What is social media? — CarlNatale.com

What is social media?

The following text is part of the rough draft of what I said at presentation I gave on Social Media and Social Learning. My speech most likely deviated from this due to memory failings and last-minute editing.

Social media is a conversation happening online.

It allows one person to communicate with a large group of people. And any of those people can respond to that one person or the group.

Here are some examples.

Consider my story. Most of my knowledge came from an email list. One person would send an email to the group. Anyone could respond to just that person or the whole group.

That is exactly what social media is about.

Now when I say social media, many of you are probably thinking of Twitter or Facebook. Two good examples of different tools that allow you to share information.

[Compare Twitter to what’s happening in the room?]

LinkedIn is one of my favorites. Think of it as a Facebook for professionals. I use it as an address book on steroids. All of my contacts’ info is in one place.

It’s also handy for finding expertise. Using the Answers feature, I can search or ask questions about what I need to know. This also allows me to identify knowledgeable sources – aka experts. Since the answers are tied to people’s professional identities, they are on very good behavior.

Quora is a lot like LinkedIn’s Answers. It’s a forum that allows you to ask questions. Thus the answers help you learn about issues and find experts.

One caution, I find a bit more uninformed opinion and snarkiness on Quora than LinkedIn. It’s not all bad. But you get a little more noise than you want.

Those are just examples of social media tools. There are more and I will get more specific in a moment. The point is that these are tools for online conversation.

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