Defining social media – the wrong term?


Something occurred to me yesterday after writing about why you should be using social media.

The phrase ‘social media’ is a redundant term. We should really be referring to the ‘social web.’

Most of us think of ‘social media’ as a thing. Something for marketers to learn maybe. Something to add to our ‘marketing mix.’ A collective term to describe a number of websites.

But social media is not media at all in the traditional or marketing sense.

It’s an online behaviour.

Because the internet has changed so much in the last few years, the way we use it has also changed. What we publish to the internet is no longer a one-way street.

What social media really is is a more open method of communication across the internet.

Social media is commenting on a blog post or news item on your local news website, sharing photos with your friends and family on Flickr, connecting with folks on Facebook, sharing video on YouTube, microblogging on Twitter. The list goes on and on and on.

It’s a way of behaving on the internet that’s active not passive.

Social media is anything on the internet that involves two way (or many way) communication.

If you really want to ‘get into social media’ you need to change the way you interact on the web.

Don’t just be a consumer of information. Be a creator. Be a commentator. Be a sharer. That’s what social media is really about.