Leg 4. From Melbourne to Hong Kong (VI). Social Media, who do you think you are?…
Bonjour a Tous!.
The Volvo Ocean Race Teams are now leaving the torturous Doldrums, and they are expecting to arrive at Hong Kong in 6 or 7 days. And we have to continue our sailing route with them. Let me write a phrase for you, and I would like to see your reaction: “Is it possible to continue in life without considering social media?”. What do you think? That is my first thought for us today, OK! Now, let´s start with what is going on with the big picture of Social Media. Remember, always we have to start with some kind of context.
What is social media?
When we read our human history, we can see that we have a beautiful capacity which is unique to us: the capacity to innovate, to create ideas, to change and to evolve. And with each invention, we have had to create new words or vocabulary to name them. It is interesting how different terms have been conceived and coined by new inventions, words that then turn out to be so normal. Human Nature tries to advance all the time. And what was new yesterday, is normal today, and tomorrow will become obsolete. Let´s land to the Media Industry where “social media belongs”… , or do we think social media belongs to the “telecommunications industry”… or is social media a component of the “digital technologies industry” or is it part of the “internet industry”?… What do you think?
The term “Media” was defined almost a century ago (the 1920s). Media was established then, with our mindset of that time. Media was coined as “the set of communication tools used to store and deliver information or data”. If we look for the “Media” dictionary meaning, each of them directs you to Television, Radio, and Newspapers. That is how a Media Industry was defined too. Anyone knows that the word Media has been used traditionally when we wish to speak about communication media, or mass media such as print media (newspapers, magazines), photography, advertising, cinema, broadcasting (radio and TV) publishing, etc. With the appearance of the Internet, then the term “Media” was abruptly challenged.
According to Vault.com, The term Social Media refers to “user-created content (audio, text, and video, multimedia) that is published and shared online”. In addition, the interface Web 2.0 allowed users to share content and communicate with one another. If we analyze this definition, Social Media only exists because:
- The Internet exists. Without “internet” there is no possibility for social media. All Social Media services are Internet-Based Applications.
- The lifeblood of the social media platform is the “user-generated content (UGC)”
- Each social media user has control over his own content. His/her “personal profile” or company “product & service-specific profile”. We share our content using a website platform, the “Social media Site structure” which is designed and updated by the social media company.
- Social media has different levels of communication, indeed different levels of interaction; and different purposes or usages. For each of those levels, there are plenty of Internet-based software and interfaces that allow individuals to interact with one another.
- In order to become a social media user, we need a technological device (computers, tablets, work-stations or mobiles).
What started initially as a personal interaction tool, for exchanging details about individual lives such as biographical data, professional information, personal photos and up-to-the-minute thoughts has evolved into a massive “social media industry”. Some define “Social Media as the collective of online communications channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content-sharing, and collaboration”. Even for the most recognized representatives of Social Media, expert bloggers in the field, technological specialists from Silicon Valley and tech venture capitalists, the term “social media”, is a bit blurry. Definitions for social media vary widely across companies, industries, regulatory agencies that oversee social media activities and even social networks themselves.
Initially, a platform called “Six Degree” was launched in 1997 and was the first modern social network. It allowed users to create a profile and to become friends with other users. The early 2000s brought some huge developments in social networking and social media. Platforms such as Hi5, MySpace, Friendster, and others were the precursors to Linkedin and Facebook (2007). Nowadays, if you ask anyone on the planet what is social media, they will reply: “Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin”… but those platforms are “some” of the social media players. Even in the business sector, social media has different definitions. Some companies think that Social Media is just another tool to reach out to customers quicker than traditional mass media. But some business early adopters of social media are using these platforms to sell their products and services. For the latter companies, Social Media has evolved to become a Distribution Channel?. Do we still think is only that?
