Social media was borne out of the technical infrastructure and adaption of the new business revolution provided by Web 2.0. Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) define it as:
“Social Media is a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content”.
Pitta (2010) defines social media as:
“Social media include rating and review sites, video and content sharing sites, blogs, specialty groups, and organized social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.”
O’Reilly (2005) defines the core competencies required by companies to provide Web 2.0 applications as:
- Services, not packaged software, with cost-effective scalability
- Control over unique, hard-to-recreate data sources that get richer as more people use them
- Trusting users as co-developers
- Harnessing collective intelligence
- Leveraging the long tail through customer self-service
- Software above the level of a single device
- Lightweight user interfaces, development models, AND business models.
As previously discussed, Web 2.0 can be seen as “the web as a platform”, O’Reilly (2005), and as “the platform for the evolution of social media”, Kaplan and Haenlein (2010). By comparing O’Reilly’s (2005) core competencies of Web 2.0 applications with the definition of social media the concepts of collaboration, integration, collective intelligence and control over large amounts of ever increasing data have indeed been developed on the Web 2.0 platform and are now in everyday use by millions of users.
Figure 4 contains some key events in the development of the internet and the subsequent development and success of Web 2.0 and social media.
Social media is an ever expanding subject with many new platforms being developed and released every year. For the purpose of this document the scope described in Table 3 will be used and is based on the social media definition by Pitta (2010) and the platform definition types by Clickymedia (2011):
Table 3: Social Media Platform Types
|Social Networking||Social Networks are platforms designed for users to interact with one another and allow people to create personal profiles in which they can communicate with fellow users –most often friends, family or business associates. Social Networks allow users to chat and share content – be it through text, photo or video.||
This will include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.
|Video Sharing||Video is a content medium that can be uploaded and shared online. Users can comment on posted videos and increase viewer numbers through links, word of mouth and by uploading the video to other online portals/sites.||
|Photo sharing||Photo sharing sites are becoming increasingly popular and allow users to upload and share their photographs or images online. These photos can then be shared across the web. A good example of a photo sharing website would be Flickr||
|Blogging/Forums||Blogs and forums are usually maintained by an individual, a business or an online community. The way in which a blog differs from a standard static website is in the regular updates or entries made. These can be made up of a multitude of things be it a running commentary, event updates, latest news or rich media. Blogs are also highly interactive and most blogs allow for readers to post comments or add to an article. The main difference between Blogs and Forums is that a “blogger” typically writes about their area of expertise; whereas a forum enables peer to peer discussions.||
Eblogger and blog integrated into Google sites website.
|Social Bookmarking||Social bookmarking sites allow users to share their thoughts on content across the web. They can comment of all types of content whether it is an overall website, a blog post, a news article or even a photo or video. By publicly bookmarking this content it becomes suggested to other relevant users who in turn read and can also bookmark the item spreading it across the internet.||
|Content Aggregators||RSS solves a problem for people who regularly use the web. Enables users to retrieve the latest content from the sites they are interested in automatically. Each update is retrieved and updated via a feed such as RSS. Twitter content aggregation is also available for users timeline updates. This automation process provides added security as user details are not required and enables users to view the aggregated content either via their own website or a RSS reader application such as Google reader.||
RSS feeds for websites and blogs. Paper.li for twitter account timeline aggregation.