are primarily Internet-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings. The term most often refers to activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and "building" of shared meaning among communities, as people share their stories and experiences.
Distinction from industrial media
Social media are distinct from industrial media, such as newspapers
, and film
. While social media are relatively cheap tools that enable anyone (even private individuals) to publish
or access information, industrial media are relatively expensive tools that generally require significant financial capital
to publish information (which often limits their use to commercial purposes). Examples of industrial media include a printing press
or a government-granted spectrum license
"Industrial media" are commonly referred to as "traditional" or "mass" media.
One characteristic shared by both social media and industrial media is the capability to reach small or large audiences; for example, either a blog post or a television show may reach zero people or millions of people.
In his 2006 book The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, Yochai Benkler analyzed these distinctions and their implications in terms of both economics and political liberty. However, Benkler, like many academics, uses the neologism Network Economy or "network information economy to describe the underlying economic, social, and technological characteristics of what has come to be known as "social media."
Information outputs and human interaction
Primarily, social media depend on interactions between people as the discussion and integration of words to build shared-meaning, using technology as a conduit.
Social media utilities create opportunities for the use of both inductive and deductive logic by their users. Claims or warrants are quickly transitioned into generalizations due to the manner in which shared statements are posted and viewed by all. The speed of communication, breadth, and depth, and ability to see how the words build a case solicits the use of rhetoric. Induction is frequently used as a means to validate or authenticate different users' statements and words. Rhetoric is an important part of today’s language in social media.
Social media is not finite: there is not a set number of pages or hours. The audience can participate in social media by adding comments or even editing the stories themselves. Content in social media can take the form of text, graphics, audio, or video. Several formats can be mixed. Social media is typically available via feeds, enabling users to subscribe via feed readers, and allowing other publishers to create mashups.
Social media marketing
"Social media" signifies a broad spectrum of topics and has several different connotations. In the context of Internet marketing, Social Media refers to a collective group of web properties whose content is primarily published by users, not direct employees of the property (e.g. the vast majority of video on YouTube is published by non-YouTube employees). Social media optimization
(SMO) is the process of trying to get one's content more widely distributed across multiple social media services.
Social media marketing has two important aspects. The first, SMO, refers to on-page tactics through which a webmaster can improve a website for the age of social media. Such optimization includes adding links to services such as Digg, Reddit and Del.icio.us so that their pages can be easily 'saved and submitted' to and for these services.
Social media marketing, on the other hand, is an off-page characteristic of social media. This includes writing content that is remarkable, unique, and newsworthy. This content can then be marketed by popularizing it or even by creating a “viral” video on YouTube and other video sites. Social media is about being social so this off-page work can include getting involved in other similar blogs, forums, and niche communities. Search engine marketing (SEM) involves utilization of all available social networking platforms to brand a product using SEO techniques of communication, to the end consumer.
According to Lloyd Salmons, first chairman of the Internet Advertising Bureau social media council "Social media isn't just about big networks like Facebook and MySpace, it's about brands having conversations.
Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums
, pictures and video. Technologies include: blogs
, picture-sharing, vlogs
, wall-postings, email
, instant messaging
, music-sharing, crowdsourcing
, and voice over IP
, to name a few. Examples of social media applications are Google Groups
(reference, social networking), Wikipedia
(social networking), Facebook
(social networking), Youmeo
(social network aggregation), Last.fm
(personal music), YouTube
(social networking and video sharing), Avatars United
(social networking), Second Life
(virtual reality), Flickr
(photo sharing), Twitter
(social networking and microblogging) and
such as Jaiku
. Many of these social media services can be integrated via social network aggregation
platforms like Mybloglog
Social media software applications
Examples of social media applications include:
- Blogs: Blogger (service), Livejournal, TypePad, Wordpress, Vox,
- Microblogs / Presence apps: Twitter and Pownce
- Social networking: Avatars United,Bebo, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Orkut, Skyrock
- Social network aggregation: FriendFeed, Youmeo
- Events: Upcoming.org, Eventful
- Benkler, Yochai (2006). The Wealth of Networks. New Haven: Yale University Press
- Johnson, Steven (2005). Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter. New York: Riverhead Books
- Scoble, Robert, Israel, Shel (2006). Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers. New York: Wiley & Sons
- Surowiecki, James (2005). The Wisdom of Crowds. New York: Anchor Books
- Tapscott, Don, Williams, Anthony D. (2006). Wikinomics, How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. New York: Portfolio