Today, you can’t watch TV, listen to the radio, flip through a magazine or even surf the Web without hearing or seeing something about social media.  Companies refer you to their Twitter; businesses say to check out their Facebook Page.

But what is this “social media” phenomenon?  Facebook, Twitter – what are they to us?  Why are they such a big deal now?

Social Media really defines what the Internet has come to look like.  It ranges from a blog or a video posted on YouTube to networking communities like Facebook and LinkedIn.  Nowadays, most everyone has heard of and/or uses at least one of these kinds of Social Media.

People aren’t just “googling” information any more.  They’re turning to Social Media to find what they’re looking for since they feel more comfortable getting input from people in their personal and professional networks.  Social Media facilitates word-of-mouth in the digital world—it’s like an extension of the daily, offline conversations we’re already having with our friends, family, neighbors and coworkers.

Also, people are looking for more personalized experiences and interactions on the Web.  There’s a shift away from one-way communications.  Merely receiving information isn’t cutting it any more – people want to be involved.  They want to know their opinions count.  They want to contribute to the conversations they see happening.

Social media is especially starting to change how companies and consumers interact.  Companies are starting to use Twitter, Facebook and the like to communicate more directly with their customers.  Businesses want to break down the wall between Company and Client, in order to form more of a community between the company and its clients, as well as between customers themselves.

So, what is social media?

Social Media Is:

  • Interactive.
  • Digital.
  • Based around sharing and forming communities.

Examples of Social Media Are:

  • Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace.
  • YouTube Flickr, Vimeo.
  • Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts.

Shannon Sullivan
New Media & SEO Specialist, Copywriter