(This is for beginners.)
So you want to know what is social media?
Social media is a not so new form of media that enables social interaction amongst a group of people, mostly over the web and increasingly over digital apps.
On social media, users (human beings) create and post content and participate by commenting, and sharing feedback on the content created by others.
Most major social platforms – like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn allow one-one to conversation between two users – in addition to offering other functionalities.
Social Media in Real Life
You consume or contribute to social media when you post a Facebook status update, tweet something, comment on existing content or send a message on Whatsapp.
Old forms of media – like newspapers – did not allow user interaction. They was no way for readers to voice their opinions expect picking a pen and paper and writing a letter to the editor. With emails – this communication converted into digital form. Still there was no sense of social interaction.
Bulletin board systems and later forums changed this a bit. Forums allowed interaction among a group of people. Friendster, one of the early social networks – took this forward – by creating a modern day social network by adding a social layer to the communication. Friendster users could see who the friends of the friends were and what they were up to. Next up was Myspace which was the biggest social network before Facebook started. Now Facebook is one of the biggest social network, followed closely by messaging app Whatsapp (now owned by Facebook) and other similar messaging apps.
Social media started as means for easy conversation and sharing thoughts and whereabouts but later evolved as a medium for brand promotion. This happened because brands need to go where there customers were and their customers were on social media.
Images also are a big driver of social media. Facebook is one of the largest collections of photos in the world. Instagram also started as a photo only social network.
Social media is here is stay. May be not in the form we see it now. But there seems to be no way that we can let go for the comfort that comes from checking out a friend’s facebook feed, mid-night conversation with special ones over Whatsapp and watching short funny videos on our favorite YouTube channel.