Now let´s go to my industry, the consulting industry. Some of my peers still think that Social Media is not media in the traditional sense, but platforms for interaction and networking. “Not content and ads.“
Meanwhile, other consultants are helping their clients in how to sell products and services directly using social media tools since more than 5 years ago. The big consulting firms such as BCG, Bain, Deloitte, PWC, and McKinsey have different approaches to “social media”. Some of the big consulting firms have been very cautious about the “social media” impact too. Each company has defined “social media” according to its convenience or its degree of fear. Even Facebook defines itself as a “social utility” and not as a social media network where everyone positions it. There are some companies which have created a social media industry index too!
Marketing professors Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein identified six different types of social media, and I have added some categories more.
- Collaborative projects (e.g., Wikipedia)
- Blogs (e.g., WordPress)
- Microblogs (e.g., Twitter)
- Video Sharing and Content Communities (e.g., YouTube, Flickr)
- Photo Sharing (e.g., Pinterest and Flickr)
- Social-networking sites (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram)
- Virtual game worlds (e.g., World of Warcraft)
- Virtual social worlds (e.g., Second Life)
- Business networks
- Enterprise Social Networks
- Social book markings, and many more.
“Several types of companies create and/or utilize social media. Some companies, such as Google offer both social networking products (Google+), other types of software (such as the search engine Chrome), and hardware (Pixel, Chromecast, etc.). Others, such as Pinterest, specialize in particular aspects of social media. There are also thousands of start-ups still seeking to capture the public’s interest or find venture capital funding to build their brands. Companies are located throughout all the world but often are headquartered in California, the Pacific Northwest, and New York City”.
If you wish to download the last set of slides in PDF Format, click here: Eliescalante Leg 4 Social Media Segmentation First Topic 13jan2018.
Let me ask you, after reading all the above information, what do you think is social media? For me, the majority of definitions of social media are limited or do not visualize the term in its whole splendor. And I will define the term “social media” just after we finish with the theme 2 Social Media Segmentation. We will see why.
The Social Media Industry
If we don´t have a clear definition of the term Social Media, it is difficult to classify or set up boundaries for the Social Media Industry, but let´s see “prudentially” several Social Media Maps coming from social media companies and expert bloggers which have tried to produce them.
Social Media Maps. During my research for today´s post, I found at least 5 interesting classifications of Social Media:
- Social Media Landscape by Fred Cavazza.
- The Conversation Prism Map by Brian Solis and JESS3
- The World Map of Social Networks (by geographic regions) by Vincenzo Cosenza
- 100 Websites that Rule the Internet by Vodien
- Social Media Map by Overdrive.
The purpose to share with you these 5 social media mapping efforts, is to put you closer to understand the scope of what is the “social media industry”, with the hope of comprehending what is “social media”. I have not confirmed the data from these 5 sources, but I took the risk to share their graphs, just as an invitation for you to see what are we talking about.
One thing is certain about the social media industry: the field is growing, in users and in popularity. In recent years, it has started to be lucrative. “Revenue in the social media industry is increasing rapidly. In 2017, worldwide social networking advertising revenue reached US$41 billion”, according to eMarketer. Moreover, without WordPress, I wouldn´t be here writing this blog especially made for you. And without Facebook, I wouldn´t be able to share my love quotes with Alejandro Guillermo Lozano Artolachipi, the beau of my life!!! Fantastic!
Let me finish today by sharing the following: It is true, that “Social media has changed how we live our lives and affected how nearly every industry does business. People use social media to stay informed, compare and buy products, and keep in touch with family and friends. Companies also use social media to reach customers. They have in-house social media departments or hire consulting firms to help them develop a social media strategy, market their products, and manage their profile across various types of social media. Nonprofits and government agencies use them to spread information about their programs and services”. Let me finalize with the following phrase: We are using “social media” without knowing how to define it. Interesting, Oh la la!
For my next post, we will continue to explain the “social media” services depending on usage, and we will continue with next topic: Traditional Segmentation vs. Social Media Segmentation. Thank you so much. Have a happy weekend.
Disclaimer: All the pictures or videos shown on this blog are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos posted unless otherwise stated.
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