What is Social Media
It's everywhere. Millions of people are participating. It's the wave of the future. But what exactly is social media?.
Social media is web based interactions and communications with user generated content. In English, that means that social media is a website where people log on and leave messages or correspond with other users. Most social media sites allow followers or friends or contacts, people who you can interact with on the social media site. It's a way for people who would not normally meet due to location, abilities, or too many degrees of separation, to meet and share information.
What Social Media Means to You
Social media is increasingly popular among all age demographics. It seems as though everyone has a Facebook page, even Grandma. And the links between people, as friends or friends of friends, seem to have diminished as more and more people join social media sites.
Like the Degrees of Separation game, social media highlights just how close we all are, regardless of location, vocation or demographic. With some sites reaching out to not just friends but friends of friends, the gap between those you know and those you don't know continually diminishes.
Popular Social Media Sites - Facebook
The most popular site, Facebook allows anyone over age 14 to join. Connect with others, known as "friends", and leave "posts" on your own page. News feed shows all of the users' friends' posts. Facebook even has a "wall" where friends can leave a specific message. Users can also send private messages to other users. Photos and videos can be posted to Facebook and shared with friends. Finally, there's a place for all those vacation photos.
Popular Social Media Sites - Twitter
Known as "tweets," Twitter allows users to leave messages of 140 characters or less. You can follow anyone's tweets, and celebrities, politicians and businesspeople use Twitter as a pseudo-direct means of communicating with the masses. Popular topics are defined by hash tags (#) in front of the search term. Twitter handles begin with @ signs, and can be anything, as long as that name is not already taken.
Popular Social Media Sites - Google
Deemed the next wave of social media, Google+ is Google's answer to Facebook. The plus sign is pronounced, and Google hopes the plus also describes its first venture into social networking. Contacts are segregated into self-made "circles", which allows users to separate work friends from family from the contact list of your kid's little league team. Hang outs allow users and whoever the user invites to "hang out" using web cams to see and talk to one another. Like Facebook, Google+ allows photo and video postings.
Popular Social Media Sites - LinkedIn
Business people need a way to communicate and network online without personal lives bleeding through. LinkedIn is like a cyber-resume, an online profile of all of your professional accomplishments. Users can establish "connections" with other users, communicate through LinkedIn and strengthen their business networks.
Like television and the Internet before it, social media is more than a fad; it's here to stay. And there are so many benefits to being part of a group, connecting with people personally and professionally, and exploring other's hobbies and interests.