What is social media? Web-sites that users can easily participate in, share and create content for, including blogs, social networks, wikis, forums and virtual worlds. At this time, there are basically six kinds of social media.
Basic forms of social media Social networks sites that allow people to build personal web pages and then connect with friends to share content and communication. The biggest social networks are MySpace, Facebook and Bebo.
Blogs A blog is a website in which items are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video.
Wikis these websites allow people to add content to or edit the information on them, acting as a communal document or database. The best-known wiki is Wikipedia4, free online encyclopedia which has over 3 million English language articles.
Podcasts audio and video files that are available by subscription, through services like Apple iTunes. With podcasts you can stay current on the news, get a glimpse into someone’s life, listen to move reviews and the list goes on.
Forums areas for online discussion, often around specific topics and interests. Forums came about before the term “social media” and are a powerful and popular element of online communities.
Content communities communities which organize and share particular kinds of content. The most popular content communities tend to form around photos (Flickr), bookmarked links (del.icio.us) and videos (YouTube).
Microblogging social networking combined with bite-sized blogging, where small amounts of content (‘updates’) are distributed online and through the mobile phone network. Twitter is the clear leader in this field.
so how big a deal is social media? Very big indeed. As of 16 February 2011, there were over 156 million public blogs in existence We spend around 2.9 billion hours on YouTube in a month — over 325,000 years. There are more than 800 million active users on social network Facebook.
How social networks work Social networks on the web are like contained versions of the sprawling blog network. People joining a social network usually to create a profile and then build a network by connecting to friends and contacts in the network, or by inviting real-world contacts and friends to join the social network.
MySpace allows members to create vivid, chaotic home pages to which they can upload images, videos and music. It has built a lot of its popularity around its music services. There are said to be over three million bands and musicians registered on it, trying to attract a fan base from the 200 million registered accounts. Facebook allow anyone to develop applications and run them on Facebook - without charging them. Facebook users able to play each other at Scrabble and Chess, compare each others’ tastes and send ‘virtual gifts’, among any number of new ideas vying for attention. VKontakte is a Russian social network service popular in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. VK offers a striking similarity in design and functionality to its US rival Facebook, and as such has been described as a "Facebook clone“. Like Facebook, VK allows users to message contacts publicly or privately, create groups and events, share and tag images and video, and play browser-based games.