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Different Forms of Social Media

Naomi Sarah
Read about the different forms of social media, and how they've changed and altered our lives. With social media's strong presence today, we find ourselves more closely knit than ever before...
Technology has advanced multi fold over the past few decades, and transformed how we perceive the world's means of communication. It is a step up from the other types of media, also known as 'industrial media' or 'traditional media', like the television, documentaries, the newspaper and radio.
Social media, in other words, comprises everything that has to do with the Internet. People for many years have relied on mediums from print and electronic media, to reveal happenings on another part of the globe. Be it news, entertainment or movies - it was never really within the reach of people, on a one-on-one basis.
Now with the Internet, we surpass borders and blend in with other cultures and new worlds. We can virtually reach out to people worldwide within seconds, with web services now available on mobile phones and other web enhanced devices.
The world shrinks down when the Internet comes into play, with its different forms of social media that have influenced present generations.

Different Types of Social Media

The various forms of social media that exist today, come under a vast umbrella of different kinds of communication. This form of mass media, can be for interactive, informative, educational, or promotional.

Blogging is a very common feature of the Internet, which allows users to create their own blog domains to put up self-made information. These can range from topics related to music, private/public diary entries, recipes, religious write-ups, news, medical information, travel tips, product reviews, latest gadget updates and so on.
One doesn't need to be a professional, or require any kind of expertise, but genuine deep knowledge of what he/she is talking about. Blogs are enhanced with capabilities like video/photo uploads, widgets, podcasts, streaming live radio, advertisements on products/services and so on.
Event Updates

Websites cater specially to bands/solo performers/artists (painters)/social event planners and so on, allowing them to update their information with event dates and current happenings. It gives people an interface to buy tickets online, or travel to places to be a part of the event. It acts as an online calendar of events for those who actively browse the Internet to attend events locally/nationally/internationally.
Social Networking

Social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, give people worldwide a place to put up pictures, videos and interact with friends/family at any time and place. You can add friends, join groups, attend events, buy tickets, play games, search for old school/college friends, chat and more. Every second person owns an account, and now teens and older adults are fast catching up with this trend of keeping in touch with others online.

Websites like MSN, Yahoo, AOL, Gmail and so on, give users a chance to email one another while situated anywhere globally. It is an instant way of keeping in touch with those who are out-of-town, and can be used for one to be a part of business interactions or other communication based reasons.
It's easy to use and doesn't require in-depth knowledge on how to use it. They also come with their own messengers meant for chat sessions and webcam viewing or even web conferencing. Online chat rooms are a popular feature of social media. People can access this service through their cell phones or any other device that can avail from Internet access.
News Updates

News channels have created their very own official websites to allow those on the run, to view the latest in news and stories worldwide. Companies like CNN and BBC, not only showcase news and live footage, but provide a platform for users to give their opinions or start discussions, even forums. Articles related to science, medicine, technology and entertainment are featured as well.
Photo/Video Sharing

Users can upload photographs taken from digital cameras or cell phones, and put them up on websites to share with friends and family. Videos too can be uploaded and viewed through search engines that recognize video 'tags' and produce results based on what one has typed in. It also records how many hits a video gets, increasing your visibility and viewer ratings.
Music and Radio

Live streaming from online radios worldwide are featured on websites with hundreds of radio stations available on the web. People can listen to the latest from online music, and access genre compiled music collections along with downloads available that are either free/to be paid for. Bands and artists have their own official websites as well to promote albums, sell their merchandise and even provide concert tickets for fans.

Gamers are free to access websites that host the latest in games, along with old school video games that are now available online. Competitions are also encouraged, with downloads and information on the latest games out in the market. These virtual interfaces are teeming with games that are just as cool to play with, like that of PS3, Xbox 360 and hand-held devices.
These different types of social media, are becoming more advanced as time passes making people turn to the Internet for anything and everything. Social media also provides users to indulge in Internet shopping, allowing you to buy anything from a car to bidding for products.
There are even university faculties interacting with students for online courses, giving them a chance to receive certification from these universities from foreign countries. Often people are confused about whether or not social media can be considered a part of electronic media. We clear this doubt in the next section.

Difference Between Social Media and Print/Electronic Media

There are different types of mass media that come under what's conventional and been around for centuries, namely the radio, television, newspaper and other types of print media. Find out how these two contrast one another, while still providing what audiences need in terms of information and knowledge.
Social Media - Doesn't require one to have any professional training when providing information online like - blogs, forums, polls, video uploads, photo sharing, emailing and so on. It's based on practice and constant use.
Industrial/Traditional Media - 
This media requires one to have some knowledge/experience of the medium, with training and special skills.
Social Media - Large-scale audience and reach.
Industrial/Traditional Media - Large-scale audience and reach.

Social Media - Available to users at a reasonable rate, or even free.
Industrial/Traditional Media -  Needs to be privately / publicly owned, before production can actually take place to be available to the people.
Social Media - Information can be changed / edited / altered as and when the user wishes to.
Industrial/Traditional Media -  Once information is printed or given out, it cannot be edited or changed.
Social Media - Social media is a quick interface, which updates itself within seconds and is accessed on the same day an event takes place.
Industrial/Traditional Media - The time lapse is longer, and not as instantaneous as that of social media.
Social Media - Shelf life isn't an attribute in the case of social media, since these files are saved either on websites, or on one's personal device.
Industrial/Traditional Media -  Takes up space, and needs to be physically accessed, as opposed to being a mouse click away.
Social Media - More digitally enhanced,and constantly streaming with up-to-date feedback and footage.
Industrial/Traditional Media -  Radio and television can update news but cannot be viewed again like that of the Internet. Interaction is congested when viewers are asked to participate in discussions whereas people find it convenient to do so online instead.
These forms of social media are now becoming increasingly convenient for people to access, from the comfort of their homes. Whether it is ordering for take out, booking tickets for travel or shopping at home without having to go down to a mall - users are finding it easier to get everything they need, a mouse click away.