Since inception, social media is a part of our lives. It has taken over the way in which we interact with and share our stories with the world.
What is Social Media?
From a technical and dictionary point of view, social media is a kind of technology that helps us create and share content over an internet connection through virtual spaces. These spaces could be individual or communal.
Since this is a catch-all definition of the term social media, it is important t understand the common points for them across the board. Here they are:
- These applications are based on web 2.0
- The applications and websites are driven by user-generated content which includes text posts, photographs, videos, GIFs, memes, and links to news and other media
- Every user creates an individual profile that is tailor-made for the social media platform that they are using
- These websites and applications enable people to connect with each other based on common interest.
How is it different from traditional media?
Since the word media is in the term itself, it is difficult to disconnect it with traditional media channels such as radio, television and digital news. However, social media and traditional media differ in various fundamental ways.
- Viral Fever when someone posts something on a social media page – it could be a picture, video or meme – the more it gets shared and the more people subsequently who share it is referred to as “going viral”. This means that the content is now known to everyone, in a manner of speaking. Traditional media, however, shares specific content and everyone has access to that content at a specified time. The scope of their content going viral doesn’t exist since their information is free for all (or their subscribers) anyway.
- Using The phone: Users of social media can either download 20 apps in order to get their daily dose of news, or they can download their social media app of choice and get all the updates from their favorite celebrities, their favorite news outlets as well as interest and hobby groups. This enables a fully immersive engagement with their favorite social media channels.
- Business Model: When users access social media through their mobiles phones, it gives businesses a whole new way of connecting with them. Users will either get alerts on new offers and sales, or they will (depending on how much information they have shared with the app) be used in collecting market research data.
Traditional media houses use simple ways and means to communicate with their users. Their strategies are fairly simple and the goal is to get more people interested in their content and to have a steady stream of interested readers and viewers who are constantly engaged with them. Advertising and marketing are also fairly simplistic since it is a one-point broadcast to multiple people.
That being said, social media has some major points to score over traditional media
- Connections: People ultimately crave connections with other people. And this is not possible when watching a TV channel. While video games enjoy this advantage, it is still user-to-user and with games, you really don’t know who you’re talking to except as a character in a game. With social media, you at least have the advantage of talking to someone you know.
- Common Interests: If you love embroidery, but, there’s no one in your immediate friend circle who loves embroidery like you do, chances are you can find a hobby page on your of your social media accounts that will enable this connection. Not only that, hobby pages are a great way to update your crafting skills!
- Promotions: Social media is especially useful for entrepreneurs because it gives them an excellent channel to promote their small business and get real-time feedback on what they need to improve and what they don’t need to do.
- Real-time information: When Osama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan, it was a live tweeting storm! Everyone was talking about the events as they unfolded. Social media is also a great way to spread the word about things like blood donation, and other important causes to help rally support or to circulate information.
- Caught on camera: The selfie craze has revolutionized the way in which law enforcement operates! So many people post selfies and some of them are career criminals. There are been many instances of small-time crooks posting a selfie after committing a crime and having been caught that the credit for them getting apprehended has gone to social media, fully.