The title of this article says it all…

Firstly, I thought it would be appropriate to get a generic definition from The Oxford Dictionary. They say:

“Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.

My own definition would be:

Social media is just simply a way for people to communicate and interact online.

Interestingly, social media has been around since the dawn of the World Wide Web. Only in the last 10 years or so has it really exploded in terms of users and popularity. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are now part of our daily lives. Almost 2.5 billion people now use social media, every month. That’s over 1/3 of the world’s population!

The term ‘social media’ comes from how users engage on the different platforms. We use them in a social context: having conversations, commenting, sharing things with their friends and family etc.

What is social media?

Why has social media become so popular?

Humans are social creatures.

We crave social interaction.

The internet and all our favourite social platforms have simply allowed us to become more social. (Some would disagree – see video below) But we are now able to speak to people all over the world with the tap of a finger.

Personally, I’ve met so many people that I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to through my use of Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Linkedin is a godsend for businesses.

Whilst writing this article, I really wanted to get a deeper understanding of what people really thought about social media. I went on a mission to find out. I asked people: “What does social media mean to you?”.

Chris Marr, Content Marketing Academy, gave me his definition which is almost identical to what we wrote above.

“The principles of communication will never change. Social media is simply an evolved method of communication and the way in which we use the Internet to have conversations.”

Caroline Mckenna, Charity Peeks, said:

Building relationships, making connections and being social!

Claire Brotherton, A Bright Clear Web:

Share, collaborate, inform, advise, connect, befriend.

These responses just go to show why social media has become so popular! As human beings, we love meeting people, being social and sharing things. Social media has simply just given us an easy way to do this.

Thanks to those who responded.

Most popular platforms

What is social media - FacebookWhat is social media - YoutubeWhat is social media - Google+What is social media - TwitterWhat is social media - InstagramWhat is social media - Linkedin

Is Social Media a fad?

No, it’s not.

Social media has created a shift in the way we communicate.  Because of social media networks, we are now able to interact with thousands of people all over the world. Without social media, that would be impossible. The technology isn’t going to go backwards.

Social media is here to stay.

And this means businesses have to get involved as well.

If your business isn’t on social media, you’re missing a trick. If you’re not online, you’re effectively invisible.

Start creating content and show the world your business from a personable, social point of view.

“But isn’t Facebook dying?”

Facebook will be around for many years to come. But even if the platforms like Facebook die, they’ll be replaced by something else. We’ve already seen the death of huge social platforms like Bebo. (RIP – Never forgotten)

I’m going to leave you with this video. It’s a few years old but it’s still powerful:

I hope this article has given you an understanding into what social media if you didn’t already know. Also, I hope it’s allowed you to see that social media isn’t a fad. It’s here to stay and so you need to adapt.

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