What is Social Media?
Being active community of 21st century, we have come a long way from just sending e-mails and text messaging! We are now a part of larger group, connected to the world via social media and social networking – friends, associates, relatives, business ventures, etc.! But the question which really hounds us – what is social media? This burning question is debated heatedly by consumers and media professionals alike. The answer is quite intriguing! Read on to further discover the aspects of social media.
A revolution transformed the erstwhile media – coming from a top-down broadcast model to evolving as one which allows the people to communicate with each other and even take part in the content creation. However, with media evolving and transforming so swiftly, what constitutes and defines social media is getting more complex to ascertain.
With a surging force, popular icons for social media sites are making their presence felt in standards like the search site box. More so, Facebook widgets are now more prominent which allow one to become a fan of business or brand directly from the website. Before we delve deeper, let’s see what social media is.
Social Media – The Revolutionary Breakthrough!
First and foremost, social media involves the online methods and technology via which people can share insights into world issues, swap different perspectives, share personal opinions and content. In totality, they can discuss the evolution of media in itself! The website content comes in a range of forms and shapes:
• Text – This is often used to write blog spots or put across personal opinions.
• Images – Photos and images can range anything from shots by professional photographers to vacation photos.
• Audio – This form of media allows you to create podcasts for users to download.
• Video – The video sites allow you to record a video of your graduation ceremony or child’s birthday for friends and relatives to see all over the world.
Social Media Websites – The ‘In’ Thing!
A few popular websites are really huge and a rage at the moment. These social websites include:
• Social Networking – These websites let you create a personal profile. This personal account allows you to share information, discuss important events and happenings and chat with others like friends and relatives. The popular and raging examples of social networking sites are Facebook, Bebo, MySpace and the new kid on the block, Google +.
• Wikis – These are sites which allow you to create, share and even edit information about a topic or subject. For instance, Wikipedia is known as the world’s most common and popular wikis.
• Video Sharing – These websites let you share and upload your personal videos with others in the web community. One of the perfect examples of such video sharing website is YouTube.
• Photo Sharing – Websites for photo-sharing let users to upload images and pictures to a personal account that can be viewed by users around the world. One such popular photo-sharing website is Flickr.
• News Aggregation – This provides a list of the recent news stories which are published by users from various websites. For example, Digg is considered one of the largest news aggregators as it has a dedicated community to boast of.
• Social Bookmarking – These websites let users to bookmark web pages publicly which they find valuable and informative so that they can share them with others.
• Online Gaming – These games are mostly based around various communities. One of the best examples is World of Warcraft.
• Presence Apps – These sites let you post one-liners or micro blog-like shares to let others know what you are doing now. One of the good examples is Twitter.
This list is never-ending as there are several types of social media websites available on the internet. As social media is progressing swiftly, even after listing all the different varieties of social media sites which exist, it would be too old by the time you read this piece as innovative and novel websites are being created every day.
Social Media – The Pros and Cons
When one talks anything regarding social media, he or she must be prepared to discuss each and every point possible. It is important that we see and judge both sides of the coin. Also, it is crucial that we understand that every tool out there has both positive as well negative attributes. So, here we discuss few such positive and negative points about social media.
The Positive Side:
• As per Forrester Research, around 80% young adults actively use various social networking sites. Hence, the society is headed towards better connectivity.
• Popular medium
• Build relationships
• Fosters community
• Open to everyone
• Easy access
• Leaning towards mass communication
The Harsh Reality:
• Redundant (various networks are often focused on the same subject or topic)
• Impersonal (do you still have an existing landline?)
• Global applications and features cause a loss in exclusivity
• Spam and Ads
Obviously, all these positive and negative attributes are subjective – what one perceives as a flaw can be boon for others. Also, every social networking site will have its equal share of pros and cons, based on its application, its audience and various other factors.
On large, I hope your question – what is social media and its various applications has been dealt with in this article. One must know that media in totality is often associated with positive and negative attributes and events. Even social media is not spared the axe! The point to ponder over is how you see and perceive social media and is it really benefiting us as an active member of the expanding global platform!