Initially the term “social media ” met with a lot of resistance. Ian Ketcheson asked When can we stop using the term social media and there have been public attempts to change it as in this post by Jeremiah Owyang “Do you Hate the term “Social Media?” (I don’t) then help come up with a better term” but it stuck.
Just like web 2.0, there quite a few perspectives on what it means. Here are a few interesting ones:
Let’s start with the “official” definition at Wikipedia
[Social media is an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words and pictures. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and "building" of shared meaning, as people share their stories, and understandings. ] Uhh…what? ………. yeah, exactly.
Robert Scoble compares it with traditional media.
[When I say “social media” or “new media” I’m talking about Internet media that has the ability to interact with it in some way. IE, not a press release like over on PR Newswire, but something like what we did over on Channel 9 where you could say “Microsoft sucks” right underneath one of my videos.]
Stowe Boyd disagrees with Robert Scoble and puts it across as
[Social Media Is Not A Broadcast Medium, Social Media Is Many-To-Many, Social Media Is Open, Social Media Is Disruptive. Aside from my diatribe about Social Media, in capitals, I also want to make a distinction with social media, in lower case. In the latter form, I am speaking of the tools that are used -- blogs, wikis, whatever -- to create Social Media]
The perspective that’s very close to what I feel social media is all about has been quite eloquently put across by Barry Hurd
[“...the real matter of what a Social Media Platform is all about is relationships. It is about human nature and the personal connections we make with information. As the Web is thrust into “2.0″ or perhaps even “2.5″, online wanderers continue to look for one thing- meaningful information.
Search engines like Yahoo and Google have been harvesting data for over a decade, thrusting our personal decisions through an automated process of A + B = C. Along the way, they have dehumanized the very essence of the information. They have disregarded the human equation.
Social Media is all about being human. It is about conversing with your neighbor, sharing ideas with a world famous author, or even sharing a joke with someone around the world. The “big boys” of the search engine world are finding themselves at the mercy of popular opinion as community sites like Myspace and YouTube encourage users to filter information in the most personal way they can.”]
If you have a different perspective on what social media is, leave a comment and let’s discuss.