Social Media

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What is social media? An e-book from Spannerworks
Updated on January 22 , 2007
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Contents

Introduction.................................................................3 What is social media? ....................................................5 The new means of production and distribution ..................8 How social media works .............................................. 11 How blogs work… ....................................................... 14 How podcasts work ..................................................... 20 How social networks work ............................................ 24 How content communities work .................................... 26 How Second Life works… ............................................. 30 About Spannerworks ................................................... 32

What is Social Media? An e-book from Spannerworks www.spannerworks.com/ebooks

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‘Social Computing is not a fad. Nor is it something that will pass you or your company by. Gradually, Social Computing will impact almost every role, at every kind of company, in all parts of the world.’ Forrester Research, Social Computing - How Networks Erode Institutional Power, And What to Do About It

What is Social Media? An e-book from Spannerworks www.spannerworks.com/ebooks

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Introduction
Thanks for downloading this e-book. We’ve written this as a short, sweet summary of the phenomenon called social media. It’s an unashamedly straightforward work, intended to give you a brief overview of the story so far in social media, maybe fill in a few gaps and act as a reference guide for you. It’s intended for anyone really, but will be most useful to people working in media, marketing and communications. This is the first edition of What is social media? Things move fast in this world, so we expect this e-Book to need updating every now and again. Check www.spannerworks.com/ebooks for the latest edition.

So how big a deal is social media?
Well very big indeed, if we are just going to look at the numbers. When this eBook was last updated (January 2007) there were: More than 63 million blogs being tracked by Technorati, a specialist blog search engine. According to the same company, the number of blogs it tracks have doubled at least every six months for the past few years More than 100 million videos a day being watched on video sharing website, YouTube 107 million members of social network MySpace

What is Social Media? An e-book from Spannerworks www.spannerworks.com/ebooks

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What is social media?
OK, let’s start with a working definition and go from there. Social media is best understood as a group of new kinds of online media which share most or all of the following characteristics: Participation: social media encourages contributions and feedback from everyone who is interested. It blurs the line between the concept of media and audience. Openness: most social media services are open to feedback and participation. They encourage voting, feedback, comments and sharing of information. There are rarely any barriers to accessing and making use of content – password protected content is frowned on. Conversation: whereas traditional media is about “broadcast”, content transmitted or distributed to an audience, social media is better seen as conversational, twoway. Community: social media allows communities to form quickly and communicate effectively around common interests – be that a love of photography, a political issue or a favourite TV show. Connectedness: Most kinds of social media thrive on their connectedness, via links and combining different kinds of media in one place.

What is Social Media? An e-book from Spannerworks www.spannerworks.com/ebooks

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Basic types of social media
At this time, I think that there are basically six kinds of social media. Note though that innovation and change are rife in social media. The most common kinds of social media are blogs, social networks,...
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