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Defining New Media or Social Media Content

by Shashi Bellamkonda on August 31, 2011

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This month another exciting event for me to look forward to is the class I teach at the Georgetown University  called Understanding New Media Platforms, Applications, and Techniques. I must confess that not only teaching is fulfilling — it broadens my horizons and I learn myself with the experience the students bring to our discussions.

If people are puzzled by the terms “new media” or “social media” here is my way of defining the characteristics and answering the question “What is Social Media?”

  • Easy: The power of adoption of New Media exists because everyone could be a publisher. Many of the tools are as simple as type and publish and these include public status updates. Even multi-media like photos and videos are easy to create and publish.
  • User generated:  The content generated is not from companies that provide the platform, but by the users. Good examples of this are Twitter and Facebook.
  •  Shareable:  This content is easily shareable using buttons on the posts, or retweets on Twitter and “Like” buttons on Facebook
  • Two-way or multi-directional conversation: If the flow of the content is one way you probably will not think of it as New Media or Social Media. Most social content has a way for users to interact and add to the conversation.
  • Online or Mobile: You can access the content on any or many devices.

Jim Sterne, Web metrics guru & Author of Social Media Metrics defines Social Media as “that which allows anybody to communicate with everybody” — which I think is great. Thank you to my students for a great discussion last week.  Last word on this, it has to be human.

What do you think of these characteristics? Have others to add?

Image via Flickr (creative commons) by stevegarfield

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