Defining social media & web2.0

Defining Social Media & Web2.0

The diagram (click it for a readable version) above is one I put together a while ago to try and explain what I think the terms social media and web2.0 actually mean, and how the two relate to one another. They are often used interchangably, but I don’t think that it necessarily is the case that they are synonymous.

Social media for me is media made social. That might be obvious, but you have to think what you mean by media. Text is media, photos are media, video is media. Maybe a web bookmarkcan be media, and a presentation file too. How we make that media social is by making it commentable, sharable, editable, embdeddable. By allowing others to interact with the media, we have made it social.

Web2.0, for me, is the means by which we make our media social. The blog make text social, as do wikis. Flickr makes photos social, YouTube does the same for video, and so on. The infrastructure used to enable this is stuff like tagging, RSS, AJAX, mashups and widgets.

I think just about every web2.0 service can be described in this way: Google Docs is word processing and spreadsheets made social, for example. The interesting bit is when it all works well, and that’s the ovallybit in the middle of my diagram – enhanced communication and collaborative, which at its zenith becomes community.

How do you define web2.0 and social media? Does it fit in with mydiagram? Feel free to borrow it, edit it and reuse it.

3 thoughts on “Defining social media & web2.0”

  1. I like your distinction, and have used it on several occasions to explain the landscape to others. Actually, my response is worth a post of its own, so I’ll think about this one in a bit more detail and post later on it.
    Now, stop blogging and go and pack!

  2. Hi Dave – the diagram in this post seems to have disappeared… It’s a shame, because I regularly use this post (and therefore the diagram) with colleagues and students to help explain the difference between Web 2.0 and Social Media. Are you able to reinstate it?

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