Sometimes it’s just difficult to get a whole idea out in 140 characters or less. Even in a whole bunch of short bursts of 140 characters or less. Today is one of those days.
@amacisaac had an interesting tweet earlier today. Her statement: FYI: Social media is not a ‘community’. It’s a technological platform.
My question: Is she right?
I think it depends on the definition of social media. To many, social media means Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Myspace and Flickr. To others, social media means word of mouth. To me, it means connecting, empowering and sharing.
If social media is Twitter and Facebook, then yes. Those are not communities. Those are technological platforms that allow communities to grow around them based on common interests.
If social media is word of mouth, then it’s people dispersing information to their community, so community is involved, but it’s not really part of the definition of social media.
If social media is connecting, empowering and sharing, then it is absolutely all about community. It’s about creating and participating in many different kinds of communities online and offline. There are communities that grow around a platform, like Twitter. Twitterati is an actual term people have identified with. Folks like @mrrocknroll have built connections with their followers on Twitter, and refer to themselves as ‘Tweeple’.
And then there’s the whole ‘social media community’. It’s all the people who have an interest in how social media is being used today and the new tools that are being developed to support it. And it’s made up of all the people, like Angela, who have an idea as to what social media means to them.
Social media, Twitter, Facebook, whatever you’re talking about… they mean different things to different people. So, just like everything else on the web, there’s no black and white here and there are no rules. It all depends. What is it to you?