What is Social Media?
Social media essentially is a category of online media where people are talking, participating, sharing, networking, and bookmarking online. Most social media services encourage discussion, feedback, voting, comments, and sharing of information from all interested parties.
It’s more of a two-way conversation, rather than a one-way broadcast like traditional media. Another unique aspect of social media is the idea of staying connected or linked to other sites, resources, and people.
Kinds of Social Media
Many social media sites come in the form of a blog, microblog, podcast, videocast, forum, wiki, or some kind of content community. To help you understand social media better, let’s break them down into basic forms or groups.
- Social news: Sites like Digg, Sphinn, Newsvine, and BallHype let you read about news topics and then vote and/or comment on the articles. Articles with more votes get promoted to a more prominent position.
- Social sharing: Sites like Flickr, Snapfish, YouTube, and Jumpcut let you create, upload, and share videos or photos with others.
- Social networks: Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Twitter allow you to find and link to other people. Once linked or connected, you can keep up to date with that person’s contact info, interests, posts, etc. Many people are connecting to friends with whom they had fallen out of touch.
- Social bookmarking: Sites like Delicious, Faves, StumbleUpon, BlogMarks and Diigo allow you to find and bookmark sites and information of interest. You can save your bookmarks online and access them from anywhere or share them with others.
Wikipedia has a complete list of major social media websites.