Introduction

Welcome!

Hello and welcome to my first blog post!
I have just got the hang of the concept of blogging so my posts may appear every few days as opposed to weekly. Enjoy!

What is social media?

Today will be dedicated purely to an overview of social media – what it is, its background and an insight into how it can be used.
A good place to start I believe is addressing the question: What actually is social media?
Social media is an umbrella term for our online profile activity. It refers specifically to the sites we use to communicate with others, communication perhaps being its main purpose. With its name being a key giveaway, it is a method for people to socialise through media as opposed to real life interaction. Information is its medium and the transfer of such is what makes it work.

History

To understand the concept more it is essential to first understand its history and how it came about.

A Social Media Timeline (a more detailed timeline can be found here.)

1997 – Blogging is introduced
1999 – Friends Reunited is launched
2002 – Friendster
2003 – MySpace, Podcasts, Flickr, LinkedIn
2004 – Facebook
2005 – Bebo, YouTube
2006 – Twitter
2007 – Facebook Apps

Since 1997 the launch of different social media sites has been relatively constant, however with time comes added complexity. We’ve reached a point now where there isn’t a whole lot we can’t do online, so my question is… Where will social media be in 5 years? 10 years?

Now that we understand the idea of social media we can explore it in its different forms. Social media presents itself in a number of ways, whether it be a website, an app etc. These all fit into their own categories.
We must see that different sites exist for different functions. The main segments would be:

  • To connect or communicate with others ( Facebook)
  • To share content (YouTube)
  • To represent and promote a business or organisation (LinkedIn)
  • To inform (Wikipedia)

Social Media in Business

We can see now that some of these functions could easily align with the goals of businesses, who are in fact huge users of social media.
Businesses may wish to use sites to communicate with not only customers but competitors, suppliers etc.
To promote products, services or simply to create brand awareness is another huge reason businesses are interested in social media.
Research can be introduced as yet another purpose, whether it be on trends, competitors or the habits and preferences of customers.
Marketing would have to be one of if not the main use of social media for businesses. It gives them the ability to reach customers they perhaps wouldn’t with their other marketing strategies. It is a method that successfully shortens the business customer channel.

A relevant concept here is socio-technical theory and what it tries to explain. It is a concept that was introduced in the 1950’s (read more about it’s history here.)
Like social media, its name helps in explaining its meaning. It relates to the link between social and technical aspects of an organisation. Basically it investigates how both social and technical areas can be used to enhance the overall performance of the organisation. “Socio” and “technical” can further be divided into “people” and “technology.” This division makes understanding this theory significantly easier!
It is not a focus on a specific circumstance but instead on the interaction between the two factors, and finding how this interaction can be used to maximise business output.

Thank you!

Thank you for reading, I hope you found this somewhat interesting and that you stick around for future posts.
Here I have provided links to some of my own personal forms of social media, this blog being one of them. Feel free to add me, follow me or ask me any questions regarding these, or any other content of today’s blog post for that matter.

Click here to check out my Facebook!
Click here to check out my Instagram!

Annie Moffatt

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