What exactly is social media?

The emergence and explosive growth of social media is truly mind blowing.  Interestingly enough, although most people have heard of social media, most folks aren’t really sure what all it involves or what it encompasses.  My first experience with  social media was with MySpace.  It wasn’t a full blown experience,  unlike some of my friends who seemed like they were involved 24/7.  But I embraced it enough to see how one could create and belong to various communities online.  The draw for me was that you could personalize your page to effectively build and develop an identity while connecting and growing your friend base.     Of course now as I’m writing this, MySpace is in transition.  They are about to be unloaded for about $20-$30 million by News Corp.

Now, when people hear about social media, they automatically think of Facebook and/or Twitter.   However, social media is more than that.  Way more.  LinkedIn is a great career-oriented networking tool.  Klout and Peer Index measure social influence.  Quora is a social Q & A forum that aims to be the best possible resource for a particular question.  WordPress & Tumblr continue to be popular choices among bloggers, as evidenced by the roughly 200 million blogs that are currently occupying the blogosphere.  Social bookmarking & sharing sites like AddThis are making it very easy to share content with your followers.  Google is even working with a “+1″ button you can place on your website that works similarly to Facebook’s “Like” button to make it easy to recommend content.

So if you’re overwhelmed by what social media is all about, it is completely understandable.  Just remember that there’s a lot more to come.  But this is a good thing.

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