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Social Media: What Is It and What Is In It?

“Social media is an on-going concern that impacts everybody everywhere”

Social Media is one of the most buzzed terms used in today’s dynamic and challenging environment. The term is coined few years back and has truly changed the way businesses use to work. It has changed the traditional marketing and gave novel and cost-effective methods of knowing the expectations of existing customers and reaching the new customers.

What is Social Media?

The term social media often confuses people about what exactly it means. According to Wikipedia, social media is

“Web- and mobile-based technologies which are used to turn communication into interactive dialogue among organizations, communities, and individuals. When the technologies are in place, social media is ubiquitously accessible, and enabled by scalable communication techniques”.

It is an umbrella term that encompasses wide variety of activities such as:

  • Social Networks
  • Blogs/Forums
  • Audio/Video sharing
  • Image Sharing
  • Podcasts
  • RSS Feeds
  • Social Bookmarking

Briefly speaking, any website that presents information and allows interaction among visitors comes under the category of social media.

Social Media Bridges the Gap:

Social media tends to bridge the gap between the target market and the media by encouraging user participation and feedback. It allows users to comment freely and vote for their preferred products. It provides businesses insight about what exactly their customers are looking for.

The most appealing aspect of social media is interactivity. It allows interaction among users and with businesses. With social media presence, people with common interests can form communities and promote their interests by generating and sharing valuable content.

Social Media is a great connector that links information and resources between different sites. By social bookmarking or tagging, it directs people to their required information.

Examples of Social Media Websites:

Here are some of the examples of social media websites:

  • Social Networking: Facebook, Hi5, Myspace
  • Professional Networking: Linkedin
  • Photo and Video Sharing: Flickr, Youtube
  • Content Sharing: Digg, Stumbleupon
  • News Sharing: Reddit, Twitter, Wikipedia

All these social media websites allows easy and quick information sharing (photos/videos/content) among internet users. It holds promising benefits for users as well as for businesses. It educates users about their rights.

Social Media Stats:

The buzz of social media can be well estimated by the following statistics:

  • 3 out of 4 Americans use social technologies (Forrester, The growth of social technology adoption, 2008)
  • 2/3 of the global internet population visit social networks (Neilsen, Global Faces & Networked Places, 2009)
  • The time spent at social networking sites is growing by 3x (Neilsen, Global Faces & Networked Places, 2009)
  • 13 million articles available on Wikipedia
  • 100 million videos on youtube
  • 110 million blogs
  • 123 million Facebook users
  • 3 million tweets per day on twitter

How these statistics impact businesses can be estimated by the fact that about 93% of the social media users believe that companies should have their social media presence (Cone, Business in social media study, September 2008). The important point here is 93% of the social media users do not need irrelevant social media presence, but relevant and informative content that can positively impact their lives.