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Defining Social Media and Categorizing It

If you’re new to the game, in relations to the social media, have been hiding under a rock, or have just been telling yourself that social media is the work of the devil (thank you waterboy) then obviously something needs to change. Social media is a buzzword, term that has begun to see use in the wider society outside of its originally narrow technical context by nonspecialists who use the term vaguely or imprecisely, that is getting a lot of attention these days. But what is social media? The fact of the matter is, ultimately, there is no set definition for social media. Everyone has a different idea of what it is. In this post, I/we will attempt to determine a valid definition for social media, and if we can categorize it (or not).

Lets first break up social media into it’s two basic words; social and media. Social meaning seeking or enjoying the companionship of others ( Media meaning the means of communication (medium of communication) that reach or influence people widely ( From these two definitions we can conclude that social media is a medium of communication that reaches a wide array of people people who are interacting with one another. I just looked at Chris Cookley’s Blog and he basically did the same thing as me, but I feel his definition may be a little better, which I put below.

“A companionship or relation involving means of communication that reach people widely.”

Now we are getting somewhere. Let’s see if we can categorize social media (what sites/tools fall under the category of social media). I would have to categorize social media sites as sites which allow a vast number of people to interact, collaborate, and share information with a community over an internet medium (Web 2.0).

If anyone disagrees, or has anything add, please post and let me know where I can improve on my categorization.


I am a life-long learner, adventure seeker, and front-end developer for @ExactTarget