Overview of Social Media
Social Media in simple words nothing more than a virtual network / group of people who share information and their experiences related to a topic of similar interests. The initiator shares his views or information to which others can agree, disagree and enrich further with their own views by commenting on it. Post internet presence introduction, internet web sites emerged which were used for business as well as information sharing.
The information sharing practice further evolved in social media. In its early form it started with Blog sites and discussion forums where people would publish articles or information and invite other members to review and remarks on it. This led to a powerful idea of using it for the benefits of organisation business to get reviews on products and services of an organisation. Important is to still keep in mind that all forms of social media, first started with and used for information sharing and group discussions related to personal and social information then corporate business.
Another form of social media communication that existed in early 2000 was instant messaging using online internet service. This was used by people to communicate with their near and dear ones using online real time text messaging using computer. This further evolved to become available for group communications and full integration to have real time experience sharing online using social media internet sites.
In past one decade social media platforms became diversified and need focused. Now we can find social media sites and networks that are specific to fulfilling a specific need. Social Media sites/networks at high level can be classified as follows,
- Blog: Social Media sites of blog type are used by individuals and organisations to publish and share articles on specific interest area. These blog sites allow users to comment on articles and share their views and experiences. E.g. numerous sites on wordpress.com and googleblog.blogspot.com
- Discussion Forums: Social Media sites of Discussion Forum type are used by individual, organisations and e-governments to generate ideas and collect people views and experiences that can potentially be used to solve the problems, come up with new products and services, communicate issues and their intensity. E.g. SAP Forum, Cisco Forum, Apple Forum etc.
- Social Networking Sites: Social Media sites of Social Networking type are used by individuals for family and friends bonding plus sharing, organisations for branding, products and services launch plus reviews and e-governments for community boding and sharing. E.g. Facebook, SocialCast, LinkedIn and Plaxo.
- Micro Blog: Social Media sites of Micro Blog type are used by individuals and organisations to share short and quick updates about their activities. Micro Blogging is also used for sharing news and faster information broadcasting. E.g. Twitter.
- Media Sharing: Social Media sites of Media Sharing type are used by individuals and organisations to share various types of media files like videos and photos. E.g. YouTube.
The Social Media sites mentioned above are some high level examples of famous and highly used social media communications using internet. Important is to take note that many of these are evolving to be able to provide all in one functionality. E.g. Facebook is a social networking site but it allows people to share media and comments as part of its service. It also allows people to share their personal and professional profiles online. Another example is LinkedIn which is a social networking site meant for professional use where individuals and organisations can create their career profile page and connect with each other. The LinkedIn site also allows people to do blogging, micro blogging using twitter, media sharing and comments as part of its service.
Increasingly the Social Media and Networking communication sites are allowing tighter integration services with other types of sites. E.g. Facebook allows integration to share the Media published on You Tube. LinkedIn gives integration with twitter for micro blogging and integration with Facebook etc.
Key Features and Functionalities provided by Social Media sites can be noted as follows,
- Blogging – Publishing articles on specific topic
- Micro Blogging – Publishing short message broadcasts
- Media Sharing – Publishing videos and photos
- Discussion Forum – Initiating discussion topic and receiving comments
- Survey / Poll – Publishing short survey or poll to get people’s views and remarks
- Like / Dislike – Allowing people to like or dislike published social media contents of the publisher
- Groups / Circles – Allowing people to create groups and circles of like-minded and related people
- Advertising – Allowing organisations to publish paid advertises related to social media content
- Subscribe and Alerts – Allowing users to subscribe to a publisher to be able to receive alerts whenever the published has published something on their social media page.
Mobile Communications Explained
Mobile Communications means use of mobile devices for day to day activities and in this context means use of mobile devices for doing social media communications. The need for speed, availability and reach has made mobile devices evolution from a generic telephone to a smart phone device and now even a smart phone tablet device. The smart mobile devices of today’s era are equivalent and in some case even more powerful, fast and feature rich then personal computers (PCs) and laptops.
Mobile devices now have mobile applications that are designed specially to be used on small screen devices with equivalent features that users get on their PCs and laptops. The adoption rate of mobile devices is very high, on one end where the x and y generation are very comfortable using these devices for communications, many of the baby boomers are also picking up faster on use of these devices in their daily life. Mobile devices are used for personal as well as professional needs.
This has led to mobility solutions and organisations having the need to reach masses on their mobile device for selling their products and services. Social Media platforms are having a key role in making organization’s reach to masses easier as most of the users’ smart mobile devices use one or the other social media platform to communicate with their family and friends. Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube have very high usage and reach worldwide. This has opened vast amount of opportunity for organisations to share their innovations, products and services through these platforms as well as for receiving and improving their brand image through likes and comments from users worldwide. This became far easier with Mobile communications as users can access and participate on these virtual social networks round the clock whenever they have little free time. Additionally users having alerts feature on would receive instant alert on newly published social media contents and remarks.
With mobile broadband available on smart mobile devices with 3G and 4G networks having upload and download speeds equivalent to general office network connection, making social media content viewing and replying even more faster and easier. Mobile communication is the key for high level of success of social media platforms usage. The usage and participation of social media platforms won’t be as high without their availability and use on smart mobile devices either directly or using mobile applications. Smart Mobile Devices have opened a complete new way of reaching and communicating with individuals and organisations. The evolution of possibilities and use is still continuing and we are moving in the direction of communicating in real time 24×7 with each other.