Defining the Social Media Landscape, Literally

What would any good definition be without a dictionary? Here are the “real” definitions of our social media landscape, archaic or fleeting though they may be…

Social– adj. “relating to society; organization of the way people live and work together in groups; seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; pertaining to the life, welfare, and relations of human beings in a community; relating to the public as an aggregate body; consisting in union or mutual intercourse”

Media– noun “the means of communication that reach or influence people widely; something intermediate; surrounding conditions or influences; an intervening agency or means by which something is conveyed or accomplished; channels of general communication, information, or entertainment in society, such as newspapers, radio, or television”


Social Media– According to our old friend Wikipedia, and who better? Besides, perhaps Wordia the “next-gen social dictionary”… I digress, Wiki says social media is “primarily Internet- and mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings; most often refers to activities that integrate technology, telecommunications and social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio; AKA: user-generated content (UGC).”

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Defining the Social Media Landscape: Virtual Shift to a Social Web

Image Courtesy of Geek and Poke
Image Courtesy of Geek and Poke

“You’d better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone. For the times they are a-changin’.” – Bob Dylan

Virtual shifting ahead

Are social networks (SNs) and virtual worlds (VWs) merging into one medium? – This was my original question. But when you consider the overall state of social media, it quickly becomes all but irrelevant. For one thing, the main difference between SNs and VWs is merely more than user interface (UI). Besides, I think the nomenclature all really depends on how you look at things, and in the end, the majority (if not all) VWs can be classified as either MMOG or SN (and all MMOGs are by nature VWs), which leaves little discrepancy between SNs and VWs at all. But I’ll get back to that soon enough…

Once I realized the broader potential of social media, and the enormous impact it has (and will continue to have) on our daily lives, my research turned in a new direction. Instead, what’s more important and worth asking – Where is social media headed, and is the whole Web going social? The shear wealth of information and aspects to consider on this new topic made my project, at first look, severely overwhelming. But now that I’ve digested the facts and figures, it’s really not all that complicated.

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