This question is a question that people have asked me a few times, and each time, I see it as a trick question.
So, in this article, I will answer this question and other similar questions I’ve received.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, X (Twitter), Instagram, Snapchat, etc., are often confused with social mediums. What exactly is the difference between them?
Social media platforms allow users to create profiles to share information, photos, videos, and other types of content. These social media networks enable users to interact through comments, likes, shares, and other activities.
A social medium is a way to connect with people. For example, LinkedIn allows its members to create a social media account, share social media posts, build professional networks, and communicate with colleagues, individual users, and potential customers.
Table of Contents
What is Social Media?
Social media is a way for individuals to connect through the internet. The term “social” refers to the ability to share information about yourself and others.
Social media websites allow users to create profiles, post messages and interact with other online community members and virtual worlds. Facebook, X (Twitter), LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Snapchat are popular social media platforms.
What Is Social Medium?
As far as I’m aware, there is no word like “social medium”. Instead, social media refers to Web 2.0 internet-based interactive applications that provide social interaction for the social media user. These include user-generated content such as videos, comments, images, blogs, tagging, podcasts, microblogs and other digital data.
It also describes a website or service where people connect and communicate, e.g., Facebook, X (Twitter), LinkedIn, etc. We have also known these websites or services as social media platforms and are available on desktop and mobile devices. People use these social media platforms to get to know each other, create friends and business connections/groups and share things among themselves.
By 2025, Statista predicts that 4.41 billion people will be on social media, up from 3.78 billion in 2021. While ubiquitous in America and Europe, Asian countries like Indonesia use social media.
Is Social Media a Media or Medium?
A powerful form of communication, social media has a worldwide reach. However, it is only part of the global digital revolution we are experiencing. Social medium refers to a particular website or application, such as Facebook, Instagram, etc.
Each of these platforms provides a social medium for social media. However, social media is an umbrella term that describes any website, service, or tool.Is social media a media or medium? A powerful form of communication, social media has a worldwide reach. Click To Tweet
But social media usage is not just for people. Organisations have also tapped into it to use it to promote their causes. Therefore, we now have social media marketing. Social media marketing involves having a social media strategy focused on connecting with your target audience through social media platforms. An active social media presence is increasingly vital for businesses, so they now use social media apps to build their brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic.
What is the Difference Between Social Media and Social Medium?
- Social media is an online platform that allows users to share information with others through text, images, videos, etc.
- Social mediums are websites that allow users to post content on their websites.
What Is the Difference Between Social Media and Media?
When we talk of media, what readily comes to mind is newspapers, television and radio. These are ubiquitous, so we often refer to them as old/traditional media. Traditional media is physical and capital-intensive. The high cost of production and distribution characterises it.
So now that we know what traditional media is, what about new media? This article characterises new media by its digital-first nature and low physical production and distribution costs. New media formats include:
- Mobile apps
- Smart device apps
- Video games
- Interactive content
The abovementioned article notes an exciting distinction between new media and social media. Social media relies on one fundamental principle that new media doesn’t rely on: the network effect.
A new media property like a blog has inherent value, whether that blog has one reader or a million readers. A social network like X (Twitter) would be valueless with one user. Social networks become more valuable only as the number of users–and contributors–rises.Each of these platforms provides a social medium for social media. Click To Tweet
The key difference between new media and social media: social media requires the network effect, while new media does not.
The fundamental difference between social media and media is that media is physical rather than digital. We characterised social media by its digital-first nature and low production and distribution costs.
Thus, social media is far more accessible for the average individual or small organisation to produce, which we can see by many active users on various social media sites.
Difference Between Social Media and Social Networking
Social media is a communication tool used for social interaction between individuals, groups, organizations, businesses, etc. Social networking is a website that allows users to interact socially through social media profiles, messages, photos, video clips, etc.
What Are the 5 Types of Social Media?
The following are the five types of social media.
1. Social Networking Sites
Social networks are one of the most well-known types of social media. While much of the big-picture social network concept applies to all major social sites, Facebook is the most prominent example. Social networks aid you in the:
- Create buzz about your brand.
- Find new customers.
- Establish relationships with customers.
- Provide customer service and more.
Many call social networks “Relationship platforms” because they allow people to connect and build relationships. Of the various social media, networking sites such as Facebook, X (Twitter) and LinkedIn represent the bread and butter of modern marketers. Whether as friends or fans, engaged social following signals clout for marketers and brands alike.
2. Image Sharing & Messaging Sites
With image-sharing sites, Instagram is the chief attraction. The photo and video sharing site Instagram attracts over 1 billion users monthly, thus a great place to share your businesses’ photos and videos. Despite its negative reputation as a place where only selfies and celebrity gossip happen, Instagram is an effective social media tool for marketing your business. Another engaging platform to consider is Pinterest. These are the two biggest platforms that specialise in photo sharing.
3. Video Sharing Sites
Like image-based social sites, video hubs like YouTube and Vimeo attract visitors via visual content. YouTube provides another avenue for business owners and social media managers to show off their products and services to existing and potential customers. Through tutorials and unboxing, brands simultaneously teach and sell to audiences en masse via video. If you’re looking to engage people through videos, YouTube is an excellent channel for it.
Vimeo has the distinction of being the first video site to support HD video uploads. Vimeo’s content is typically elegant and eye-popping, a far cry from car vlogs and off-the-cuff videos.
Along with YouTube and Vimeo, traditional social networking platforms have aggressively embraced video marketing.The key difference between new media and social media: social media requires the network effect, while new media does not. Click To Tweet
4. Social Blogging
Despite the many social media platforms, blogging still has plenty of power. As a result, social blogging sites like Medium and Tumblr have emerged to provide marketers with fresh ways to engage their audiences via written content. The benefits of such platforms for marketers include squeezing the most out of your blog content in terms of SEO performance.
Part of the beauty of the platform is that it’s open to anyone, from aspiring bloggers to industry rock stars.
While many people have a blog on their website, platforms like Medium and Tumblr might be great to use if you haven’t set this feature up – or want to see what others in your industry are blogging.
5. Social Community and Discussion Sites
These social media platforms tap into the Internet’s never-ending thirst for questions and answers. People see content threads and join them to see what people are commenting on or saying. Even if you have a lesser-known brand, you can still see what people say about different industry topics.
Many people turn to these forums for answers or to see if people have similar problems. People post about topics that vary from finance to politics to funny videos.Social networks are one of the most well-known types of social media. Click To Tweet
When people use Quora or Redditt, they ask questions that people from the virtual community can answer. Review networks allow people to find, review, and share information about brands and their products.
Yelp and Glassdoor are social review platforms where people can share their opinions and experiences with a business.
So, there you have it. I hope I’ve been able to help you understand the difference between all these terms and the social media landscape in general.
Do you need help with your social strategy, social media content, or social media campaign? Would you like to learn more about a particular social platform, social media channel, or application? Schedule a one-on-one consultation with me today if you have further questions or help grow your business using social media.
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