What is social media?

Web 2.0


When we think about social media as we have seen it in the last few years, we are looking at the Internet era of Web 2.0. McHaney, the author of free ebook Web 2.0 and Social Media for Business, states that social media is a social platform for people to connect with each other. In other words, it is to collaborate with others for the purpose of knowledge gathering. Whether it is knowledge to bring people together as a community or with the purpose of deriving knowledge assets for your business.

Using MIS, notes that Web 2 .0 is not just simply social media. It is a term used for “technologies, business models, and philosophies” that share similar characteristics. Two of these major characteristics are;

  • Software as a service
  • Value is increased through greater use

Henceforth, businesses must provide value to their customer by providing what consumers want and hopefully, in turn, they will continue use and share it with their social ‘network’ whether that is with friends, family, colleagues or other communities they belong to.

Social media and its many facets

There is a multitude of different platforms that people can use but there are three broad categories 60secondmarketer provides to help form a basis of what each platform is used for. These categories are networking, promoting and sharing. Although each of the three categories can be interconnected there are major players in the social media world that are instantly recognisable in New Zealand that are leaders in that category. Among his list of 52 top social media platforms, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Youtube and Instagram are instantly recognisable to most New Zealanders. Thus leading to my next point; looking at how businesses use Facebook and why it is one of the best if not the best social media platform.

Using Facebook: A look into New Zealand

In 2012 alone, according to the census, every four out of five homes are connected to the Internet, which is above the global standard of 70% of the developed world. Further statistics show that New Zealand users have a high Facebook use with of just under 60% in the same year as provided by Adcorp NZ. Evidence suggests that this trend will only grow.


Due to the popularity of Facebook businesses in 2015, both large and small businesses have created pages, with Facebook announcing that there are 40 million business pages on its site alone with expectations that these figures will only increase. Capturing a consumer’s interest is challenging in such a saturated ‘market’, so having a strong brand people can identify with is essential.

For Seek, as an employment website business, they have decided which fits into their ‘values’  where people can find some of their own ‘success’ through getting a job. Some people who have liked their page are ‘entertained’ by personally identifying and responding by using the new emotion feature on Facebook with over 500 responses occurring over the last two days since posting. In fact, it was SocialMedia who led me to be aware of their campaign showing how businesses can effectively use social media by using their brand, even beyond their chosen platform.


At an individual level such as Etsy creators, indie bloggers, and even as a person, personal branding through  personalities and interests can be just as important. This may involve writing, creating and sharing photos and videos in order to build a dedicated following.Some of these involve a number of different platforms to be used effectively in order to have a measure of success. With the advent of Youtube, Instagram and other online celebrities, the level of personal branding is just as relevant as an enterprise’s brand in this modern age.

Sociotechnical Theory and the Future

Facebook’s popularity as a social media platform has been explained by socio-technical theory and the evolution of Internet from not just hardware-based requirements to community-level needs. Specifically, it relates to the ideology that businesses should account for both social and technical aspects when making computer-based systems or deny its “evolution”. There are four current levels of computing technology thus far and have developed into four current stages; mechanical (hardware), informational (computer science), personal (psychology) and community (sociology). The sociotechnical theory has led to thinking that Facebook’s success is due to the fact it has succeeded with all three lower levels but it is also able to replicate a person’s physical and electronic interactions in society.

When creating innovative software, companies may look beyond Web 2.0 towards the proposed next wave called Web 3.0. which involves a more ‘intelligent’ and ‘open’ web, with the concept named by J. Markoff. Also known as Semantic Web, it will look towards making the Web will be working with Artificial Intelligence. Therefore, there is a distinct possibility that Social Media will be influenced by this advent when it occurs.




3 thoughts on “What is social media?

  1. I like how you have used the categories to represent each week of the course. I ended up doing 3 blogs for week 1 as I thought you could only discuss one topic in a blog – but I can see you can approach this differently from your blog. I like the theme you’ve chosen, but sometmes the nice swirls make reading the blog a little tricky. Could you try and have black behind the words? You blog is great.


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