Friday, October 06, 2006

A bluffers guide to social media

Antony Mayfield from Spannerworks writes:

Are you clear on exactly what social media is? Social media, which includes blogs, wikis, MySpace and YouTube, is not just a new set of media outlets or channels: is it is a fundamental re-writing of the rules of how media works.

The rate of innovation and change in online media at the moment is incredible. Many people are likely to have heard stats like "one blog is created every second" and "100 million downloads are made from YouTube every day" without necessarily understanding what lies behind them, or what they mean for their brand.

If you work with a major brand, chances are that social media is already affecting your communications and even your business.

For instance: 88% of the top 100 brands have a Wikipedia entry (a community-edited encyclopaedia) in the first 20 results on Google (most people don't look further than the first twenty results); MySpace delivers more traffic to HMV.co.uk than the Microsoft search engine MSN (now rebranding as Live).

Social media is best understood as a group of new kinds of online media, which share most or all of the following characteristics:

* Participation: social media encourages contributions and feedback from everyone who is interested. It blurs the line between the concept of media and audience.

* Openness: most social media services are open to feedback and participation. They encourage voting, feedback, comments and sharing of information. There are rarely any barriers to accessing and making use of content - password protected content is frowned on.

* Conversation: whereas traditional media is about "broadcast", content transmitted or distributed to an audience, social media is better seen as conversational, two-way.

* Community: social media allows communities to form quickly and communicate effectively around common interests - be that a love of photography, a political issue or a favourite TV show.

* Connectedness: Most kinds of social media thrive on their connectedness, via links and combining different kinds of media in one place.

Antony Mayfield, head of content and social media, Spannerworks

Spannerworks has produced a fantastic book - What is Social Media? - available free to download here. NB: Creative Commons Copyright on P32

1 comment:

travel5.0 said...

interesting stuff, spannerworks. and the book is v cool.