What is Social Media?

"Since January 2012, Facebook has more than 800 million active users."

Yes I have been using Social Media before, who hasn’t? But have you ever really thought about it? And what do you do? Not everybody realizes that Social Media is a very broad concept and goes beyond your regular visit to Facebook, Twitter and the like.

There are many definitions for Social Media, Heidi Cohen mentions 30 here and you will find 50 here. The first step in looking for the Entrepreneur 3.0 would be to define for myself what I regard as Social Media. Right now I would describe it as: “Whatever platform that allows users to generate their own content”, or more abstract and simple: “Online meeting places”.

In the real world meeting places can be very different. Try to compare a restaurant with a pub or a sports canteen with the lunch room at the office. The same can be said about these places on the internet. This blog is a form of Social Media, although I would personally only qualify it as such if there would be an actual discussion. And have you thought about that forum you are active on? Just as in the real world you will behave differently on every platform that you will use.

I’ve recently posted a comment on Facebook that I would never have published anywhere else, except maybe somewhere very anonymous, though I wonder whether I should have posted it at all. The comment was spontaneous and only fit for very close friends, but I would never react in such a way while at the office or in a restaurant.

These different behaviours are something you might take into account automatically when you are using the internet for yourself (I do hope so), but it seems to be one of the main pitfalls for a Social Media strategy for businesses.

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About the Author: Youri van Dijk

Ik ben student “Entrepreneurship and SME Management” aan de Universiteit Maastricht. Tijdens het opzetten van een thee bedrijf merkte ik dat Social Media lastiger is dan het soms lijkt. Via deze blog probeer ik er met vallen en opstaan achter te komen wat wel en wat niet werkt voor de ondernemer die gebruik maakt van sociale netwerken. Daarnaast ben ik een beetje een nerd wat betreft technologie en merk ik dat het lastig is voor ondernemers om hier handig gebruik van te maken. Ik beschrijf daarom regelmatig apps of software die praktisch kunnen zijn in het dagelijkse ondernemen.

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