Is there a difference between social media and social medium? Yes, there is. Where social media refers to a collection of networks, websites, and applications, used by people for communicating across various locations.
Social medium refers to a single application or forum used for communicating and interacting among people.
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Social medium refers to a particular website or application such as Facebook, or Instagram. Social media is a combination of these various platforms.
Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Snapchat, are all examples of social medium(s), and a combination of these platforms makes up social media.
Social media is a collective umbrella name for these various platforms. In other words, social medium is singular and social media is the plural form.
What is social media?
Social media is the collective term given to websites, forums, and applications that focus mainly on communication, content-sharing, interaction, and other social activities between people.
Facilitated by electronic interactive medium for communications between people from different locations. Social media is similar to mass media, with the major difference being social media is more technologically related than mass media.
It is also used to refer to the various means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks, and websites. These websites include Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc.
Types of social media platforms
As earlier mentioned, social media is a collective term given to websites, forums, and, applications that focus mainly on communication, content-sharing, and other forms of interaction with users. Social media in short is an electronic way of communicating with people in other locations. It is a means of meeting new individuals, learning stuff, and uploading one’s work.
There are various types of social media;
Social networking sites are mostly used for communicating with friends and family. It is the use of dedicated websites and forums to interact with other users, or friends or to even find and communicate with other users with interests similar to theirs.
These sites let you form relationships and share information with other users. Social networking sites allow users to create and share unique content, it is probably the most traditional form of social media.
Such platforms include Facebook, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, and Twitter. It also allows users to form communities and create groups with people of similar interests.
Photo sharing/based sites
Photo-sharing websites allow users to share photos across the web. These sites make use of illustrations, images, and infographics, to attract the attention of users. Social media influencers, marketers, and more use this medium to attract prospective buyers to their sites and accounts.
Platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat allow users to post images to boost their business. These platforms are not as restricting as other platforms like Twitter, platforms like Instagram emphasize and focus mainly on visuals. Platforms like, Pinterest provide an outlet for showing off visuals.
Videos can be helpful when advertising products and marketers prefer this platform to photo-sharing sites or other platforms simply because it allows for longer content. These platforms as over time gathered a lot of audiences. YouTube, Vimeo, Tik Tok are examples of this type of social media.
YouTube is one of the oldest social media engines there is and it sometimes generates as many as 1 billion views per month. Other types of social media are slowly incorporating allowing users to share and post video content on their handles.
Discussing forum/Interactive Media
Well, these forums allow users to engage in discussion activities and questions and answers sessions. These platforms provide an environment where the participant can pose issues, discuss and respond which in turn creates threads.
These platforms are mostly interactive in nature and are usually based on different life experiences, politics, and environmental changes. Anything can spark a discussion on these types of platforms.
Conversations are started based on other user experiences and curiosity. The platforms which come to mind are Quora, BuzzFeed, Tumblr, and, Reddit. These platforms are however not as common as others.
Blogs and Communities sites
Blogs are one of the ways in which businesses and marketers reach and provide credible information to their target audience/viewers. Various platforms like Tumblr and Medium allow users to create a community where people with similar interests follow them and read about what they have to say concerning certain topics.
Businesses create blogs on these platforms or on their website which provide more information about their brand. They also curate content that answers questions and allows customers to freely express their opinions which not only establishes you as an expert but also shows your brand is relatable.
Some examples of these various social medium platforms include:
Blogs: These are platforms for casual dialogue and discussions on a specific topic or opinion where people of similar interests come together to rub their minds.
Facebook: Facebook is one of the oldest social media platforms and one of the world’s largest social networks, with more than 2.85 billion monthly active users. Facebook allows users to create a personal profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including status updates, videos, etc. Most brands also create Facebook pages and which users can interact.
Twitter: Twitter is a social networking/micro-blogging platform that allows groups and individuals to stay connected through the exchange of threads. As of 2022, Twitter users could tweet videos and pictures. There is however a limit of words, which Twitter users could tweet.
YouTube: YouTube is a platform in which users could watch videos relating to certain topics and trends. Users are also able to host live YouTube videos. YouTube is the world’s leading video social medium platform, with about 2 billion active users per year.
Flickr: This image and video hosting website and online community allow users to interact and communicate with one another through the use of videos and pictures. It is quite similar to Pinterest, where users interact and make boards based on pictures they find interesting.
Instagram: The most popular photo and video-sharing network that allows users to apply digital filters, frames, and special effects to their photos and then share them on their various handles and other social networking sites.
LinkedIn: This Professional platform is a network where groups of professionals with similar areas of interest can share information participate in a conversation and post their achievements for various recruiters.
The Purpose of Social Media?
Social media has fast become one of the most/if not the widest means of communication. Almost everyone with a smartphone operates an account with one social medium or the other.
Social media in reality has been used for varying purposes. It has been used for illegal and morally wrong purposes, such as child pornography, internet-related fraud, money laundering, and so on. The same social media has also been used for legal and just reasons, such as social media marketing, communicating with loved ones, sharing files, recruiting people for jobs, etc.
However, social media has just four main purposes, SLIM is an acronym that stands for, Sharing, Learning, Interaction, and Marketing.
Social sharing (sharing on social media) is the process or acts when social media users share, post, and upload their content on various social medium or networks to specific communities, groups, or individuals. Users upload their videos, audio, and photos to gain activity, interaction, and followers and also to generate content.
Most social media users post on different social medium as a form of job, they are called social media influencers. Social media influencers are social media users who have quite a reputation for themselves and can influence other users’ decisions to buy a particular product. They get endorsement deals from sellers and post such deals on their social media accounts to generate traffic.
Social learning happens in various ways. Social media users are often known to take educational classes using various social mediums, which enhances not only a user’s mental knowledge but also helps users gain different skills. Different social tools like blogs, Google docs, Twitter hashtags, YouTube, and many more are used for educational purposes. During the lockdown period of 2019/2020, e-learning was the other of the day, and this was done through the use of various social medium and their components.
Social media interaction is a term that encompasses the daily relations between social media users. Interaction between social media users is perhaps the most important element of social media and its main purpose. If there is one thing the various social medium have in common is their ability to let users interact with one another.
From Reddit to YouTube users can make comments, chat and interact with each other. Most software applications these days whether it be a music application or game application, allow users to interact with each other. The world is slowly becoming a social network where communications and interactions are feasible on any application.
Social marketing is also a part of social interaction. An application or website where users can interact with each other it’s only normal that users use that medium to market their goods and products. Social marketing simply refers to advertising one’s goods or products on various social platforms for social users to see and interact with.