Social Media Primer

We hear the term "Social Media" everywhere these days. But has anyone bothered to define what this is in a simple brief that covers the present state of the social media phenomenon?

Yes and no. 

I am borrowing heavily from an e-book published iCrossing called "What is social media?" that was updated in January of 2008. It's over 35 pages long!

So here is my proposed summary.

This quote coming out of the e-book gives an excellent description of social media. 

A good way to think about social media is that all of this is actually just about being human beings. Sharing ideas, cooperating and collaborating to create art, thinking and commerce, vigorous debate and discourse, finding people who might be good friends, allies and lovers – it’s what our species has built several civilizations on. That’s why it is spreading so quickly, not because it’s great shiny, whizzy new technology, but because it lets us be ourselves – only more so.

Businesses need to engage with people at the emotional level to build loyalty and customer advocacy. That explains why marketers focus so intently on finding new ways to apply social media.

The examples of the various forms of social media listed below start the process of understanding, organizing and cataloging it.

-Social networks like MySpace, Facebook and Bebo and the business focused social network LinkedIn


-Wikis. A communal database like Wikipedia

-Podcasts. Audio and video files for promotion or for sale like iTunes


-Content communities like Flickr, YouTube,

-Microblogging like Twitter, six apart, Jaiku

Who knows what the social media landscape will look like a few years from now.

One thing is certain, social media is here to stay. And it will continue to grow as a marketing force. 

Can you suggest other definitions for social media? What do marketers tend to misunderstand when they look at considering social media as a part of their marketing initiatives? 

Posted on January 25, 2009 and filed under Online Marketing.