Social Media Is Like The Matrix

There is no shortage of definitions of social media floating throughout the web.  Here are just a few…

Wikipedia defines social media as:

Social media are primarily Internet-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings. The term most often refers to activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and “building” of shared meaning among communities, as people share their stories and experiences.

Duct Tape Marketing defines social media as:

Social media is the use of technology combined with social interaction to create or co-create value.

Brian Solis defines social media as:

Social Media is, at its most basic sense, a shift in how people discover, read, and share news and information and content. It’s a fusion of sociology and technology, tranforming monologue (one to many) into dialog (many to many.)

Mark Dykeman defines social media as:

Social media are the means for any person to:  publish digital creative content; provide and obtain real-time feedback via on-line discussions, commentary, and evaluations; and incorporate changes or corrections to the original content.

Tim O’Reilly defines social media as:

I define Web 2.0 as the design of systems that harness network effects to get better the more people use them, or more colloquially, as “harnessing collective intelligence.” This includes explicit network-enabled collaboration, to be sure, but it should encompass every way that people connected to a network create synergistic effects.

I could go on – there are plenty of smart people in the space defining something that is to many still a bit nebulous.  Unfortunately here is the problem with using words to describe social media…

What we see:

Image Credit:  Brian Solis

What people who don’t use social media see:

While there are plenty of working definitions for social media that make perfect sense to people using the tools, I think the matrix analogy holds true:

“Unfortunately, no one can be told what The Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.”

— Morpheus

I’d like to modify this slightly:

Unfortunately, no one can be told what social media is.  You have to use it for yourself.

Fortunately you don’t have to take the red pill, you just have to dive in.  Soon enough, you’ll see the matrix (social media) clearly and the open world of possibility for your business, your art, and your ideas.

Your thoughts?

Related posts from The Future Buzz

Your Marketing Is (Most Likely) Dated

A Secret Of The Social Web:  Passion

How To Choose An Online Marketing Or PR Agency

Related resources from around the web

Explaining Things Is Tough (Marketing.FM)

Further The Cause Of Social Media Via Sharing (Brodcasting Brain)

What Is Social Media (Experience Manifesto)