What is Social Media (ˈsōSHəl ˈmēdēə)?

SocialMediaButton“What does that even mean? No one knows what it means, but it’s provocative…”

This quote sound familiar? You probably remember the 2007 comedy movie, Blades of Glory or the lyrics from Jay-Z & Kanye West. It’s also applicable when considering the what “social media” means.

As social media continues to develop and evolve, it’s important to take a look at what social media even means and what it has transformed into today.

Many times when I tell my non-journalism friends that I’m interested in getting involved in social media, they usually respond with “Oh that Twitter thing right?” Clearly this friend isn’t on Twitter, but yes my dear, Twitter is indeed part of that.

But what does social media really mean? Well for one, take into consideration “media” is the plural version of “medium” which basically just means a channel to share ideas.

A google definition search on “social media” will lead to you to define social media as a noun: websites and applications used for social networking. Not as credible Wikipedia will tell you social media is the interaction among people in which they create, share or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks

These are reasonable definitions, but someone please put it in layman’s terms and make it simple. Twitter’s all about 140 characters: define social media short and sweet.

Michael Brito is who I consider a social media guru. I’m currently taking his social media class at San Jose State University and it’s undoubtably my favorite class during my undergraduate career. From a business standpoint, Brito says social media “is brands using social technologies to engage with customers.”

Now some people have gone as far as attempting to spearhead efforts in creating a social media pop anthem. At the Social Media Marketing conference in San Diego recently, “Let’s Get Social” debuted for the first time as a way of covering all the social media basics such as Klout scores, Facebook’s “Holy Grail” algorithm, “the Gram,” and bacon.

While the definition of “social media” continues to be discussed, one thing’s for sure: it’s the inevitable and exciting future of communication.

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