority Leader John Boehner
- “Every year the Web offers up hundreds of new experimental services and ideas, and while you don’t have time to try them all, if you’re able to pinpoint the applications with the most traction, your early adopter status will come with long-term rewards.” – Jennifer Van Grove, editor & social media strategist
- “Twitter is not just a Web site and not microblogging, it is an entirely different medium… The way in which information travels on Twitter — the shape of it — is different to anything that we’ve previously known.” – Paul Lewis, Guardian reporter
- “Actions speak louder than words. Businesses must act. Once the door to social consciousness is opened, bring the spirit of your company through it to affect change.” –Brian Solis, principal at FutureWorks
- “The polling of Internet users shows that friends’ recommendations are the most reliable driver behind purchasing decisions. Right now that market is largely untapped. Facebook and other social networks can allow that to happen.” – Yuri Milner, Russian social-media investor
- “Marketing in a social media world means you are trying to have your message spread while competing with a billion other channels for attention. At any given time, you don’t know where your potential customers are or what they might see.” – Jeremy Epstein, founder and chief marketing navigator at Never Stop Marketing.
There you go!
Now students, in your own words, what does social media really means to you?