Defining Social Media...

Many have discussed different definitions of Social Media, however, I want to shine more lite on our approaches to defining it. In my view there is no one definition that explains what Social Media is. This is because if you try and define what it is you also define what it isn't.

Seeing as Social Media is evolving, the definitions we had of it last year may not be the definitions we have of it now. This is because the new evolution brings with it new possiblities of communication.

From working the field I have observed this over time. I remember some of the earlier campaigns were like taking a shot in the dark. The question of ROI and measurable results was very hazy at that time. As things have progressed the use of Social Media has sky-rocketed. The people already on there got much better and more new people picked up the Social Media thread. There is more lite on how to measure the effectiveness of Social Media campaigns.

I also noticed something interesting over the last few years too. There has been a drop in the term 'social networking'. Twitter's VP even said recently that Twitter was not a 'social networking' site. and it was more about sharing news and information. Social Media has become the recognised term people use but I can remember a time when neither of these terms existed.

In truth as I see it, Social Media (or Social Networking) is what you make it. Everyone is an individual and uses it for different objectives. Businesses have different goals and markets in mind. Big brands will have to use Social Media differently to smaller ones. The personalisation and customisation of Social Media means people have a mind-boggling array of options to reach their targets. However, the uniting factors are sharing, engaging in conversation, collaboration and a sense of community. As you may notice these are hardly new concepts!

We must be careful in defining what Social Media is for all people at all times as we still do not totally understand the how far this definition can go. Definitions, while being convenient, can be limiting and can skew your perception to a smaller range of possibilities.