Part 1: What is Social Media?

What is social media?

Social media refers to platforms and online applications designed to aid in instant or near instant communication with content provided by individual users.  And there are more definitions from there, in fact, the Social Media Guide will provide you with fifty different definitions just in case one or two are not enough.  You are most likely using some type of social media platform right now like WordPress, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and so on for personal use and undoubtedly the organization you work for either wants a social media presence or has a Facebook account.  The world of social media is vast with millions of users and forms of communication.  Here are a few:

Images:  Applications like Flickr allow users to upload photography and share it over the users network, and to the community as a whole.

Video:  Video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo have become the most popular way to share video content to user groups.

Audio:  If you have a way to record your voice, (which most phones give you the ability to do) you can post it online.  Many organizations and individuals have created followings just based on posting their content via podcasts.

Text:  Don’t forget about the old tried and true communication tool of the written word.  Twitter has created an empire based on 140 characters at a time.

Of course there are several more forms like social bookmarking, online gaming and Wikis which allow for group content generation.  The reason that social media is important to the global business economy is simple:  It’s a numbers game.  There are millions of people online interacting with each other through these platforms and applications and organizations have realized they need to tap in to those numbers.

The reason social media will not save your organization is because you have no idea how to use it properly.

Next Up:  Understanding the Purpose of social media.

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