10 + 1 Social Media Definitions

My mom called me the other day and wanted me to give her a quick definition of social media. I told her I had to get back to her. At that point so many thoughts were racing through my head – where do I even start? Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tmblr, WordPress, Tywlah, LinkedIn, Google+… I would love to sit down and go into detail about each one with her, but that would take hours – especially to get her to fully understand each site’s purpose. So instead I went straight to Google in search of the perfect definition. Here are some of the best ones I came across…

1. WIKI: social media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue

2. Social media is a new marketing tool that allows you to get to know your customers and prospects in ways that were previously not possible. This information and knowledge must be paid for with output of respect, trustworthiness, and honesty. Social Media is not a fad, but I also think it’s just the beginning of the marketing revolution – not the end – Marjorie Clayman

3.  Social media is the future of communication, a countless array of internet based tools and platforms that increase and enhance the sharing of information – SocialMediaDefined.com

4. Social media is a type of online media that expedites conversation as opposed to traditional media, which delivers content but doesn’t allow readers/viewers/listeners to participate in the creation or development of the content – About.com

5. Social media essentially is a category of online media where people are talking, participating, sharing, networking, and bookmarking online – Ron Jones

6. There are three hallmarks of social media: Evolution, Revolution and Contribution. First, it is an evolution of how we communicate, replacing email in many cases.  It’s a revolution:  For the first time in history we have access to free, instantaneous, global communication. We’re living in an exciting time! Third, social media is distinguished by the ability of everybody to share and contribute as a publisher –  Mark W. Schaefer

7. Social media is  the act of sharing, engaging, interacting, building and growing with your customers and other stake holders in such a way that it adds value to their relationship with your brand/company and vice versa.

8. Social media is the media channel that relies on listening and conversation, as opposed to a monologue, to get your point across, make a connection and build a relationship – Rob Petersen

9. Social media is the tools, services, and communication facilitating connection between peers with common interests – Chris Garrett

10. Social media is an ever-growing and evolving collection of online tools and toys, platforms and applications that enable all of us to interact with and share information. Increasingly, it’s both the connective tissue and neural net of the Web – Ann Handley

My summarized definition of social media I ended up giving to my mom:

11. Social Media is a two way street in which communication, interaction and conversation – both positive and negative – take place between a brand and consumers, while using multiple web-based and mobile platforms.