The conglomerate of user driven applications and their output that give us tools to accomplish almost anything online, sometimes even offline. This is what Social Media means to me. But your own experiences will tell you something that may be slightly different for you.
One thing that we must agree on is that Social Media is a revolutionary concept in the realm of communication. Never before has the CEO of a company had the opportunity to ask his customers for direct feedback, virtually in their living room, or in their car, or at their cubicle at work, anywhere really. Now, and for the past few years, this is possible and has been possible. This is what Social Media is about.
Is there a definition for the term? Can it be explained to anybody, regardless of their knowledge about the internet? In simple terms? I don't know how you can explain it and quantify it in a useful way. It is such an evolving concept that maybe defining it isn't the best way to understand it.
I won't try to define Social Media, but I'll give some thoughts out for you to read. I understand Social Media to be all the applications (websites primarily) where the main reason for the application, or community to exist is the resources provided by its members which in turn form the community. I know! What a vicious cycle.
Compare Social Media to the established way of communicating online; Company XYZ puts out a website with dozens of webpages that output information in an authorative fashion. Usually Company XYZ will not bother to listen to their website visitors, and to further hurt their case they'll seldom go out of their way to reach customers in their own established communities (e.g. Facebook, Orkut, Twitter, Blogs & Bloggers).
Tip of advice, Social Media should be a top priority for your marketing strategy. The earlier you establish it the more value and rapport you will have with the very same community that you're trying to reach out for.
That is is for my views and thoughts on the matter, but more important than my own opinion on this is that you understand the value of Social Media. Whether you are a business owner, a manager for Company XYZ, or a blogger, you can't afford not to implement a Social Media strategy. I've found a number of resources that should help when trying to understand Social Media. Please share any resources you have in the comments. Thank you.
Social Media in Plain English, by Common Craft. Short video that uses Ice Cream as an analogy for Social Media. Surprisingly informative and fresh. about 250K views when I found this.
Social media is online content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. Social media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content; it supports the human need for social interaction with technology, transforming broadcast media monologues (one to many) into social media dialogues (many to many). It supports the democratization of knowledge and information, transforming people from content consumers into content producers. Social media has become extremely popular because it allows people to connect in the online world to form relationships for personal, political and business use. Businesses also refer to social media as user-generated content (UGC) or consumer-generated media (CGM).
An excellent article by Mark 'Rizzin' Hopkins over at Mashable. Just What is Social Media, Exactly?
Barack Obama on Social Media Makes some great points on how a community helps establish organizational infrstructure to support politics. Easily translatable to a business perspective.
Social Media Revolution
This video could go viral soon. Its impressive, and pretty amazing to see some of the stuff that is presented in it. Social Media isn't a fad, it's a fundamental shift in the way we communicate. More info at Socialnomics.net
Web 2.0 Expo, Gary Vaynerchuck from Wine Library
Talk about high energy and passion!