What is Social Media

digital mahesh - smoSocial media is a phrase that we throw around a lot these days, often to describe what we post on sites and apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and others.

But if we use the term to describe a site like Facebook, and also a site like Digg, plus a site like Wikipedia, and even a site like I Can Has Cheezburger, then it starts to get more confusing. Just what is social media anyway?

The term is used so vaguely that it can basically be used to describe almost any website on the internet today.

Or maybe not. Some people have more of a restricted view of social media, often equating it to mean the same as social networking (a.k.a. Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Other people don’t consider blogs to fall under the social media category.

Also recommended: The Top 25 Social Networking Sites People Are Using

So, What Is Social Media?

Rather than define the term using a bunch of boring jargon that would probably only complicate things further, perhaps the best way to get a clearer understanding of it is to break it down into simpler terms. To start, let’s look at each word individually.

The “social” part: refers to interacting with other people by sharing information with them and receiving information from them.

The “media” part: refers to an instrument of communication, like the internet (while TV, radio, and newspapers are examples of more traditional forms of media).

Okay, so from these two separate terms, we can pull a basic definition together:Social media are web-based communication tools that enable people to interact with each other by both sharing and consuming information.

Yes, it’s a broad definition–but keep in mind that social media is a very broad term. This is likely as specific as we can get without zeroing in too much on a more specific subcategory of social media.

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