In a business context social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others act as electronic word of mouth. It has always been the case that businesses that ignore word of mouth do so at their peril. This is also true of social media.
Social media sites can be loosely grouped into three types: broadcasting, narrowcasting and filtering. There is naturally a little overlap from each to the other. This overlap is the social glue that gives social media the personal connection.
How do you know a site is a social site? If there is any kind of a member or user or some other kind of identity then the site is social.
Social Media Types Defined
Broadcasting – any site where the primary purpose is to broadcast content to the widest possible audience. Social interactions are not the primary focus. For instance the primary purpose of YouTube is to broadcast video. YouTube also has user profiles and channels where like minded users can subscribe to content they like.
Narrowcasting – any site that has in some way limited either the size of the audience or what the audience has access too. Any site that has a limited profile can be classed as narrowcasting. Social interactions are expected on these sites. Access to a member’s content is in some way limited. The primary purpose of Facebook is to provide ambient intimacy for people that know each other. Some of the content shared on Facebook becomes public but not all.
Filtering – these are sites that either group, limit, or provide some other means of filtering content. Yahoo started out as a filtering site. When launched it was a hand edited bookmark list. This was of great value. There are social sites now that allow their users to create lists and links to content they like. These lists act as filters either based on the personality of the list creator or on a specific subject that grouped together via an internal search mechanism.
Examples of Social Media Sites