What is Social Media?

Quite simply, Social Media is a way for your business to listen, attract, engage and offer value to more people in more places leading to more sales!

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For answers to this question,  I turn to Mashable.com, one of the top 10 blogs worldwide and an online guide for those looking to make sense of the online realm.   They asked readers to define and submit answers to the elusive question, What is Social Media? They received hundreds of responses.  Below are the Top 20 picks in 140 characters or less that highlight the key characteristics and embody social media:

1. Collaboration: Ask not what the Internet can do for you, but what you can do with other Internet users. – Jonny Rose

2. Network: Social media is a phenomenon which creates a personalized network for sharing digital content among all people in the cyberspace. – Rohan Aurora

3. Conversation: Tools or platforms that allow anyone/everyone to share information or engage in conversation. – Veena Mathew

4. Sharing: Social media = Sharing information through conversation. – Scot Chisholm

5. Relationships: Relationshipping on steroids. – Pat Graham-Block

6. Multi-dimensional: Social media is a multi-dimensional communication information system connecting people to people. –Peter Feuersenger

7. Inclusive: It’s a conversation in an instant with anyone, anywhere, anytime that gives control back to the individual & consumer in unpredented ways.” – Charles Ubaghs

8. Information: Information funneled to users from all angles. – Sarah Thomson

9. Community: Set of updated communication tools that allow us to build new communities at a time when our local community had almost been lost. – Jerry Daykin

10. Personalization: It is the ability to connect and see the world in your own way. The personalization of one of the greatest human achievements: communication! – Benjamin Fischbein

11. Empowering: Social media is an online renaissance empowering people with influence to facilitate conversations around shared ideas. – Mark Blackman

12. A Radical Shift in Communication: The radical shift from one-way broadcast type communications to dialog and conversation using web based tools. – Joe Buhler

13. Real-time: “Social Media is on-demand, real time interaction, that uses technology to enable genuine engagement with others around media vs simply sharing data with them.” – Corina Newby

14. People: Social Media is the instantaneous aggregation and creation of content by the people, of the people, for the people, on the social web. – Eric Pena

15. Content Distribution: Social media consists of online technologies that facilitate the creation and distribution of content. – David J. Perdue

16. Self-expression: Social Media’s my friend. I can finally broadcast my belief in God, my likes in music, my emotional state & my dinner all from my fingertips – E. A. Freire

17. Unity: The never ending drive for humans desire to unite. – Sean Farrell

18. Dynamic: Social media is dynamic user-generated content coming from the bottom up, which bypasses static media forms through adding a social layer. – Anees Younis

19. Discovery: Social media is communication, friending, family, media, learning and discovery at one click. – Glenn K. Bolton

20. Power of the Crowd: Social media is the ability to put out a message and having worldwide responses via email, text, tweet, or whatever form in a matter of seconds. – Lilian Ongelungel

With Social Media, we are creating and sharing information on a global scale…we are creating a global networked culture!

Here’s a short list of the tools that are part of the Social Media and allow you to listen, attract, engage  and offer value to friends, family, colleagues, customers, potential customers, vendors, thought leaders in your particular field or industry:

  • online forums (DigitalPoint)
  • blogs (WordPress)
  • micro-blogging(Twitter)
  • social networking sites (Facebook)
  • social bookmarking sites (Digg)
  • video sharing sites (YouTube)
  • photo sharing sites (Flickr)
  • streaming sites (Ustream)
  • user reviews (Amazon)
  • crowdsourcing (Wikipedia)
  • content aggregators (FriendFeed)

All of these platforms are just the tools, but it’s not about the technology.  Social Media requires a purpose supported by direction and action.

In order to instill and convey a purpose, we need to answer questions such as:

  • why are we engaging,
  • what value are we offering,
  • who is our audience, and
  • what are they searching for

If you’re using Social Media to:

  • take your business to the next level and stay relevant
  • or as part of your personal development
  • or to build and spread ideas and cultivate a movement

…you get it.

If you’re not using Social Media in your business, you’ll soon find yourself on a lonely highway, like hanging your shingle in the middle of the desert.

What can Social Media do you for you and your business?  Glad you asked. Click Here