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What is Social Media?

Glint Adv - July 10, 2013 - 0 comments

Social media is a growing part of what we do at Glint Advertising. As part of our Digital Media Department, we manage social posting and advertising for several of our clients. However, if you’re not familiar with the wide world of online social networking or just are not sure of the specifics, you may need a little elaboration. The online world is constantly changing, but for now, social media can be broken into two large umbrellas: Post-Based and Conversation-Based.

Post-Based social networks can be very conversational! However, the premise of the network revolves around a post. A few post-based social networks would include platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, YouTube, and blogs. On Instagram, the user uploads a photo or short video, at which point other users can engage in conversation, debate, philosophy, and other what-have-yous. Similarly, on Youtube or Vine, a video is uploaded to the platform, and conversations occur in the comments. On Pinterest, an item from the web is “pinned,” or placed onto a digital pinboard. In a blog, the user would post their thoughts or ideas, and open them up for discussion. Not all blogs are conversation-enabled, however. If blogs are prone to receiving spam or abusive comments, the conversation element can often be disabled.

These platforms all involve a conversation occurring around a specific event that has happened because another user has uploaded something to the network. The conversations are often sparked by the post and facilitated by the uploader. These networks are very useful in generating “buzz” about something, primarily because the upload and the entire conversation can be shared in an email, a text message, to another social network, or even by word-of-mouth.

The second umbrella is Conversation-Based. A conversation-based network exists solely to have a conversation. These social outlets enable sharing of links from around the internet, photos, and videos, but the focus is on developing a relationship through conversation. Twitter is an excellent example of this. Users are able to easily engage each other without necessitating an introduction through a follow or friendship. This makes it easy for individuals to engage with other individuals or with companies and brands. Facebook and LinkedIn also facilitate conversations. The key premise of a conversation-based social network is to engage users in discussion with other users (including brands and companies).

Though each social network currently available has its own strengths, weaknesses, and focal points, they are all able to be placed into one of these wider umbrellas. By narrowing the types of networks to only two, we are able to understand how each one fits into an overall social and digital media strategy a little bit better.

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