What Does Social Media Really Mean?


Just for fun, ask a few people how they would define social media, and see how different they reply. More than likely their response will be determined by how much that individual uses social media.

“Hey Mom, I need your help. How would you define social media?”

She replied, “It’s that thing on the Internet. Where people can see what you’re doing and stalk you.”

My mother obviously has a negative idea of social media, as shown by the word “stalk,” which is usually a term found to be unwanted by most people. With that said, I bet you can guess how many Facebook friends she has…that’s right, zero.

What does social media really mean? By definition…

Social Media: forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos).

In simple terms, social media enables you to socialize through the Internet; the Internet is the “medium” through which this socializing is accomplished. Further, social media is an interactive way to communicate.

Now, the term “social networking” goes back further than you might think. The theory of social networking is dated back to the late 1800s and the ancient Greeks.

Dating back to that time period, social networks relied on word of mouth, and it wasn’t until the invention of the telephone that these social groups had more than one medium to communicate.

Without giving a whole detailed account of technology and inventions of new mediums (Internet, email, chat rooms, etc.) to connect social networks we’ll jump into the present time.

Social media is a way to communicate and network with a large audience through the means of the Internet. Some might perceive it as an opportunity to share the news with family and friends, that if not for the ability to type and click to share, would take hours or even days to pass on.

For example, “I’m engaged!” Within seconds you just let hundreds of friends know the good news. Obviously, you share the news in person or on the phone with a handful of close family and friends, but overall you saved a ton of time of informing those who might be offended if you forgot to tell them.

The same principle can be used for business. Inform your clients and consumers of new policies, products, and procedures in seconds. To advertise a “Special of the Day” required an ad in the newspaper, or on the radio and television. Businesses can save their advertising money and push specials to hundreds, thousands even millions of followers with just a click of the mouse.

Although there are those who do use social media for “stalking,” the real reason social media is available is to be used as a tool to communicate with networks, through faster and more reliable means.

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