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This is a guide to social media sites, sometimes known as the social web or participatory media.

In the United States and Canada, social media is generally associated with Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Pinterest, and the average American participates in at least three of these. Facebook and YouTube dominate the social media landscape. More than 70% of Americans are Facebook users, and most of them visit the site at least once a day. Globally, WeChat, QQ, QZone, and Tik Tok are also significant social media platforms.

However, social media extends far beyond these popular platforms. In fact, the term is so vague that it can be used to describe a lot of sites that are not generally associated with social media.

The social media are Internet-based communication tools that allow people to interact with one another through the sending and sharing of information. Common features in social media sites are personal user accounts, profile pages, personalization, notifications, news feeds and, of course, the ability to share information, photos, video, or other media. Friends, followers, groups, and hashtags are common features of social media sites, as well as like buttons, comment sections, or review, rating, and voting systems.

Several types of sites fit into the various definitions of social media that are out there, several of which blend and blur the lines between the various types. Many people associate social media with new developments in web technology, but Internet forums have been around as long as the Internet, and discussion forums were a staple of the computer bulletin board systems that preceded public access to the web, and they include nearly every feature that is associated with social media. For the purpose of categorization, we have decided to place them on the same level as social media, however, largely because most people don't associate Internet forums with social media.

WordPress and other blogging software might be considered social media platforms, and blogs might be thought of as social media, as they include several of the features that might be expected from social media. However, blog platforms are used for nearly every kind of website imaginable now, so we have opted to place them in a parallel category, as well.

Wikipedia and other wiki-based sites might be thought of as social media, too. However, because they tend to have a central purpose other than the social aspects that do exist in these platforms, we have opted not to list them among social media.

Other types of social media include a variety of social networking sites, such as business networks, common interest networks, school-based networks, and shopping networks. Video and photo sharing networks, such as Flickr and YouTube, can certainly be considered social media, as are social bookmarking sites like Flipboard, Diigo, and Reddit.

Social gaming networks are those that allow for online gameplay and social interaction between players, and may include a variety of game genres.

Consumer review networks, such as TripAdvisor and Yelp, encourage customers to review and rate products and services at the local level. Some social shopping networks, like Etsy, allow registered members to set up store on their site, while others encourage members to make purchases together at a wholesale cost, or to offer reviews or advice to other shoppers.

A lot of people consider social media and social networking to be synonymous terms, and use them interchangeably. Although the difference is subtle, they are not exactly the same thing. Social networking is a subset of social media. Media refers to the information that is being shared, which might be a link to an article, a photograph, or a PDF document, while networking has to do with who your audience is, and the relationships between members of the network. It gets confusing because of the fact that they often overlap.

Social media also overlaps with traditional media. Radio shows may take calls from listeners, and newspapers publish letters to the editor, allow comments on news stories published in their online edition, and may even include a blog. However, in traditional media, all the power is in the hands of the media organization. Then again, both Facebook and YouTube tightly control the content they allow on their platforms, so the line between traditional and social media is thinning.

A defining point is that social media doesn't just give you the information you're looking for, but it interacts with you and often encourages you to give in return. In their purest forms, traditional media is a monologue while social media is a conversation.

Various types of social media, many of which have been discussed here, are the focus of this category.


@Social Media Search Engines

@Blogging Platforms

@Internet Forum Scripts

Social Bookmarking

Social Networking

Video & Photo Sharing Networks



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