“Sort of,” I tell them and then continue to illustrate with the following metaphor. If I asked you “what is construction?” you might say, “building stuff,” and you would be mostly right, however you still would need more information to understand what I mean by construction. Are you building a residential or commercial property? An apartment or a house? An office building or a school? Is it made out of wood, brick, cement, steel, glass, or pre-fab? Are you using Craftsman, Dewalt, or Stanley drills? What kind of bulldozers will be driven?
Social media is like construction. It all depends on what you are trying to build. While Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Linkedin, Four Square, Gowalla, and many others are the tools of social media, people, relationships, conversations, content, creativity, and art are the materials. The business goal, personal objective (dating anyone – that’s social media too if you can have an online interaction on the site), or just plain fun will be the end result, the house that you live or work in.
An official definition from Howard Greenstein, CEO of the Harbrook Group:
Describes the online technologies and practices that people use to share content, opinions, insights, experiences, perspectives, and media themselves.
(Social Media) Describes the online technologies and practices that people use to share content, opinions, insights, experiences, perspectives, and media themselves.
In a nutshell, social media is a general term that describes an interactive (mostly) online experience where people can share things with others who can then respond. So yeah, it’s like Facebook and stuff.