Definition of Social Media

Social Media SitesI’m putting the finishing touches on a presentation I’m giving tomorrow to a group of local entrepreneurs. The subject is Blogging and Social Media in Your Business.

As I was putting it together I discovered that there still isn’t a definition of social media that really hits the mark out there yet. Robert Scoble started a big discussion about the term over a year ago. That post has over 100 comments with all kinds of opinions on the subject.

Wikipedia is often the go-to reference source online these days, and it happens to be a social media site itself. However the Wikipedia definition comes of sounding a bit lofty and I get the feeling that when the average person reads through those two sentences walks away thinking, “Great. But what does that mean?”

Most of the rest of the definitions out there seem to be by marketing types who get fixated on the various tools and technology. The best definition I found was by Isabel Walcott Hilborn. But hers is still missing a piece of the puzzle from my perspective.

Social Media Definition

Here is what I came up with.

Social Media
Communication formats publishing user generated content that allow some level of user interaction.

It is the ability for users to interact with one another over and above their ability to generate content that really makes a media form “social” in my book. And that component has so far been missing from the definitions floating around out there.

Social media seems to pretty much be confined to the internet at this point. I’m not convinced that will necessarily always be the case. It is entirely possible that some new form of technology might be created that allow social media in other realms.

What are your thoughts on social media?

Is that a workable definition or does it still need more work?

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