What is Social Media?

What is social media? The average person would most likely say Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.  They are completely right, but perhaps they do not necessarily know why these sites are in fact social media.  Although Wikipedia is not always the most ideal source for information, I believe it’s definition of social media works quite well: “Social media refers to interaction among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.”  If there is a source on the internet that allows users to post or share their “unique” thoughts and traits to others, it is a form of social media.  It is not a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing, but more of a place for interaction between people; there is an aspect of communication.  Social media is different from other forms of media because of the interaction aspect. Media is a form of communication about certain events, people, places, trends, etc.  Social media allows the users to interact with the media, i.e. commenting, liking, sharing, voting, on many differing topics and forms of social media.  About.com explains this well: http://webtrends.about.com/od/web20/a/social-media.htm.  According to the links provided in the assignment, http://www.sharethis.com/publishers/services-directory#sthash.3kLlGeLJ.dpbs and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Flickr, Hotlist, Tagged, and many other outlets are forms of social media.  Instagram for instance, allows users to share pictures that they can edit with different filters.  These pictures become a life album that is executed in a way to make the life of the users anything they want their followers to perceive as reality.  Twitter on another note, can be used in many different ways.  Not only is it a form of status update, but it is a place where users can upload pictures, share links to websites, hashtag popular trending ideas, all while still having the ability to interact with others.  Many companies use Twitter, as well as other forms of social media, as a marketing tool to attract customers to their product or service.  Even our President has a Twitter account so people can follow him and see what he has to say on a moment to moment basis. Social media in general offers many platforms for people to stay up to date with the actions, thoughts, and opinions of daily occurrences that users choose to share with their friends and followers.  This blog that you are reading right now is social media. I am sharing my thoughts about social media on this social media source; you as the reader have the ability to reflect on what I am saying and comment below.  There is the interaction aspect of social media that I am referring to. As stated above, Google, Yahoo, and Bing are not forms of social media; they are search engines where people type in a topic they would like to know more about, and the search engine provides the user with top pages of related information.  Search engines are open to interpretation in the sense that the users can refine and adjust their searches to get a more specific and tailored result.  They are not a source for people to necessarily interact and communicate with each other.  The following hyperlink provides information about how Google is not a source of social media, but is still however, in competition with different forms of social media as they are becoming a source of sharing information between users: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2064960/Is-Google-a-Social-Media-Company. It is important to understand what social media is and how it can be used in today’s world.  For companies, it is crucial to make sure what is being said and posted is appropriate to the company and to the company’s goals.  For individuals, it is also important to sensor what is being posted so that the “ridiculous” posts do not cause problems either in life or in the workplace of the individuals.  

Remember, “you are what you share” (Charles Leadbeater)

Leen

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