What is Social Media?
Social media is essentially Web 2.0 – blogs, wikis, long-tail keywords, RSS and other tools that have transformed the World Wide Web into the more interactive modern platform it is today.
Back in the day, websites were merely static pages. You put up a website which visitors can read and hope that they consume what you are offering. It was simply an online brochure.
Around 2004, Amazon started adding comments into their pages where hundreds of thousands of customers could leave their feedback. This has resulted in potential customers relying more on user comments instead of product reviews written by the manufacturer or Amazon when making purchasing decisions.
In eBay, a seller gets a rating from the buyer every time he or she sells something. Because those ratings show up in the searches, they can influence how much sales a seller will have in the future.
Web 2.0 key elements: participation
With social media, Internet users are now able to give their input and actively participate in conversations. That input is made public so that other people can access it also and maybe even share it.
Web 2.0 key elements: easy access
Social media allows you to get easy access to the Web through a webpage, plug-ins, mobile phones, and other Web 2.0 tools.
Web 2.0 key elements: customization
Web 2.0 gives you the ability to customize information to the way you want it published. Google Mapping is a great example of this where you can plot members of your community on a map and show the location of every one.
Web 2.0 key elements: conversation
Web 2.0 has transformed online communication into a two-way conversation. Skype is a Web 2.0 social media tool that enables people to have conversations in real time no matter where they are around the world.
Web 2.0 key elements: network building
Social media allows you to find old friends that you have not been in touch with, make new friends, and build a network that can be influenced by the things that you do and visa versa.
Web 2.0 key elements: sharing and openness
Post written material, videos, podcasts and other forms of content and share them with others. Social media has broken down the limitations of copyrighted content that you can now post what used to be classified documents.
Web 2.0 key elements: user generated content
Social media allows you to create content and distribute it to places where millions of people can easily and quickly access it without going through the hassle of building your own webpage and creating those other kinds of tools to put your content out.