What exactly is Social Media?

That’s a big questions isn’t it? How would you describe Social Media to someone who has no or very limited experience of it?

I’m currently in the process of writing a presentation I’ll be doing at an Internal conference, no pressure there after only a couple of weeks in the job! I wanted to the start the presentation with a few different definitions of what Social Media is.

I began my search on Wikipedia, where I found this quote:

“A group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, which allows the creation and exchange of user-generated content.“
Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein

Rather predictably, the two gents that came up with this are university professors and I think it reads like that. Maybe not the most accessible quote of all time!

I then decided to turn to my extremely knowledgeable twitter followers, asking them how they would describe Social Media. I was greeted with the responses below:

“An online platform where you can have conversations with people who have similar interests”
@jenniwheller
“Online technologies that transcend geography and time to create opportunities for conversation, learning and enrichment through the sharing of thoughts, ideas and experiences.”
@J0N1
“A way of connecting people and for them to connect with each other. Can take various forms and works across multiple directions and levels ”
@AllthingsIC

I like all three of the definitions above, they all hit the mark but also bring something different to the description.

I thought about how I would describe Social Media and eventually came up with: “Putting control back in the hands of the user.”

This might seem a little basic, but for me that’s what Social Media is all about. You could create the greatest Social Media/Intranet/Website of all time, but if no one is looking at it and contributing then it will fail.

The divine right of kings states that ” A monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God.” It’s been said before, content is King, and if that’s the case, then the user is God!

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About Steven Murgatroyd

Northern Social Media and Comms enthusiast.
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One Response to What exactly is Social Media?

  1. JohnO says:

    Interesting post, but I think the discussion now has to include money. I’m thinking specifically of how much user-generated content is worth: http://socialmediatoday.com/sean-mccolgan/309345/how-much-your-user-generated-content-worth-infographic

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