What Is Social Media?

The other day I was asked to explain social media to a friend. And I thought how am I going to describe social media in a sentence?

It’s not as easy as you think.

The first thing that springs to mind it that it’s a cyber-community where people are socialising, but not in the ‘normal’ sense of the word.

So it’s about people talking and communicating but on mass as well as one on one. In that sense it becomes a communal interaction.

Of course, whether or not people can forge ‘real’ relationships though a social network depends on your point of view. While those that use social media on a day to day basis have come to rely on it and enjoy it as a fun thing to do, others are still perplexed about what exactly being part of any social media platform could offer them? Some just don’t have any need for it. They will get their news, information and social interaction in more traditional forms with far more success and (they would deem) to a greater quality.

To some social media is possibly just a shared narcissism. Something that just kills time.

The fact remains, however, that social media has become entwined in our lives. A byproduct of a digital revolution. Ready or not it’s here and it’s not going anywhere fast.

I have to ask myself: ‘Can we really talk about the multi-faceted forms of social media in one sentence?’ ‘What is it that people are doing when they tweet, post, link, share and play?’

It strikes me that there’s a common goal everyone has in mind when they’re in the social arena. They are there because they want to reveal themselves through it. Their interests and concerns, brand identity and services are on display. As a social consumer we don’t just listen to what we’re being told, but what the message is telling us about the person or brand.

Those that do it well establish an emotional connection. Whether individual or company, they achieve a positive connection, or brand advocacy through social media that harnesses a certain authority.

When you think about it like that, it’s simple.

What is social media? Isn’t it just an attempt to tell the world about us?

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