I’m not going to bore you with yet another definition of Social Media. You can find millions of different answers to this question all over the internet. For example, just try Wikipedia. And then while you’re at it, you could also find more answers at YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, Squidoo, Vimeo, Bebo, Technorati. And of course, there are many, many more out there.
So why am I bothering to address this already well worn subject? Well, because yesterday I had an epiphany. I realized that most of the definitions of Social Media that you find are really quite narrow in focus and are missing the big picture; I realized that the ‘new’ answer to the tired old question, “What is Social Media?”, is…
That’s right. That’s it. The Internet is Social Media and Social Media is The Internet! Epiphany!
Think about it. In 2008, Google announced that they had indexed more than 1 trillion unique URLs. That’s an awful lot of web pages. And certainly, that number has grown since then, right? So, what’s going on? Why do so many people, business and organizations want to have a presence on the internet? Are people creating trillions of pages of content on the internet just so it can all be ignored? Silly question, right?
I think we can all agree that the whole point of putting anything on the internet is so that other people can see it, read it, watch or hear it and then… interact with it, do something, say something, download, give, take, buy, copy, share, talk about, write about, respond to, make a phone call, take some kind of action in response to what someone has created and put there on the internet for us.
In fact, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that everyone who puts something on the internet does so because they want to get some kind of response from other people. Because if not, it’s like going to a party and passively deciding not to talk to or interact with anyone. And what’s the point of that?
People interacting with and responding to each other is social activity. Taking any type of action in response to anything found on the internet is the same thing. At the most basic level, it’s one person responding to something that another person has done. It just happens to take place on the internet. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, either. If it’s on the internet, it’s Social Media.
I hope this has given you some food for thought. If you are only just thinking about doing something on the internet, or if you have already made your mark, think about the kinds of responses that you would like from other people. Then come up with your own ways to encourage and facilitate those types of responses.
As always, please feel free to post a comment, below. Or contact us directly with any questions or for any help developing your own interactive online presence.