By Richard Martorello, SMC Member

Daniel Nations, a freelance writer and programmer, explained Social Media on About.com Web Trends in the following way:

“The best way to define social media is to break it down.  Media is an instrument on communication, like a newspaper or a radio, so social media would be a social instrument of communication.”

“Think of regular media as a one-way street where you can read a newspaper or listen to a report on television, but you have very limited ability to give your thoughts on the matter.”

“Social media, on the other hand, is a two-way street that gives you the ability to communicate too.”

Joseph Thornley, author of the ProPR blog site and CEO of Thornley Fallis and 76design, refers to social media in his plain language definition as:

“Social media are online communications in which individuals shift fluidly and flexibly between the role of audience and author.  To do this, they use social software that enables anyone without knowledge of coding, to post, comment on, share or mash up content and to form communities around shared interests.”

Today’s world of the Internet is not like its early days where one would mouse click through the World Wide Web one hyperlink at a time.  We can do so much more online with recent advances in hardware and software technologies.  Beside the what we may now call the “basics” of electronic mail, website viewing, and search, we can bank, buy and sell products, order tickets and view our favorite newspapers, magazines and television events online.

Our desire to communicate with each other has provided the opportunity to create blogs, vlogs (video blog), social networks, and social photo and video sharing sites.  Social media has given us the chance to self-publish our thoughts to others freely and for profit.
So what is social media?

Maybe the easiest definition of what social media is can best be described by Jacob JS Bornman:
“Any online application or a combination of applications, whereby individuals or groups can interact, for social reasons.”

Learn more about how social media may work for you at Merced College and its new Social Media Club.

References:
– “What is Social Media?”, Daniel Nations, About.com Web Trends, http://webtrends.about.com/od/web20/a/social-media.htm
– “What is ‘social media?'”, Joseph Thornley, ProPR, http://propr.ca/2008/what-is-social-media/

The views and opinions expressed here are not those of Merced College

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