I got into a fight with my friend in public the other day.
OK, not so much a fight, as a discussion. And when I say ‘in public’ I mean on my Facebook wall.
It all started when I retweeted @anarchivist (see below) and then it ended up on my Facebook page too. Anyway, the ‘discussion’ played out like this:
ME: I agree. RT @anarchivist hates the phrase “social media.” all online media is inherently social even if you dont want it to be.
Ben: to be social is to have an understanding or acknowledgment between two or more people. so then simply watching a movie on line would not be considered social but definitely media.
Wed at 2:33pm
ME: but what if you can comment and/or share that video with your friends using FB, Twitter, etc?
Wed at 2:41pm
Ben: that is social. but watching the movie and commenting on it are two separate things. right?
Wed at 2:56pm
ME: but the fact that it exists online DOES mean that. The fact that it has potential to be shared makes it social.
Wed at 3:50pm
The argument ended there. But did I win it?
Let’s take a look at what good old Wikipedia has to say:
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’s a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologues (one to many) into dialogues (many to many) and is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers.
I agree with Ben that the simple act of watching a video online is not social. But because of the way the web had evolved, now any media that exists online can be social media, whether it was intended to be used that way or not. An article, picture, or video is posted and you can share it numerous ways (email it, Facebook it, Twitter it, Digg it, etc.)
Or is my friend right? Are they two completely different things? Maybe the real question here is why are we so eager to label everything? The IMA is always on the look out for cutting edge ways to interact with with the public. Call them trends, call them buzzwords, call them The Next Big Thing… we’ve employed just about every ‘social media’ tactic that makes sense (and it’s working!) So maybe it doesn’t matter and if it works, it works.
I’m not sure why anarchivist’s statement and the resulting debate got me so riled up, but maybe the ‘anythings possible’ sentiment of ‘all online media is social media’ simply gives me the warm-fuzzies.
Please comment below and help me prove my friend wrong, er… help us sort things out so we can look each other in the eye again.