Social media and social networking are big buzzwords today. In some circles, they are lauded as a magical method for taking your organization to extraordinary heights. In other circles, they are discarded as a fad or a waste of time. In actuality, they are neither of those. This primer will help you to determine the differences between social networking and social media. It will also help you to see some of the pros and cons of these technologies.
Social Web-Not Too Scary
To start, social media is different from social networking. They share some characteristics (their social nature), but their purposes and uses are different.
Social media is a method for people to upload, peruse, download, distribute, share, and enjoy multiple types of media (video, audio, favorite sites, etc.). Examples include YouTube, Flickr, and Digg.
Sounds easy enough, right? And that’s not even the part that most people are already familiar with. Those familiar names show up in social networking.
Social networking is a way for people to interact and connect with others in a virtual setting. Examples include Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Now that you have some idea of the functions of each of these portions of the social web, we can discuss the benefits and drawbacks. The benefits of these tools include communication flexibility, speed of information dispersal/retrieval, and inexpensive access. The drawbacks include low productivity among users (this is contested here), steep learning curve, and, at times, more noise than signal. If you have an opinion on the pros/cons of social media, feel free to leave a comment below!
Now that you have learned some of the basic essentials of the social web, you’re ready to dig deeper. In coming weeks, we will cover some excellent (free) tools to help you dip your toe into the world wide Web. Be sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss a single thing!