The Future As Seen By Me In 2010

Well looky here, things one has scanned in eh. (ignore the photo, that's some guy that made some accounting software, not sure what became of him ;) MIKE RIVERSDALE is fuming. The expensive headphones he bought in Sydney three weeks ago have just died. His first reaction is not to randomly spill expletives into his coffee, but to use his iPhone to vent his frustration to his Twitter con- tacts, under the moniker Miramar Mike. "I will also put, 'What should I do?' It's a conversation. I'm reaching out to the people following me." The council predicts hand-held digital devices such as smartphones will rule the world in 2040. They already rule the life of Mr Riversdale, whose company WaveAdept helps businesses adapt - their computing sys- tems to allow staff to work from anywhere - and with anyone. In order of fre- equency, he uses his iPhone to tweet (1136 followers; 8363 tweets since joining), e-mail, make phone calls and use online services, such as checki

"Social Media" - Why Have That Phrase?

So, we all know what "social media" is eh - you know, when you see headlines such as, "Putting social media training on your Christmas list", "Former Facebook exec: Social media is ripping apart society", "Argentina criticised for banning NGOs from conference over social media posts", "Germany Names Chinese 'Spies' Hanging Out on Social Media" ... and the list goes on and on ... but we know what the "social media" that they refer is, don't we?

Or maybe it's when your mate say, "God, I'm so over social media!", or perhaps, "I don't get social media, why do people bother?", or even, "Hey, I posted something on social media and it's really taking off" ... again, the "social media" in those sentences is clear, we know what it refers to ... don't we?

Do you?

This is what Wikipedia: social media says:
Social media are computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks. The variety of stand-alone and built-in social media services currently available introduces challenges of definition; however, there are some common features:
And then it goes on to say some generic pithy statements about what a "social network" should be able to - not one do I disagree with,

So yeah, there is this thing, this type of computer service / program thing that could be classified with some other similar things that we call "social media". We know that, you know that, we can name some of the things eh ...

Now, before I carry on I'll let you know that I do not count messaging services / apps as "social media" - some services blur the boundaries, but the WhatsApp, the Facebook Messenger, the Viber, the Snapchat, the Hangouts/Meet/Allo/Duo (fuck me Google, so many!) ... these are messaging things and not what I would call "social media" things - go check out the generic pithy statements about what a social media thing is on Wikipedia and you'll see they don't quite fit.

Ok, so leaving aside the messaging apps, let's get into it - we all know there is a 'category', a shorthand used by us all especially the mainstream media ("MSM" if you've always wondered what that meant) uses, namely "social media".

But what does it actually cover ... go on, name them ... I suspect you've listed the following:
  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
Let's be honest, those TWO take up the vast majority of the mindshare when you use, see or hear the phrase "social media" ... a lot of the time when it's used in the news it is followed by either "... on Facebook", or, "... as seen on Twitter". So, this vast category, this whole social media industry for the majority of uses is actually just TWO companies, Facebook and Twitter.

Makes you wonder why we have to hide these two companies behind the verbal mask eh.

Ok, it's not just about Facebook and Twitter, you may have also thought of the following:
  1. LinkedIn (owned by Microsoft) 
  2. Instagram (owned by Facebook)
  3. Tumblr (opened by Yahoo!)
  4. YouTube (owned by Google)
  5. Google+ (owned by Google)
LinkedIn - definitely fits, not one that many people think of though and rarely is it what's meant by MSM when they write about "social media" and much like Instagram it is border line between this list and the first one, it's bloody popular.
Tumblr ... I dunno, more of a blogging platform, but I'll let that go.
Google+ still exists and is used a lot by photographers, but is certainly a niche social media service.

And YouTube, I s'pose it could be a social media platform ... fits the Wikipedia definition but I'm not so sure people use it as such ... but again, we'll let it stay if only to boost the numbers of social media services we're talking about. And if it is a social media thing then it should be number 2 if numbers of interactions are anything to go by.

So, that's a grand total, worldwide of SIX platforms / services / apps / computer programs that we may think of when we hear or say "social media".

"Worldwide" I said, from my English speaking point of view that's true but there's massive social networks aimed at other languages:
  1. WeChat - China, akin to WhatsApp + Facebook
  2. Weibo - China, akin to Twitter
  3. Tieba - China, akin to Reddit
  4. VKontakte (VK) - Russian-speaking
  5. Tuenti - Spain
... and many others that are "local language / region equivalents" to the English speaking version, particularly Facebook or Twitter.

And finally, when we use the epithet "social media" you could be talking about any of the following, but tbh I, you, and almost everyone else never really is:
  1. Reddit
  2. Neighbourly (owned by Fairfax NZ)
  3. Pintrest
  4. Untappd
  5. Yelp
  6. ... and MANY others
Let's take a look then, out of the actual ones people have in their (English-speaking) mind when the words "social media" appears before them it is possibly SIX sites, and most likely only actually TWO.

So why do we bother with this "social media" category - why not just say Facebook, or Twitter?
If it's to do with not wanting to name brands, much like news and TV people used to say, "On a search engine", when everyone knew they meant Google? Possibly, but in that example whilst "they" might not have said Google, we all did. But mostly we still say "social media", as in, "I am such a social media whore", when we mean, "I am such massive user of Facebook and Twitter".

Why do we persist in hiding these TWO (perhaps seven) brands behind the words "social media"?



Popular articles

The Future As Seen By Me In 2010

Knowing good info from bad - how do we?

How To Facilitate A Barcamp/Unconference

The 3 C’s – Communication, Consultation and Collaboration

21 days of Wiki adoption (Wiki Patterns)