Social Media Policy – Part 2 – Defining “Social Media”

Defining what “social media” means is another factor cited as important to a social media policy.  This definition provides a framework for understanding what the organization is discussing. For instance, Facebook is commonly known to be a social networking platform.  Twitter is often called a micro-blogging platform, but some believe it to be a social networking platform as well.  Both Twitter and Facebook can be categorized as social media tools.  However, many traditional media websites are adopting social networking or social media aspects to their websites. For instance, the New York Times recently released a social media application, called TimesPeople, on the NYTimes.com website that allows users to create profiles and share New York Times materials with other users.  Additionally, the social media landscape changes rapidly and, as such, future popular services are either just beginning to develop or have yet to be invented.  Therefore, consideration should be given to what types of tools are to be included rather than focusing on specific tools when developing a definition for social media.  Broadly speaking, social media tools encompass any website that allows a user to post information that others can view or otherwise to interact with other users.

So how would you define social media?  Is a definition important?

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