When using the term social media, the idea of Facebook or Twitter will immediately pop into many individuals’ heads. However, there are so many forms of social media that are used in the everyday lives of those who utilize the digital world.
In fact, although Facebook and Twitter are the more seemingly known social media platforms, these two forms are very different in their functions and would be categorized into two entirely different arenas.
Michael Miller’s Classification Guide
According to Michael Miller, author of the ultimate web marketing guide, the most simplistic way to categorize the various social media platforms are as follows:
- Social Networks
- Mircoblogging Services
- Social Bookmarking
- Media Sharing
- Virtual Communities
It’s really important that marketers understand what platforms fall into which category so that they can achieve proper utilization of their message and deliver it in the best way possible to reach the intended target market.
Social networks are the most common platforms when it comes to social media. This specific category classifies platforms such as Facebook and MySpace, as their main purpose is to act as a means for causally connecting an abundance of individuals. Simply put it’s a way to network with people, in a social manner.
When Facebook first launched to the public in 2005, only students were able to access the platform. Its intended purpose was then only to connect various students to others in a social manner. However, presently it is available to any individual with internet access.
Another popular social networking site is LinkedIn. However, this particular platform is used in a more professional mode, with its intent to act as a compilation or database for professional people of professional people.
I’m sure anyone reading this post is pretty familiar with what a blog is…. As you are reading one right now!
Blogs can be created by an individual, regarding any topic. In doing so, bloggers are able to present and share information to the online community, creating connections and spreading knowledge. For example, I created this blog as a means to share my knowledge, experience, advice and other tidbits of information to other individuals that are interested in marketing. As a result, I hope that those reading my blog posts further their own interest in the field of marketing; whilst using the information I post as inspiration in their own lives.
Mircoblogging is just as it sounds—a blog but in a smaller (microscopic) form. Twitter is considered a platform for mircoblogging, as it allows for individuals to post on any topic as long as it fits within a limited amount of characters. Currently, Twitter allows for users to “tweet” up to 140 characters in one post. It’s a way to convey your message in a short and sweet manner.
I’m a fan of social bookmarking. Most are free and available to the public; but require you to take a few minutes to create an account. Social bookmarking sites are somewhat like search engines, with the added function of being able to like, save and share the information.
I’m sure everyone has experienced being so very bored whilst surfing the web that with the large amount of data and entertainment available, it becomes hard to pinpoint what will entertain you in the given instance. That’s where one of my favourite social bookmarking sites come in to play; StumbleUpon. I love this site as it provides viewers the a large array of content that is customized to their individual tastes—Are you in the mood to browse something artistic, entertaining, educational or just plain weird? Take a few minutes to sign up for a free account, and get browsing some pretty neat material.
Media sharing platforms refer to sites such as YouTube, and Flickr. These sites allow users to upload media content, such as videos or images. The site then hosts the uploaded content so that it can be publically viewed (and shared) with the rest of the world.
Virtual communities are a form of social networking with the added concept of an animated avatar. Some people use virtual community platforms for genuine social interaction, while others use it as a means for online role playing. Essentially, it is like a combination of Facebook concept with the realistic visual component of a video game. An example of such a platform would be Second Life.
It really is amazing to think of how far our society has come, and how lucky we are as individuals to have such a free and broad ability to connect and share with others in other counties and continents. Do yourself a favour and utilize these social platforms because they are the amazing technological advancements of our generation.
…Now you’re an expert (or at least better informed) about the classifications of social media platforms.
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Yahoo Inc. (2012). Retrieved 2012, from Flickr: www.flickr.com
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