Social 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. The term is used so vaguely that it can basically be used to describe almost any website on the internet today. Some people have more of a restricted view of social media, often equating it to mean the same as social networking (a.k.a. Other people don't consider blogs to fall under the social media category. 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).From these two separate terms, we can pull a basic definition together: Yes, it's a broad definition – but keep in mind that social media is a very broad term.
User accounts: If a site allows visitors to create their own accounts that they can log into, then that's a good sign there's going to be social interaction.You can't really share information or interact with others online without doing it through a user account.Profile pages: Since social media is all about communication, a profile page is often necessary to represent an individual.It often includes information about the individual user, like a profile photo, bio, website, feed of recent posts, recommendations, recent activity and more.
Friends, followers, groups, hashtags and so on: Individuals use their accounts to connect with other users.
They can also use them to subscribe to certain forms of information.