The term social media refers to the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue. Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as "a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content (photos, videos, links, etc.)." Social media are media for social interaction, as a superset beyond social communication, but mainly still communicating just interactively using ubiquitously accessible and scalable communication techniques.
Social media can take on many different forms, including forums, social networking sites (Facebook, Google+, MySpace), location-based social networks (foursquare, Gowalla), social blogs (Tumblr, posterous), microblogging sites (Twitter), wikis (Wikipedia), podcasts, photo sharing sites (flickr), music sharing (Napster), video sites (Youtube), virtual gaming sites (World of Warcraft), virtual social worlds (Second Life), rating sites and social bookmarking. By applying a set of theories in the field of media research (social presence, media richness) and social processes (self-presentation, self-disclosure) Kaplan and Haenlein created a classification scheme for different social media types in their Business Horizons article published in 2010.
According to Kaplan and Haenlein there are six different types of social media:
- Collaborative projects (Wikipedia).
- Blogs and microblogs (Twitter).
- Content communities (Youtube).
- Social networking sites (Facebook ).
- Virtual game worlds (World of Warcraft).
- Virtual social worlds (Second Life).
Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, crowdsourcing, and voice over IP, to name a few. Many of these social media services can be integrated via social network aggregation platforms.
If you thought Facebook or MySpace started the social media crazy, think again. Social media actually began in 1970, long before many of today's social media youth were even born. Here's the History of Social media thanks to the good folks of Tenthwave.