Social media is computer-based technology that facilitates the sharing of ideas, thoughts, and information through the building of virtual networks and communities. By design, social media is internet-based and gives users quick electronic communication of content. Content includes personal information, documents, videos, and photos. Users engage with social media via computer, tablet or smartphone via web-based software or web application, often utilizing it for messaging.
Types of Social Media
There are many different types of social media, and many services could fit into multiple categories. Here are a few of the major types, along with some examples.
Social networks specialize in connecting and exchanging thoughts, ideas, and content with other users—often with users who share tastes and interests. Facebook and Twitter are examples of social networks. Though more professional than others, LinkedIn may be considered a social network, as well.
As opposed to social networks, which specialize in letting users share and exchange raw thoughts and ideas, media networks specialize in distributing content like photographs and videos. Instagram and YouTube are examples of this. A YouTube user, for example, will upload a video they’ve created, and other users can “like,” “dislike,” or comment on the video. If they enjoy the video enough, a user may choose to “subscribe” to the creator, so that new videos from that creator appear in their feed.
Discussion networks like Reddit are the ideal outlet for posts that can spark in-depth discussion among users. Users can leave detailed responses in the comment section, and other users can respond directly to those comments, allowing for conversations to grow and develop organically.