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What Is Social Media?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 31 March 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Social media mainly consists of user-generated Internet content. Rather than waiting for the professionals to bring content to them, anyone with a computer and Internet connection now has the ability to create content themselves and share it with the world. Social media gives content creators a venue to express their ideas to anyone who will read them. Most are highly interactive, which is partly why they are appealing to many.

Some of the most well-known social media sites include MySpace™, LinkedIn®, and Facebook®. All of these allow users the ability to create a profile, put up pictures, update their current moods and feelings, and add friends. Additionally, users can choose who sees their profile, whether that be anyone on the Internet, or just friends and family. MySpace™ is typically most popular among the younger crowd, while LinkedIn® is known for being a site where many professionals have profiles related to their careers. Facebook® started out as a website that allowed only college students, but has developed into an online meeting space for people of all ages.

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Some websites do not necessarily allow in-depth profiles, but they do let users show off current thoughts and some photographs. Twitter™ is a site that allows users to post a brief biography, a few pictures, and unlimited short updates. While the updates can only be up to 140 characters, they can be anything from links and quotes to updates on the user's mood and thought-provoking questions. Twitter™ is heavily used by businesses to keep followers updated on the company, but plenty of individuals and celebrities alike also use the site.

Not all social media revolves around showing off pictures and status updates. Some websites are geared toward compiling news, commenting on it, and spreading it around the Internet. On Digg™, readers of the posted news can vote on each story, which can determine the articles that get to stay on the front page. StumbleUpon introduces users to content that they might like based on their interests, allowing them to either recommend it or move on to something else. Delicious™ allows users to add all their favorite sites as bookmarks, organize them, and then share them with other users.

These are just a few of the popular social media websites. New sites are being created often, while some that might be currently popular will eventually disappear from the public eye, or perhaps morph into something else entirely. One of the main aspects of social media networks is that they are accessible to everyone, allowing nearly anyone to become a content producer instead of just a reader. This means that social media can be described as constantly changing.

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